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COLUMN: This is why we don’t change the state Constitution

The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.


Exactly one month ago today, Georgia voters agreed to amend the state Constitution with three different amendments, one of which addresses the Judicial Qualifying Commission, or watchdog agency for judges in the state of Georgia.

The amendment, during the legislative session and ahead of the election, was plagued with controversy for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, perceived and actual conflicts of interest by the sponsors of the legislation and amendment.

But Thursday, the lead sponsor of the initiative, Wendell Williard, told the Daily Report that there was a “mix up” and due to some “last minute changes” during session, three different watchdog agencies will actually be responsible for overseeing judicial discipline for the next seven months.

I know, I’m as shocked as you are.

The Daily Report reports:

“THE STUMBLING BLOCK IS THE EFFECTIVE DATE TO ABOLISH THEN AND REPLACE THE JQC, WHICH HAS BEEN OVERSEEING JUDICIAL DISCIPLINE FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS. UNDER THE AMENDMENT PASSED BY VOTERS LAST MONTH, THE CURRENT JQC CEASES TO EXIST ON JUNE 30, 2017. BUT ITS REPLACEMENT, CREATED BY UNDERLYING LEGISLATION PASSED IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, IS SUPPOSED TO START SIX MONTHS EARLIER ON JANUARY 1, 2017…

…THE “TRICKY” INCONGRUITIES WILL BE RESOLVED BY ABOLISHING THE CURRENT JQC ON DECEMBER 31; CREATING A NEW INTERIM AGENCY WITH DIFFERENT MEMBERS AND DIFFERENT OPERATING RULES SHORTLY AFTER JAN. 1, 2017; AND THEN ON JULY 1 ABOLISHING THE AGENCY IN FAVOR OF ONE SHAPED BY AS-YET-UNWRITTEN LEGISLATION.”

Did you follow all that? Abolish, create, create during session, and abolish again. That should, hopefully leave us with just one agency. ::Fingers crossed::

The biggest hurdle, however, is that it is very likely that the Georgia Senate won’t grant final approval on the yet-to-be-written parameters for the newest new agency until 2018.

So, we just voted to change the Constitution, and when we did it, we didn’t even know what we were changing it to do. And now, a month later, we learn we don’t have one agency, but three.

As Jeb! says, “Please clap.”

You can read the entire rundown here.

Jessica Szilagyi is a Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers."

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