Advisory Group Named To Examine Georgia's 'Legislative Leave' Law

Mar 1, 2019

House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) has announced the 12 people tasked with reviewing a controversial law dealing with court cases for lawyers in the General Assembly.

The "legislative leave" provision allows lawmakers who are busy with legislative duties to postpone trials and other court dates. A recent AJC investigation found that Ralston, who is a defense attorney, had some cases delayed for years by citing his legislative schedule.

Speaking on the House floor Monday, Ralston said that while he doesn't think he did anything wrong, perception is reality. He then announced he would create the advisory group to research how other states handle lawyer/lawmakers.

“I am committed to a thorough review of our legislative leave statutes, and I am confident this bipartisan group of legislators, lawyers, judges and others will offer an informed opinion on how we should proceed,” Ralston said in a Friday press release.

Rep. David Clark (R-Buford) filed a resolution calling for Ralston to resign but less than a dozen lawmakers signed on.

The co-chairs of the advisory group are former representatives Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta) and Ronnie Mabra (D-Fayetteville). Other members:

House Majority Leader Representative Jon Burns
House Minority Leader Representative Bob Trammell
Georgia Supreme Court Justice John Ellington
Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Brian Rickman
Former State Representative & Judge Tom Cauthorn
Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap 
Attorney James Butler, Jr. (Columbus)
Former State Representative Curtis Jenkins
Former State Representative Tom Weldon 
Cobb County District Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Unit Director Kim McCoy