GSB Vol. 17, NO. 4, Pg. 20. 2012 State Bar Legislative Preview.

Authorby Tom Boiler

Georgia Bar Journal

Volume 17.

GSB Vol. 17, NO. 4, Pg. 20.

2012 State Bar Legislative Preview

GSB JournalVol. 17, NO. 4December 20112012 State Bar Legislative Previewby Tom BoilerCollege football is moving into bowl season, which must mean the holidays are upon us. And on Jan. 9, the same day the BCS national football championship will be decided, the Georgia General Assembly will convene for its 2012 legislative session. Over the past summer and fall, State Bar sections and committees have been hard at work developing proposals for lawmakers' consideration during the upcoming session. While the Bar's legislative agenda for 2012 has not been finalized, here is a preview of some of the important issues affecting lawyers and the judicial branch that are expected to be part of the conversation under the gold dome.

* Criminal Justice Reform: Last year, the leaders of all three branches of Georgia's state government - Gov. Nathan Deal, Chief Justice Carol Hunstein, House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle-came together to create the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform. The research and recommendations of the council are outlined by State Bar President Ken Shigley, who was appointed by Gov. Deal to serve on the council, in his President's Page column (see pg. 4). The council's package of legislative recommendations, which are aimed at reducing the non-violent offender population in our prison system and improving public safety, will be a major agenda item for the 2012 General Assembly.

* Indigent Defense Funding: In 2003, when the statewide public defender system was created, lawmakers identified a number of revenue sources to fund the program. Those revenue sources have generated in excess of $40 million annually, but the General Assembly has appropriated substantially less than that each year for the indigent defense system. To correct this problem and to ensure adequate funding for indigent defense, House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee Chairman Rich Golick has proposed a constitutional amendment (HR 977), which would guarantee those funds are used to fund indigent defense and could not be redirected for other purposes. The State Bar strongly supports this approach to funding indigent defense, and we urge you to ask your...

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