Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) notified members of the state house that they must test for COVID-19 and wear protective masks for next year’s legislative session.
Ralston said in a memo last week to state house members that they must test for COVID-19 prior to January 5. Legislators must report their results to Human Resources Director Donald Cronin.
“The Speaker of the House has the authority to remove from the House Chamber and House Gallery, any individual, member or otherwise, who refuses to comply with the testing requirement,” according to Ralston’s memo.
Ralston also instructed House members, House staff, and members of the public who enter House committee rooms to wear COVID-19 masks. Ralston ordered these people to also launder and machine dry their masks after each use.
Ralston, during the 2021 legislative session, removed a member of the Georgia State House for refusing to take a twice-weekly and mandated COVID-19 test.
Media reports identified that legislator as State Representative David Clark (R-Buford).
Clark reportedly refused to leave the Chamber during the incident in January. Ralston called state troopers to have him forcibly removed.
Clark did not return The Georgia Star News’ requests for comment Monday.
Clark, at the time said the speaker “can’t just pick the rules and decide who comes in and who doesn’t come in.” He also called Ralston “a dictator.”
Clark reportedly has a long history of spats with Ralston.
Ralston in August proposed spending $3 million in additional state law enforcement resources to fight Atlanta’s worsening crime problem. Ralston said state legislators will consider his proposals during the 2022 legislative sessions appropriations process.
Members of the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) last month announced their priorities for the 2022 session of the Georgia General Assembly. The GDOE, among other things, wants Georgia students to focus more on civics and to give parents more power to decide what’s best for their children’s health.
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