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Republicans, Democrats React To Ga. Legislative Session

Photos of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday, February 10, 2015. (Photo/Brenna Beech; brennabeech17@att.net)
Photos of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday, February 10, 2015. (Photo/Brenna Beech; brennabeech17@att.net)
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE
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Georgia lawmakers are heading home after the General Assembly ended its session just after midnight Thursday.

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said he thought the chamber had a good session.

“I think that we passed some important measures. I think that we have shown that we have the ability here in the House to break down party barriers and work on important measures across the aisle,” Ralston said.

There were big wins for Republican lawmakers, including a religious exemptions bill and funding for anti-abortion pregnancy centers.

Meanwhile, state Democrats failed on getting some of their key measures through in the GOP-controlled state Legislature.

Democrats this session tried to expand Medicaid to cover more Georgians with health insurance and raise the state’s minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, but the measures didn’t make it very far in the session.

Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson, D-Tucker, said there were some frustrating moments, including a bill he said could lead to discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“If you think those giving state money to people who discriminate is a problem or [if] you have concerns about us continually allowing people to carry guns everywhere, then you don’t think it’s quite as good a session,” Henson said.

Henson said he’s proud though of passing a state budget that includes money for raises for state employees and teachers.

He said he looks forward to next year and added that Democrats will try again to get some of their measures through.