The University of Georgia’s fight song blared through the Georgia House chamber in support of the school’s football team on the first day of the legislative session Monday morning.
Lawmakers expressed their enthusiasm by wearing red and black clothing, waving red streamers and clapping in anticipation of the night’s College Football Playoff game against Alabama.
House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge, convened the half-hour session early so he could make his flight to Indianapolis for the game. He kept it short, foregoing the usual time allotted for representatives to speak, but a few managed to express their support for UGA anyway.
Over in the Senate chambers, a former UGA football player, Adam Johnson, gave the devotion, and when it came time to close out the Senate session, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan asked, “Is it not true that the Dawgs are going to win tonight?”
Ralston and other legislators had tickets for the championship game so the House and the Senate agreed to skip Tuesday’s session altogether and cancel all committee meetings until Wednesday. They did assign bills to committees and establish a schedule for the first two weeks of the 2022 session.
The 40-day annual session is the second in the two-year terms for state lawmakers. Almost all of the 56 senators and 180 representatives will be jockeying for campaign fodder, including the six senators and six representatives who have already declared their candidacy for higher offices.
The Legislature is only required to pass the state budget, but it will also consider hundreds of other bills, including proposals to create Buckhead City, adjust election laws and expand gun rights.