New chairman announced for Georgia House Rules Committee

A Republican from Columbus has been named chairman of the powerful Georgia House Rules Committee.

The appointment of Rep. Richard Smith was announced Tuesday by House Speaker David Ralston. The committee was previously headed by Republican Rep. Jay Powell, who died suddenly after collapsing at a lawmaker retreat in November.

The Rules Committee controls what bills reach the state House floor for a vote.

Smith was first elected to the Georgia House in 2004 and has recently served as the chairman of the House Insurance Committee. Ralston also announced that Rep. Eddie Lumsden, a Republican from Armuchee, is replacing Smith in that role. Rep. Bonnie Rich, a Republican from Suwanee, has been tapped to replace Lumsden as chairman of the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee, which is responsible for drawing boundaries for state legislative and U.S. House districts.

“Richard Smith has earned the trust and respect of every member of our House of Representatives,” Ralston said in a statement. “He is a wise and thoughtful leader who always puts the interests of this state and its citizens first. We are fortunate to have Chairman Smith in this new role, and I congratulate him on his appointment.”