Pastor Protection Act Returns to the House

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House Speaker David Ralston told reporters today that the Pastor Protection Act as amended by the Senate is on his desk, awaiting action by the House, which could take one of several forms. However, with the House passing campus carry and being in session until late this afternoon, nothing has been done with it so far. Said the Speaker,

I haven’t read it, and I’ll get around to reading it and talking to the people that worked it through the committee process over here. I was very proud of the committee process on the House side because we had a very thorough discussion about it, and passed what I believed was a good product.

I was a little concerned with the process on the other side to add what seems to be, from what I’ve heard, a rather large add-on without having it vetted in what I view to be a thorough, reasonable and proper way.

Following the passage of the bill in the Senate on Friday, the measure was criticized in blogs and on social media, and at least one company threatened to leave the state. And, at a celebration of the state’s involvement in the film industry this morning, Governor Deal was asked whether he was concerned that Georgia’s investment, and the $6 billion per year it brings in might be in jeopardy. Speaker Ralston applauded the governor’s leadership trying to resolve the issue, and shares his concerns about the opposition he’s hearing to the measure.

We have to listen to that. I dont think we can turn a blind eye to that. I don’t think we can let that control the debate exclusively, but I also don’t think that we can just ignore the consequences that other states have experienced that we would prefer not to have to have happen here in Georgia.

I think that should counsel us to move deliberately and carefully and thoroughly on this issue. It’s a very emotional issue, an issue that’s going to have consequences.

The Speaker has no deadline for acting on the Pastor Protection Act, short of the end of the session on Sine Die. But, he appeared optimistic. “I think we’re going to come up with a solution that’s really going to be for the common good of the state,” he said.