0402ROGERSrogersListen to complete remarks by Rep. Carl Rogers on the House floor.
0402ROGERSbalfourListen to complete remarks by Sen. Don Balfour on the Senate floor.
A dispute between a Gainesville state representative and the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee erupted onto the floor of both houses of the General Assembly Wednesday.
Rep. Carl Rogers appeared before the Senate Rules Committee to place a bill dealing with evidence in child abuse cases on Wednesday’s calendar. The committee chairman said Rogers didn’t follow the correct procedure and the bill, along with 50 others, will not be taken up by the Senate this session.
An angered Rogers went to the well of the House and launched into a verbal blast against the Senate, the committee and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a fellow Hall Countian.
"I was told by (Cagle) that they had a problem with me because of a transportation issue," Rogers told the House. "I will not be held as a hostage. I will not be a Senate whore."
House members made audible noise.
"You laugh, but I’m as serious as I can be."
Rogers went on to accuse the Senate of ignoring the plight of children.
His comments drew a strong response Wednesday evening from state Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, chairman of the Rules Committee.
"He (Rogers) can impugn my integrity all he wants, but he should not be impugning the lieutenant governor’s integrity," Balfour told the full Senate. "I believe he went way over the line by saying we killed that bill."
Balfour said that as chairman, he requires one of the 17 committee members to present a bill. He said none of the members were asked by Rogers to do so. He said Rogers’ bill was in order and was among the bills that could have been considered by the committee.
Sen. George Hooks, D-Americus, the longest serving member of the Senate, took the well to praise Balfour and Cagle for creating a more open process for legislation.
"The lieutenant governor has opened up this Senate to all members of this body and the body across the hall (the House)," Hooks said. "They’ve been given a fair shake."
Calls to Rogers seeking comment were not returned.
A spokeswoman for Cagle declined to comment on the matter.