Turner plans local legislation about district residency
by Erin Dentmon
edentmon@cherokeetribune.com
February 22, 2013 12:00 AM | 1116 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rep. Scot Turner, left, shakes hands with his then opponent, state Rep. Sean Jerguson (R-Holly Springs), before a debate. State Rep. Turner plans to introduce local legislation to clear up how long a candidate for the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners needs to live in his or her district before running.<br>Photo special to the Tribune by Michael A. Beck
Rep. Scot Turner, left, shakes hands with his then opponent, state Rep. Sean Jerguson (R-Holly Springs), before a debate. State Rep. Turner plans to introduce local legislation to clear up how long a candidate for the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners needs to live in his or her district before running.
Photo special to the Tribune by Michael A. Beck
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ATLANTA — State Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) plans to introduce local legislation to clear up how long a candidate for the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners needs to live in his or her district before running.

The laws governing Cherokee County commission elections already state that candidates must live in a district for 12 months immediately preceding a commission election to be eligible to run.

State law also requires candidates for county commissions to have 12 months of residency.

“The way the (local) law is written today, there are some conflicts,” Turner said. “It looks as though, according to a pair of legal opinions, that the 12-month requirement is consecutive as opposed to just being 12 months at once.”

The state Constitution prohibits residency requirements of longer than a year, and the existing laws can be interpreted as requiring a total of 24 months of residency, Turner said.

“There was nothing that said it was at the same time,” he said.

In 2012, a candidate for the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners qualified to run after living in his district for less than a year.

“He was able to qualify because the law was in conflict with the (state) Constitution,” Turner said.

According to Turner, former commissioner Jim Hubbard asked legislators to look into the residency laws.

“We looked into it and found that the law, as it was written and as the opinion has established, it needed to be tweaked,” Turner said.

The local delegation has not yet voted on the bill.

Turner said he dropped a bill Thursday to clear up the state code regarding the same matter.

Reps. Calvin Hill (R- Canton) and Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock) have signed onto that bill, according to Turner, who said the bill has garnered support from legislators outside the local delegation as well.

“This is not just a law that affects Cherokee County,” he said.

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