Georgia state lawmakers back at work for 2023 session

Late House Speaker David Ralston was on the hearts and minds of many on the first day of the Georgia 2023-2024 legislative session.

Representatives elected a new speaker Monday, less than two months after Ralston's death.

As their first order of business, they elected republican State Representative Jon Burns from Newington to be Georgia's 75th Speaker of the House.

Burns was first elected to the Georgia General Assembly in 2004.

He has served as majority leader since 2015.

Speaker Ralston served as one of the state's most powerful political leaders for more than a decade.

In November, he announced he was stepping down from the position citing "health challenges".

State Rep. Jan Jones, the Speaker Pro Tem and second-ranking leader in the state house,  automatically rose to the position of speaker, and made history becoming the first woman to fill the role.

Jones had worked with Ralston for more than 20 years.

She decided not to run for speaker, and backed Rep. Burns to replace her.

Burns ran unopposed.

Meanwhile, Rep. Jones was re-elected Speaker Pro-Tem.

Several state lawmakers were headed to Los Angeles for Monday night's championship game and left the Capitol following the swearing in ceremony and morning business.