The Georgia state Senate on Wednesday passed HB 454 -- the bill to hand the presidential primary date-setting authority to the secretary of state -- by a vote of 43-6. The bill now heads to Governor Nathan Deal's desk for signature and would provide the Peach state with the same sort of flexibility in scheduling the presidential primary in the future that Florida is seeking with the formation of an outside committee to make the decision. Should Deal sign the bill into law, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp would have until December 1 at the latest to set the date for next year's presidential primary. And while Kemp may feel compelled to move the primary into compliance with national party rules, the law would give him the ability to set the date as early as the end of January.
This is the second consecutive cycle in which the Georgia General Assembly has finalized the decision on the presidential primary on the last day of the session. The 2007 move was a bit more last minute as the original bill to move the primary died and it took an amendment to another elections bill to get the move to a February primary through the legislature.
Thanks to Andre Walker at Georgia Politics Unfiltered for live blogging sine die day at the Georgia General Assembly in Atlanta and passing the news along.