On Wednesday, March 25, 2009, around 11:50 or so the Senate was discussing a proposed Amendment to HB 160, the Super Speeder bill that a few minutes later passed the Senate. This amendment would have forced the money generated to be used to fund a statewide trauma network, yet according to the State Constitution, such determinations must be made by referendum and cannot be legislated by the General Assembly. During the debate, Senator Preston Smith challenged the constitutionality of this amendment, and asked Casey Cagle as President of the Senate to make a determination.
Cagle’s response was that as Lt Governor and President of the Senate, he did not have the authority to rule on the constitutionality of a bill before the Senate, nor any proposed amendments to this bill. He noted – correctly – that these decisions are the sole responsibility of the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia.
And yet, there is a problem with this.
You see, there was another amendment to another bill on Monday, almost 48 hours to the minute prior to the Lt Gov making these remarks about not having the authority to rule on constitutional issues.
On this one, it was Steve Thompson’s Amendment 2 to HR 206. While I don’t remember the exact substance of it, and I hope Sen. Thompson may be able to provide it, it DID appear to me to be two separate questions. Per the GA Constitution, a ballot referendum must have exactly one question and one question only.
Cagle declared the amendment unconstitutional and thus out of order.
Something that he admitted not quite 48 hours later was not within his authority as Lt Governor.
And this man, who clearly doesn’t understand the powers of the office he has held for just over two years now, wants to move up to the highest elected office in this Great State?
I think he needs to more fully learn the Constitutional limits and powers of the office he already holds first.