Georgia Lt. Governor talks COVID-19 response, legislative plans

The state legislature is currently suspended amid the Coronavirus outbreak

Georgia Lt. Governor talks COVID-19 response, legislative plans
Geoff Duncan (Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan said his office is staying busy with virtual meetings and conference calls with state senators. Presiding over the senate is one of his responsibilities. WTOC asked Duncan when state lawmakers will come back to pass a budget.

He says it’s too early to know when that will happen, but they must do so by the end of June. At the beginning of the session, the Governor wanted lawmakers to approve another teacher pay raise, while House Speaker David Ralston wanted to do another tax cut. However, the outbreak is expected to make a big dent in state revenue.

“Too early to talk about individual line items, but certainly every single budget, whether it’s my family budget or your family budget, or a business’s budget, has new pressure points on every line item that’s in there, so certainly we’re going to take that into consideration," said Duncan.

Duncan and the entire state senate just got out of a self-quarantine. A colleague tested positive shortly after a special session two weeks ago; others have since tested positive for coronavirus; Duncan has not.

He said he stayed busy with phone calls with the Governor and other statewide leaders during the time isolated at home. WTOC asked about the decision at the state level to not issue a shelter-in-place order; the Governor has instead opted to allow local governments to make that call.

“[We’re] driving these decisions out to the locals, because the governor has to govern the entire state," Duncan said. "As of today, I think the numbers somewhere around 50 counties don’t have a case yet, or something close to that. [We’re] making sure that the locals are able to make those more localized decisions based off the information that they have.”

Duncan said his office is providing all the services they ordinarily would for senators and the people of Georgia. He encouraged all Georgians to heed the advice of medical experts.

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