Senate GOP blocks Gwinnett government, school board changes

ATLANTA (AP) – Republicans are suspending plans to overhaul the county commission and school board for Georgia’s second most populous county after opponents said their plans trampled on local wishes and legislative rules.

Sen. Clint Dixon, a Republican from Buford, said on Tuesday he wanted to study the issues and get more information on his proposals to add five new members to the fully Democratic Gwinnett County commission and pass the election from partisan to non-partisan county school boards. The two measures would also have redrawn the electoral district boundaries for civil servants for the next 10 years. Dixon said he now aims to return to the January regular session with a proposal to make all party-elected school boards non-partisan.

“We’re going to take some time,” Dixon said. “We are going to create a study committee. We will be holding hearings.

Dixon has repeatedly said that Republicans pushing the measures have a lot of support and a “clear path” to the passage to the special session, which is expected to end next week. But Sam Park, a Lawrenceville Democrat who chairs the Gwinnett House delegation, attributed the overthrow to “the uproar it caused among Gwinnett voters,” saying he had received hundreds of emails from disgruntled voters.

He also said it seemed Republican leaders had decided to take a step back, amid claims the GOP was trying to seize power in what has become a Democratic-majority county and that Republicans were violating legislative rules. by passing a local bill against the wishes of a majority of local lawmakers. Normally, a majority of Gwinnett’s senators would have to sign a bill for it to advance to the State Senate. Republicans had said the bill was treated as a statewide bill for the purposes of the legislative process, but as a local bill for the purposes of Gov. Brian Kemp’s special session summons, which precludes scrutiny of most statewide laws.

“I think they took seriously my concerns that they might have broken Senate rules or the governor’s proclamation,” Park said.

Republicans said the two measures would improve governance. They argued that the Gwinnett commission needs more members because suburban Atlanta has nearly a million people. They also said party politics could have adverse effects on the school system, such as the introduction of a critical race theory, an academic framework that focuses on the idea that racism is systemic in schools. institutions of the nation and that they function to maintain white domination. people. In recent months, it has become a catch-all political buzzword for teaching in schools about race and American history. Officials at Gwinnett School say the district doesn’t teach anything dangerous.

Park said that with Republicans limiting their special session push, he was ready to discuss changes to the school board and county commission.

“There will certainly be an opportunity to discuss increasing the number of seats so that all voters in Gwinnett have their voices heard,” Park said. “Of course, we also want to be aware that we are working with our local elected officials.”


Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at

Comments are closed.