ATLANTA (AP) — A member of the Georgia state House has been removed from the chamber for not abiding by the Legislature’s COVID-19 testing policy.
Republican Rep. David Clark from Buford was asked to leave the House floor Tuesday morning.
Clark refused to leave on his own and had to be escorted out by police.
Members of the Legislature are supposed to undergo testing twice weekly, on Mondays and Thursdays.
Clark told reporters that he is abstaining from twice-a-week testing until it is available to everyone in Georgia, particularly teachers and first responders.
Testing in Georgia is available to anyone who wants it and is widely accessible.
Also at the Capitol …
- Georgia House lawmakers want to shift more money into public health and nursing homes, saying the state needs to spend more in response to the coronavirus pandemic. House appropriations subcommittees on Tuesday made proposed changes to the current year’s budget. The full House could vote on the changes as early as Thursday. The Senate will consider the changes after that. House lawmakers propose adding nearly $34 million into the state Department of Public Health. Gov. Brian Kemp had proposed no new spending from state money, instead relying on federal coronavirus relief for now.
- Georgia taxpayers are spending nearly $200,000 a year in salary and benefits for an insurance commissioner who’s been suspended for nearly two years. When Insurance Commissioner John King presented his budget to lawmakers last week, it included $194,899 for “one-time funds for one filled executive position.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports King said that’s what the state is spending for salary and benefits for Jim Beck, who was indicted in May 2019, just a few months after taking office. Beck is accused of bilking his former employer out of $2 million. Gov. Brian Kemp suspended him from office a few days after his indictment.
- Georgia has signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that formally ratifies the rights of two suburban Atlanta counties to use Lake Lanier for drinking water. The lake northeast of Atlanta was formed by damming the Chattahoochee River and has been used for drinking water for decades. But federal litigation among Georgia, Alabama and Florida over who gets to use water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system had questioned that use. Georgia officials say the agreement will secure enough water to allow for growth for decades, but the contract could be challenged in court by downstream users.
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