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Wendell Willard

David Goldman / Associated Press

In November, Georgians voted to abolish and recreate the state’s judicial watchdog agency, but questions remain about the future of the new Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Al Such / WABE

Georgia voters Tuesday decided to amend the state’s constitution to overhaul the state’s judicial watchdog agency. The changes would allow the state Legislature to abolish and recreate the Judicial Qualifications Commission and give lawmakers more power over the body. 

The watchdog agency, which was created by constitutional amendment in 1972, investigates ethics complaints against state judges. The commission's investigations have led to the resignations or removals of dozens of judges in Georgia over the past decade for misconduct. 

Elly Yu
WABE

Two new political allies have spent the past few days traveling around Georgia to oppose Amendment Three on next week's ballot.

The constitutional amendment, if passed, would allow the state legislature to recreate the state agency that investigates judicial ethics complaints, also known as the Judicial Qualifications Commission. 

State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, has teamed up with Lester Tate, a Democrat and former chairman of the commission to campaign against the measure. 

Stanley Fong / flickr.com/eggrollstan

A Democrat and Republican will once again try to pass a bill aimed at strengthening protections for state employees who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, is sponsoring House Bill 323, which would ban the state from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation. Drenner, a lesbian, has sponsored similar legislation in the past, but each time those efforts have failed.

The death chamber at the state prison in Jackson, Ga.
Ric Feld / Associated Press

The state parole board Tuesday morning denied clemency for Warren Lee Hill. He's scheduled to be executed later tonight. Hill’s attorney argues his client’s intellectual disability bars Georgia from putting him to death.

Bill Aims To Crack Down Further On Elder Abuse

Jan 16, 2015
GA House of Reps.

New legislation in the state House aims to build off recent efforts to crack down on elder abuse. 

In 2013, state lawmakers passed a bill that elevated some types of crimes against the elderly to felonies and added stricter reporting requirements to help police investigate suspicious activity.

House judiciary chair Wendell Willard is one of the sponsors of the new bill and says law enforcement needs additional tools.

GA House of Reps.

Georgians who can’t afford to pay off traffic tickets and other misdemeanor fines are routinely put on probation until they can pay, but that may be changing soon.

Georgia, by far, has more people on probation for low-level offenses than any other state in the country. About 300,000 at any one time, in fact. And at a rate that’s quadruple the national average.

“We have to wonder is that because people in Georgia are so much less law-abiding?" says Sarah Geraghty. "I have to believe the answer to that is no."

Ga. House of Reps.

One of the most controversial bills considered by the state House this year is likely dead for the session. However, a companion bill in the Senate remains alive.

Critics of House Bill 1023, or The Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, say it would allow private business owners to cite their religious beliefs as a reason to deny service to gay customers.