Rep. Richard Smith (House.GA.gov)

ATLANTA (AP) - 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.

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