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Smith appointed chairman of powerful Georgia House Rules Committee

Terry Chastain, left, general council for the House Speaker’s office, talks with Reps. Richard Smith and Allen Peake on March 20, 2014. BEN GRAY / BGRAY@AJC.COM
Terry Chastain, left, general council for the House Speaker’s office, talks with Reps. Richard Smith and Allen Peake on March 20, 2014. BEN GRAY / BGRAY@AJC.COM

House Speaker David Ralston on Tuesday appointed a new leader for one of the most powerful committees in the Georgia General Assembly, naming state Rep. Richard Smith as chairman of the Rules Committee.

Smith, a Republican from Columbus, will lead a committee responsible for deciding which bills reach a vote of the full House or stall.

Smith will take over the Rules Committee after its previous chairman, state Rep. Jay Powell, died during a retreat of Republican legislative leaders in November.

"Richard Smith has earned the trust and respect of every member of our House of Representatives," said Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge. "He is a wise and thoughtful leader who always puts the interests of this state and its citizens first."

Since 2011, Smith has served as the chairman of the Insurance Committee. Before he was elected to the House in 2004, Smith was a member of the Columbus City Council.

State Rep. Eddie Lumsden, a Republican from Armuchee, will take over the chairmanship of the Insurance Committee. State Rep. Bonnie Rich, a Republican from Suwanee, will replace Lumsden as the head of the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee.

The 2020 legislative session begins Jan. 13.