Brian Kemp signs prosecutor discipline bill as Fani Willis awaits her fate in the Donald Trump election interference case

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has signed legislation into law creating a disciplinary board that could investigate complaints against District Attorneys and Solicitors General.

The measure (SB 332) cleared the General Assembly earlier this year in an effort many believe to be directly related to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is seeking prosecution against former President Donald Trump over allegations of election interference in the 2020 election.

The same day that Kemp signed the legislation, the Judge overseeing the case against Trump and his allies dropped several charges in the case, though upheld most.

The latest effort to police the state’s prosecutors builds on successful legislation last year (SB 92) that allows Georgia’s Professional Attorneys Qualifications Commission to set its own regulations.

Kemp said this year’s effort finishes “an important process that we started last year with SB 92.”

“This legislation will help us ensure rogue or incompetent prosecutors are held accountable if they refuse to uphold the law,” Kemp said at a bill signing ceremony Wednesday with Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and House Speaker Jon Burns.

He said the legislation is needed to ensure the commission is able to investigate complaints against “rogue prosecutors” who give “criminals a free pass” or who fail “to put them behind bars due to lack of professional conduct.”

“When out of touch prosecutors put politics over public safety, the community suffers and people and property are put at risk,” Kemp said.

Democrats in the state opposed the legislation.

“There are any number of checks that we could have put in place, but instead of taking another risk that there might be another neutral, fair body like the state bar or PAC that would have created rules we don’t like, we just said no rules,” Rep. Stacey Evans said, according to WGXA News.

And Rep. Sam Park, also a Democrat, told the outlet the measure was helping Trump.

“Members of this body, regardless of your political affiliation, we have and we should continue to do everything in our power to improve the lives of Georgians, not find a new and creative way to protect twice impeached former President Donald Trump from a criminal investigation which is what this bill would do,” he said.

Supporters, meanwhile, argue the legislation will allow residents to complain if they suspect prosecutorial misconduct and, perhaps more importantly, allow victims to challenge plea deals if they believe they are too lenient.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. In early 2022, she left the business to serve as Communications Director for St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch. After leaving the administration, Janelle briefly worked as a communications consultant for candidates, businesses and non-profits, before accepting her position as Publisher for Southeast Politics, a homecoming of sorts to her Florida Politics roots, where she served as a reporter and editor for several years. Janelle has also held roles covering the intersection of politics and business for the Tampa Bay Business Journal and general assignment news with an emphasis on social justice and climate change for WMNF Community Radio, where she also hosted a political call-in show under several names, including Last Call, Midpoint and The Scoop. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]

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