ATLANTA — Georgia's lieutenant governor, Geoff Duncan, threw up a roadblock for the Buckhead cityhood movement Thursday.
He assigned the state Senate bill that would provide for a vote on cityhood to a committee where it's likely to effectively be shelved.
In order for Buckhead to vote on whether it wants to be a city or not, it first needs for the state legislature, the Georgia General Assembly, to pass a bill providing for a referendum.
By sending the bill to the Senate Urban Affairs Committee - which is composed exclusively of Democrats, and where the Buckhead city movement enjoys no support - Duncan has more or less ensured the bill will never see meaningful action.
That's not necessarily a death blow for Buckhead cityhood - a similar bill in the Georgia House could still pass and cross over for a vote in the Senate, or the Senate could find a way to tack a referendum onto another bill. But it's a serious complication.
Duncan had previously signaled his opposition to Buckhead cityhood, telling 11Alive's Doug Richards last week: "If it’s a cheap sales pitch that you vote for the city and crime goes away, all of us know that that’s not true."
Further complicating the future of a potential Buckhead city vote, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston has also signaled an uneasiness with the proposal.
"What we do will set a precedent," Ralston told 11Alive last week. "And it will be a precedent we will be called upon to follow, whatever we do, in a year or two or in five years or 20 years down the road -- and I want us to get it right."
If Ralston holds up a vote on the House bill, that combined with Duncan's move to sideline the Senate version in the Urban Affairs Committee would all but end hopes for a cityhood vote to take place.