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SB 0009 - Courts; the Columbia Judicial Circuit and to be composed of Columbia County; create a new judicial circuit for the State of Georgia

Tracking Level: Monitor
Sponsor: Lee Anderson (R)
Last Action: 7/1/2021 - Effective Date
Senate Committee: Judiciary
House Committee: Judiciary
Assigned To:
05. Superior CourtsNext Bill
Court AdministrationNext Bill

Staff Analysis of the Legislation

SB 9 creates the Columbia Judicial Circuit, to be comprised of Columbia County, effective July 1, 2021. The three judges of the Augusta Circuit currently residing in Columbia County shall be the three judges of the Columbia Circuit. The governor shall appoint a district attorney for a term beginning July 1, 2021. All proceedings and litigation currently pending in the Superior Court of Columbia County shall transfer to the Columbia Circuit. 

SB 9 additionally specifies that the four remaining judges of the Augusta Judicial Circuit, as well as the current district attorney, shall remain as the judges and district attorney of the Augusta Circuit. The judgeship that is currently vacant shall also remain with the Augusta Circuit.  

The Augusta Circuit will transfer to the Columbia Circuit 25% of the amount it held as of January 1, 2021, for court connected alternative resolution programs costs. The district attorney of the Augusta Circuit shall transfer to the district attorney of the Columbia Circuit the amount held as of January 1, 2021, that was secured pursuant to condemnation of forfeiture actions.   

The judges of both the Columbia Circuit and Augusta Circuit shall continue to receive county salary supplements equal to the aggregate county salary supplements currently received by the judges of the Augusta Circuit. The county salary supplements of the judges and district attorney of the Augusta Circuit, as well as the court-wide expenditures of the Augusta Circuit, shall be paid by Richmond County and Burke County in a ratio equal to their current proportional responsibility. Senior or retired judges of the Augusta Circuit who currently receive a retirement supplement from the three counties of the current Augusta Circuit shall continue to receive such supplement from all three counties. Senior or retired judges owed a retirement supplement after the effective date shall receive such supplement from the county or counties of the circuit from which they retire. 

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