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09 December 2008

DeKalb Lawmaker Wants Certain County Offices To Be Nonpartisan

With about a month to go until the 2009 legislative session kicks off, state Representative Kevin Levitas (D - Atlanta) has been busy pre-filing nearly two dozen bills including one that would make certain county offices nonpartisan.

The legislation, House Bill 14, changes Georgia's election code to read, "The office of sheriff, the office of district attorney, and the office of solicitor general shall be filled by election in nonpartisan elections."

In a telephone interview Monday, Levitas said he believed there was no need for partisanship in offices whose sole responsibility is to follow the laws on the books.

According to the Georgia Sheriff's Association, the sheriff serves as the chief law enforcement officer for a county, operates the county jails and maintains the safety and security of the court. The Georgia Sheriff's Association says that Democrats hold the sheriff's office in 100 of the state's 159 counties.

The Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia says that both the district attorneys and the solicitors-general represent the State of Georgia in prosecuting criminal cases before State Courts and Superior Courts.

Levitas admitted that there would be difficulty in passing a bill changing a partisan office to a nonpartisan one, but he also said that legislators from both sides of the aisle had expressed an interest in co-sponsoring his measure.