The Senate Democratic Caucus announced its priorities and said they plan to introduce several bills next week. Among the items on its agenda:
* Legislation calling for a constitutional amendment that would dedicate a hundredth of a percent of the state budget to fund the state ethics commission, and a proposal that would make the agency independent of the General Assembly, which currently appoints commissioners;
* Legislation that would require 80 percent of fees collected for specific programs to be used for their stated purpose;
* A bill that would create a three-year moratorium on so-called “HOT lanes” not previously approved;
* Bills that would allow unregistered voters to register on Election Day and vote a provisional ballot, and allow them to register to vote online;
* A proposal calling for a constitutional amendment establishing a non-partisan, seven-member state redistricting commission; and
* Legislation that would create an independent panel to review tax exemptions to determine whether they are serving their intended purpose.
Caucus Vice Chairwoman Sen. Valencia Seay said the Democrats’ priorities arose from months of listening to their constituents.
“To get back to building communities that work, we will need to make choices and changes in both our government and our private economic practices,” Seay told reporters Tuesday. “Top of mind for most Georgians is the state of the economy, the state of Georgian families, the state of education and a desire to fix what is broken in our state government.”
Democrats are the minority party in the Legislature. When asked whether they anticipate Republican support on their legislation, caucus Chairman Sen. Doug Stoner questioned why they wouldn’t.
“The whole point is about honest and open government,” Stoner said. “It’s not a question about us being bipartisan, it’s a question about are they willing to be bipartisan on these issues.”
A request for comment from Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers or President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams was not immediately returned.