Milton County is dead for the year, as the clock hits midnight on its last chance for 2010. It was an unholy between a myopic Buckhead Republican and the Black legislative Caucus that stalled the resolution for at least another session.
"Buckhead Ed" Lindsey, the only Republican House member representing Atlanta and a contingent of liberal Democrat legislators from inside the perimeter blocked Milton county from getting on the 2010 statewide ballot. Supporters of HR 21, the constitutional amendment to create the county, didn't quite have the two-thirds super-majority they needed on "Crossover Day" to pass the resolution, and they ran out of time. Backers say they were very close to garnering the 120 votes they needed when the clock struck midnight.
"It was close, but it wasnt close enough for a vote. It was a great attempt. We kept whipping. We came pretty close. We had some people change their votes. It was a valiant effort," lamented a fatigued Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs).
"Crossover Day" is the last day for legislation to pass one state legislative chamber or the other. The initiative slipped away before there was any debate on the resolution that could have started Milton on the path to secession.
The House attempted to handle nearly fifty pieces of legislation in fourteen hours, an impossible task; Milton didn't make the cut.
"I don't know what they were doing, but I know what I was doing: lobbying against it," said Rep. Ralph Long (D-Atlanta.)
House Speaker Pro-Tem Jan Jones (R-Milton) had pledged to bring the resolution to the floor if she had the votes, and Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) was helping her. But opinion was bearish under the Gold Dome all day.
The legislature will now take a week's vacation. Afterward, each chamber will start hearing bills received from the opposite side of the capitol. The session will end in ten working days.
The future of the Fulton County Republican Party is now in question, as a large contingent of members, the bulk of which are in North Fulton County, want to create there own "Milton County Republican Party" and abandon the Fulton organization. "Why have a Party when we can't even stand together on this fundamental issue," said one GOP elected official, who preferred anonymity. Another legislator said the "The Lindsey Alliance" was like the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939. "Ed did us in. He doesn't represent me. He has to go."