Democratic lawmakers in the Georgia Senate have kicked off the 2021 legislative session with a resolution condemning the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol last week.
Sponsored by five Democratic senators, the resolution slams “the disgraceful actions of right-wing violence and sedition” that saw Trump supporters break into and vandalize the Capitol building. The riots disrupted Congress’ vote to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the Nov. 3 general election.
The resolution also criticized several Republican state senators for holding “sham hearings” in December that gave a platform to election fraud claims spread by Trump and his allies, “delegitimizing the Senate and giving credibility to these conspiracy theories,” the resolution said.
State Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta, Tuesday called for those Senate Republicans to be held accountable for acting to agitate Trump’s supporters, saying on the Senate floor they “aided and abetted the spread of disinformation.”
“They gave oxygen to a lie,” said Jordan, who faced death threats for challenging the fraud claims at a Senate hearing last month. “To pretend like nothing happened, that this is just another day … that can’t be an option.”
The rioting and resolution came after Republican state lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee released a report last month calling the Nov. 3 election “chaotic” and that “any reported results must be viewed as untrustworthy.”
Georgia election officials including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger repeatedly dismissed the Nov. 3 fraud claims as unfounded while federal courts tossed several lawsuits seeking to reverse the election results.
Proposals to change Georgia election laws including tighter voter ID requirements and limits on who can cast mail-in ballots look to feature prominently in this year’s session after Biden became the first Democrat to carry Georgia since 1992 and Democrats flipped the state’s two Republican-held U.S. Senate seats last week.
Republican senators who attended the subcommittee hearings and voiced belief in the fraud claims included state Sens. Burt Jones, R-Jackson; Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta; Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming; Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega; John Kennedy, R-Macon; Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia; and Carden Summers, R-Cordele. Former state Sens. William Ligon, R-Brunswick, and Bill Health, R-Bremen, also attended.
Jones, Beach, Dolezal and Ligon also circulated a failed petition in December urging General Assembly members to convene a special session aimed at blocking Georgia’s presidential election results. Gov. Brian Kemp opposed calling a special session.
On Tuesday, Jones and Beach were stripped of their Senate committee chairmanships by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who repeatedly pushed Republicans to drop their focus on fraud claims and instead look ahead to bolstering Georgia GOP candidates in future elections.
The Senate resolution was co-sponsored by Georgia Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain; state Sens. Harold Jones II, D-Augusta; Elena Parent, D-Atlanta; Lester Jackson, D-Savannah; and Jordan.