McKoon appointed chairman General Assembly's Judiciary committee

There has been a Republican power shift in the Georgia Senate and Columbus Sen. Josh McKoon appears to be one of the winners.

McKoon, starting his second term and in only his third year in the General Assembly, has been appointed chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of many bills that move through the Legislature. In the past, tort reform and immigration legislation are examples of bills that have come out of the Judiciary Committee.

"I feel like I am going to be able to do more for the people of District 29," McKoon said Tuesday. "I think it is a good role for me."

McKoon, 33, has been on the right side of the power shift within the Republican majority. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has emerged with more say in how the Senate operates this term than he had the last two years. Sen. David Shafer, a close political ally of McKoon's, is the new president pro tem; Sen. Ronnie Chance is the majority leader; and Sen. Butch Miller is the caucus leader. "All three of those senators signed off on my ethics legislation last year," said McKoon, who has been pushing an effort for tougher ethics laws for legislators. "That let's you know we have a good relationship and see some of these issues in a similar way."

Shafer has confidence in McKoon's ability to handle the committee.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee is one of the busiest and most important committees under the Gold Dome," Shafer said. "Sen. McKoon has demonstrated the energy and talent to take on this critically important responsibility."

In addition to his chairmanship, McKoon is vice chairman of the Higher Education Committee, secretary of the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee, and a member of the Insurance and Ethics committees. McKoon is a partner with the Columbus law firm Crowley/McKoon.

Columbus Democratic Sen. Ed Harbison, a 20-year veteran of the General Assembly, has retained his chairmanship of the Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee.

The new House committee assignments have not been released.