ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- By high noon there was already low intensity under the gold dome in downtown Atlanta. Not what you would expect to see with just nine days remaining in the Georgia legislative session.

State Representative Donna McLeod was one of a handful of lawmakers in the building.

“The clock is real. Time is not standing still for us,” McLeod said. “Just stunned, just absolutely stunned that their priority yesterday was COVID and businesses.”

There didn’t appear to be a sense of urgency to pass a hate crimes bill considering the House and Senate adjourned early for the day.

House Speaker David Ralston said he’s been waiting for over a year for the Senate to take up House Bill 426 which addresses the issue.

“466 days and we don’t have a hate crime bill. How long is it going to take us to do these kinds of things?” Ralston stated.

Georgia is one of four states in the nation without a hate crimes law. Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan discussed the delay Tuesday morning on CNN.

“We drafted a couple of ideas early and we brought Democrats and Republicans together to draft in my office what we believe is going to be a strong version of a hate crimes bill because at the end of the day I don’t want my legacy to be that I supported the weakest hate crimes bill in the country. I want to put policy over politics,” Duncan said.

Time is of the essence and only time will tell whether Georgia will take a stand against hate crimes.

“Let’s get it passed because it is imperative that this state and this country tell black people that their lives matter,” McLeod said.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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