Georgia state senator banned from House floor after comments about late speaker

A Georgia state senator was banned from ever stepping foot on the Georgia House floor on Thursday. 

In an almost unprecedented move, state Sen. Colton Moore, R-Trenton, was forbidden from entering the House chambers after making disparaging comments about late House Speaker David Ralston.

On a day meant to honor the late House speaker, Moore made controversial remarks about Ralston which resulted in a rare response of banishment by Georgia House leaders.

The Georgia Senate considered a resolution to name a building at the University of North Georgia in Ralston's memory. Moore stirred up a political dust storm when he urged senators not to approve the name change. He blasted Ralston's work as a lawyer and politician.

"This body is about to memorialize, in my opinion, one of the most corrupt Georgia leaders that we are ever going to see in my lifetime," exclaimed Moore.

His statements were heavily attacked by senators on both sides of the aisle. The room was filled with visible whispering and visible reactions of disbelief. 

"He was a great man, a great mentor and a wonderful friend," countered Sen. Tim Bearden, R-Carrollton.

"There was a measure of caring about the institution of the General Assembly and the House that Speaker Ralston held dear that made it worth it for everybody to serve, including Democrats, even when you didn't get what you wanted," stated Sen. Josh McLaurin, D-Sandy Springs.

House Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, visibly angry and emotional, addressed Moore’s comments in the House. "His comments impugned the integrity of my good friend, and we all know they were not true," said Burns.

The speaker then took swift action. "At no time in the future will the senator from the 53rd be allowed to come into that room or any property of the Georgia House," he ordered.

Burns' announcement was met with a standing ovation and loud applause. He quickly and publicly confirmed his decision with the doorkeeper.

"Cory, you have the orders. We expect you to enforce them and carry them out," added Burns.

The resolution to honor Ralston was adopted and the only vote in opposition was Moore’s. FOX 5 reached out to him for comment but did not hear back.

The House held a ceremony that morning honoring Ralston, where a portrait was unveiled. Gov. Brian Kemp and former governors Sonny Perdue and Nathan Deal also made remarks.