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Lawmakers reflect on 2012 session
New judgeship, tax changes hailed
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Forsyth County News


The five members of Forsyth County’s state legislative delegation say much was accomplished, both to benefit the county and the state, during the 2012 session.

The biggest change for Forsyth likely will be a bill authored by District 27 state Sen. Jack Murphy that adds a new judgeship to the Bell-Forsyth judicial circuit.

Murphy said the passing the bill out of the legislature “and then getting the governor to agree to the funding and agree to the language … I think was a major accomplishment in getting that done.”

“I think that was very vital to our county,” he said.

Forsyth County’s two Superior Court judges, Jeffrey Bagley and David Dickinson, are working with a substantial backlog of cases. Murphy said a third judge will help expedite the county’s legal process.

The new judge, who would be appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal, could begin Jan. 1. Deal’s appointment would last two years. The judge must then run for election for a full four-year term.

District 23 state Rep. Mark Hamilton, like Murphy a Republican from Cumming, continued his work to improve state elections this session by authoring two bills to reform the process and make elections more transparent.

The measures went through a lengthy process of being tacked on to other bills. In the end, both passed as part of Senate Bill 92.

One of the two prevents an incumbent from “being able to game the system by withdrawing after they have allowed a chosen replacement to qualify,” leaving no time for another candidate to qualify.

The other measure updates and clarifies election law and limits the possibilities for registration and election fraud, while reducing costs of managing registration and elections.

“Both measures were very important to Georgia, that is why we were able to revive and pass the legislation in such a short time period on Day 39 after it had failed in the Senate,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton also pointed to some other highlights of the session.

“We gave final passage to criminal justice reform, improved our laws to help fight the growing problem of metal theft, and established a tax court to help efficiently resolve disputes with the Department of Revenue.”