Legislation filed to split Columbia County into own court district

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 9:51 AM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Legislation to split Columbia County from the Augusta Judicial Circuit has been filed in the Georgia General Assembly.

The legislative session opened earlier this week in Atlanta, and the measure, Senate Bill 9, was listed Thursday morning as having been filed.

Lawmakers sponsoring the measure include Lee Anderson, Max Burns, Brian Strickland, Butch Miller, Jeff Mullis, John Kennedy and Bill Cowsert.

Currently, the circuit consists of Richmond, Burke and Columbia counties, but Columbia County leaders a few weeks ago launched an effort to get their own courts.

In a meeting Tuesday, the Augusta Commission agreed to support Columbia County leaders in their wish to split.

Augusta Commissioner Ben Hasan just hopes all three counties can work together through the process.

“I’ve heard one say it can happen as late as July 1, but as early as May and in the time in between those two. So that’s pretty fast for something of this magnitude. So obviously, I hope that gives a better incentive to work together to make even make sure everyone is whole,” he said.

The commission also expressed a desire to keep Burke and Richmond County together, and to obtain the county fiscal year report from the state to get a more detailed picture of how much a split would cost.

The bill summary

A Bill to be entitled an Act to create a new judicial circuit for the State of Georgia, to be known as the Columbia Judicial Circuit and to be composed of Columbia County; to provide for the transfer of certain funds from the Augusta Judicial Circuit to the Columbia Judicial Circuit; to provide for and allocate circuit-wide costs and expenditures; to conform the county salary supplements for the judges of the Augusta Judicial Circuit; to amend Article 1 of Chapter 6 of Title 15 of the O.C.G.A., relating to general provisions regarding the superior courts, so as to revise the composition and terms of court of the Augusta Judicial Circuit; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

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