Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) was the first sponsor on House Bill 544, which was to make it law that candidates for the board of commissioners would have to live in the district they choose to run in for a minimum of 12 months. This would be a harsher restriction on candidates than the state requires now.
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated that now refers to qualifications for candidates for county offices requires that candidates reside in the county for 12 months, not in a particular district.
This was to be changed by House Bill 436 in the 2013 session, but Turner said that bill was like many others in that it didn’t make it through, simply because the session was such a busy one.
Turner said the reasoning for his support of the new restriction is simple.
“I think it’s important for our form of representative government that the people that are representing us live among us,” he said.
Former Post 2 County Commissioner Jim Hubbard, who said he helped to get the bill on the table for the delegation, said he was unhappy when he learned Thursday that it would not go into effect. He was also incredulous to accept that it wouldn’t be passed.
“I am very, very disappointed if (HB 544) does not pass,” he said.
Confusion on whether or not the bill actually passed is warranted on the Georgia General Assembly’s website, the status of the bill says that it has gone to the governor for approval.
But Turner said definitively that it will not be signed into law.
Hubbard ran for re-election last year and lost to Commissioner Ray Gunnin.
But it was a third candidate in that race that Hubbard said caused him to ask the state Legislature to address the issue.
Hubbard said the third candidate changed his address to Hubbard’s district shortly before qualifying for the race.
Turner though said his support isn’t about Hubbard or the differences of opinion on the matter.
“It has nothing to do with any particular individual,” he said.