Kemp signs legislation to give Columbia County its own court circuit

Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 8:49 AM EDT
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ATLANTA (WRDW/WAGT) - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has signed into law a measure to give Columbia County its own judicial circuit and district attorney.

The final legislative action came Monday with Senate approval, which sent the bill to Kemp. He signed the bill Thursday.

Monday was the second time for Senate Bill 9 to pass through the chamber.

The Senate had approved it earlier, sending it to the House for amendments.

The Senate then voted Monday to accept the amendments.

The measure was sponsored by Sens. Lee Anderson, Max Burns, Brian Strickland, Butch Miller, Jeff Mullis, John Kennedy and Bill Cowsert.

It’s been supported by the Columbia County Commission as a cost-saving measure. The Richmond County Commission ultimately decided to support it, as well.

“Since the Columbia County and Richmond county boards of commissioners both endorsed a new judicial circuit for Columbia County, I was happy to carry the bill to accomplish that in the Georgia House Representatives this session,” said Rep. Dr. Mark Newton.

The new circuit will be split off from the Augusta Circuit, leaving a smaller Augusta Circuit that includes Richmond and Burke counties.

Some have objected to a making the split after voters elected the circuit’s first-ever Black district attorney, Jared Williams.

The new circuit would have three judges. The remaining Augusta Circuit would keep five Superior Court judicial posts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.