Richard Smith Named New House Rules Chair; Speaker Ralston Announces Other Appointments

The Georgia House of Representatives will have its third Rules Chairman in three years. After the deaths of former Rules Chairmen John Meadows and Jay Powell, Columbus Representative Richard Smith will steer the powerful House Rules Committee when the legislature convenes next month. The Rules Committee is the last stop before legislation in the House reaches the floor. Thus, the Chairman is viewed as the legislator that can decide if legislation gets a vote for passage – or not.

The promotion of Smith left a vacancy of his former committee, which led to the promotion of Eddie Lumsden to chair the House Insurance Committee. Representative Bonnie Rich receives a chairman’s title for the first time, taking helm of the Legislative and Reapportionment Committee from Lumsden.

Other changes were also announced. Notably, those that have spent much of the last year calling for the Speaker’s resignation are no longer vice-chairmen of committees. What better way to earn the “outsider” legislative badge than to be on the actual outside of the legislative process?

The full press release of new appointments is as follows:

ATLANTA, Ga. – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) today announced that Representative Richard Smith (R-Columbus) has been named chairman of the House Rules Committee. Arguably the most powerful committee in the House, the Rules Committee oversees the flow of legislation and determines what bills should be voted on the House floor.

“Richard Smith has earned the trust and respect of every member of our House of Representatives,” said Speaker David Ralston. “He is a wise and thoughtful leader who always puts the interests of this state and its citizens first. We are fortunate to have Chairman Smith in this new role, and I congratulate him on his appointment.”

Representative Smith most recently served as chairman of the House Insurance Committee. First elected to the House in 2004, he represents the citizens of the 134th House District, which includes portions of Harris and Muscogee counties.

Speaker Ralston also announced a number of other leadership changes among the several standing committees of the House of Representatives. The new committee chairmen are as follows:

·         Insurance Committee:

o   Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee) – Chairman

·         Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment Committee:

o   Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee) – Chairman

Several committees also received other new officers. The new committee officers are as follows:

·         Code Revision Committee: 

o   Rep. Micah Gravley (R-Douglasville) – Vice Chairman

·         Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications Committee: 

o   Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta) – Vice Chairman

·         Governmental Affairs Committee:

o   Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) – Secretary

·         Health & Human Services Committee:

o   Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs) – Secretary

·         Interstate Cooperation Committee: 

o   Rep. Dewayne Hill (R-Ringgold) – Vice Chairman

·         Motor Vehicles Committee:

o   Rep. Dale Rutledge (R-McDonough) – Vice Chairman

·         Rules Committee:

o   Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) – Secretary

·         Science & Technology Committee:

o   Rep. Jesse Petrea (R-Savannah) – Secretary

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