Jim Beck, the commissioner of the Georgia Insurance Department, speaks at a press conference about an insurance fraud bust in a courtroom at the Clayton County Superior Court in Jonesboro in March. Two months later, Beck was charged in a fraud case and was suspended. He continues to receive his $120,000-a-year salary. EMILY HANEY / emily.haney@ajc.com
Photo: Emily Haney
Photo: Emily Haney

Legislation seeks to deny pay to indicted Georgia officials like Beck

Elected officials who have been suspended from office, such as Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck, would no longer receive their taxpayer-funded salary, according to the first bill filed Friday ahead of Georgia’s 2020 legislative session.

Beck, who is facing federal charges that he stole more than $2 million from his former employer, has continued to receive his $120,000 annual salary since he was suspended in May.

That could change if the General Assembly approves legislation filed by House Minority Leader Bob Trammell, a Democrat from Luthersville.

“We shouldn’t be subsidizing illegal activity on the part of elected officials,” Trammell said. “If they’re not going to work and do their job, they don’t need to be getting paid by the taxpayers.”

Trammell is seeking an amendment to the Georgia Constitution that would cover the insurance commissioner and other state officials. For a constitutional amendment to pass, two-thirds of both the state House and Senate would have to approve it, along with a majority of Georgia voters.

Trammell also sponsored a bill that would apply to other elected officials whose positions aren’t named in the state constitution. That legislation could pass if it received majorities in the House and Senate.

No other measures were filed Friday, the first day bills could be introduced in advance of the legislative session that starts Jan. 13.

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