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Lawmakers given lead roles in Legislature
Two Glynn County delegates to the Georgia General Assembly are just beginning second terms in the Legislature but are already landing prominent leadership positions.

Rep. Alex Atwood, R-St. Simons Island, was appointed deputy whip, and Sen. William Ligon, R-St. Simons Island, was named chairman of the State and Local Government Affairs Committee.

As deputy whip, Atwood will help monitor legislation as it moves through the House.

Atwood also was given a seat on the budget-writing Appropriations Committee.

"Although I am still relatively new to the legislature, I...requested to be added to the Appropriations Committee with a particular assignment to the Appropriations Higher Eduction Subcommittee," he said.

He was also named vice-chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee and secretary of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. He will continue to serve on the Judiciary Non-Civil and Insurance Committees.

Atwood said he received all the assignments he requested, as well as one he didn't anticipate, deputy whip.

"I am particularly humbled and gratified to be able to better serve the state of Georgia and my legislative district," he said. "These assignments run the spectrum of often what is most important to many of my constituents, our state and community."

As chair of the State and Local Government Operations Committee, Ligon is responsible for legislation for special taxes, city and county organization and powers, subdivisions and administration of special districts.

"I'm looking forward to it," Ligon said. "I'm trying to get my hands around it right now."

Ligon was also appointed vice chair of the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, which has jurisdiction over the state's criminal code and procedure, drug enforcement, sentencing, parole and pardons, and immigration. Any legislation that carries a possible criminal penalty can be referred to the committee.

Ligon will also serve on the Senate's Judiciary Committee, which considers a wide variety of legislation relating to law, courts and judges, as well as constitutional amendments. Any legislation that carries possible civil penalties can be referred to the committee.

As a member of the Health and Human Services Committee, Ligon will consider legislation that affects safety regulations and social services, as well as legal issues affecting medical professionals.

Ligon will also serve on the state's Ethics Commission.

Freshman Rep. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, was appointed to three committees he said he was looking forward to serving on - Interstate Cooperation, State Planning and Community Affairs and Economic Development and Tourism.

The responsibility of the Interstate Cooperation Committee is to work with state officials and employees to develop and maintain friendly contact with officials and employees from local governments, other states and the federal government.

Chapman, who is starting his first term in office as state representative, said he had no preference on his appointments.

"I said it would be an honor to serve on any one of them," he said. "I look forward to the opportunity to serve. It's very exciting."

An important appointment was given to Rep. Chad Nimmer, R-Blackshear, who represents Brantley County. Nimmer was named Gov. Nathan Deal's floor leader.

Nimmer will bring the governor's legislation to the House and serve as the governor's liaison.

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