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Georgia House passes bill allowing prosecuting commission to adopt standards

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(The Center Square) — The Georgia House on Monday passed a measure to amend the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission, eliminating the need for the state Supreme Court to review and adopt the board’s standards.

House Bill 881, passed by a 95-75 margin, ostensibly addresses the court’s Nov. 22 administrative order, which found it had “grave doubts that adopting the standards and rules would be within our constitutional power.”

“Today, the House passed HB 881 to hold District Attorneys and Solicitors General across Georgia accountable,” Speaker of the House Jon Burns, R-Newington, said in a statement.

“Georgians deserve District Attorneys who are focused on upholding their oath of office, prosecuting criminals, and doing their job to keep our communities safe—and I am confident that the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission will ensure that happens,” Burns added. “I look forward to the Senate acting quickly on this important legislation and delivering it to Governor Kemp to sign into law.”

However, in a post to X, previously known as Twitter, state Rep. Betsy Holland, D-Atlanta, said the measure allows unelected “partisan agents to obstruct decisions handed down by district attorneys.”

“DAs are duly elected by the GA voters. HB881 can undo the will of GA voters,” Holland said. “This is a partisan attempt to DISCIPLINE prosecutors who hand down decisions they do not like.”

Lawmakers created the commission last year, and it has become an even higher-profile initiative amid misconduct allegations involving Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. In August, Willis’ office brought charges against former President Donald Trump and others for their role in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

On Friday, the state Senate passed a measure to establish a Senate special committee on Investigations to probe Willis. Senate Resolution 465, which passed by a 30-19 measure, gave the committee subpoena power and state funds.

Before the session started, Senate President Pro Tempore John F. Kennedy, R-Macon, and state Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, announced Senate Bill 332.

Like HB 881, the change would allow the commission to adopt its internal guidelines and rules in line with those of other state commissions. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee favorably reported the bill.

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