Lawmakers in both chambers gathered Wednesday to hear the Georgia Supreme Court’s annual State of the Judiciary address.  

Chief Justice Michael Boggs led the line of Supreme Court justices into the joint floor session today, where he spoke about the state of the state’s judiciary system, and thanked those who contribute to it. 

“All of the people who make our judicial system work, thank you on behalf of all the judges of this state,” Boggs said. 

While he praised their efforts and said the state of the judiciary was strong in general, the rest of his message was a bit more cautionary.  

 “Across our state, there are deficits in the numbers of court reporters, prosecutors and public defenders, court staff, and even sheriff’s deputies,” Chief Justice Boggs said. “Just as it is critical to have enough doctors, nurses, and teachers to adequately deliver health care and education services to our citizens, so, too, must Georgia have enough law enforcement and public safety officers, lawyers, and court staff professionals to effectively and efficiently keep the wheels of justice turning.”

Boggs said that increased funding, as well as higher salaries —in all aspects of the legal system—will be needed to have a healthy, functioning court system in the future.  

 “Today’s rate of pay is not as competitive as the salaries offered by the courts in the ’80s and ’90s, and this compensation landscape adds another layer of difficulty to our efforts to attract and retain top-tier talent,” he said. “And we must reckon with the fact that this trend depletes our pool of seasoned legal professionals and necessitates time-consuming recruitment and training efforts for their replacements. “

The inability to retain and train new court reporters could be a major problem, he said.

“Fewer new reporters are going through the process to become licensed, meaning there won’t be new ranks to replace the outgoing ones,” Boggs added.” And without enough court reporters to meet the demand, trials and other proceedings will slow once again.” 

He also spoke of the growing threat of violence directed at judges. 

“Over the last few years, there have been several alarming attacks on judges in the U.S. that have made national news,” he said. “No doubt, these attacks and threats are meant to intimidate and influence courts away from serving as fair and impartial arbiters of justice.”

The Chief Justice spoke of some recommendations that could make legal professionals safer. 

“For example, proposed legislation to require state and local governments to keep confidential the personal identifying information of judges – a proposal already passed or in the works in 31 other states and a protection that could easily be expanded to cover other elected officials,” Boggs said. “The committee work also includes training that Director Chris Wigginton and his staff at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center have developed along with representatives from all classes of courts.”

Chief Justice Boggs discussed the growing legal deserts in certain parts of the state and some provisions made to counter the problem. 

“I’m proud to announce that last fall, my colleagues and I voted to revise the rules governing provisional admission to the practice of law, which included for the first time a process for spouses of active-duty service members,” he said. “This new provisional admission will offer them greater certainty and save them considerable time and cost as they continue their legal careers.”

And he warned about the increasing use and effects of A.I. on the legal system….and needed improvements in I.T. security. 

But it wasn’t all bad news. 

 “Judicial circuits across Georgia are now reporting an average 11 percent decrease in pending serious violent felony cases, the Chief Justice said. “This is significant progress— particularly given the growth of other ongoing and interwoven challenges affecting our judges’ efforts to move dockets.”


Speaker Burns along with Lt. Gov. Jones and other Republican legislators spoke today at a press conference about upcoming changes they’re going to make to tax exemptions affecting teachers, technology, and the film industry.

Also today, the Georgia House gave its approval to the mid-year budget.  

The budget adds five billion dollars to the original fiscal year 2024 budget.  

The extra money will be used for infrastructure improvement, prison funding, mental health support, and other priorities.  

And the house passed a bill that would allow the opioid reversal drug Narcan to be available in vending machines.  

At a press conference this afternoon, Republican leaders in both the house and senate announced changes to the state’s tax credit programs.  

Speaker Jon Burns  said tax credits for high-tech data storage will sunset.  

Leaders also announced new requirements to qualify for the Georgia Film Tax Credit. 

Tomorrow is the first annual Mental Health Parity Day at the state capitol. The Carter Center is hosting the event on day seventeen under the gold dome.  

Join host Donna Lowry and capitol reporter Sarah Kallis at 7 p.m. on GPB-TV for the 54th season of GPB's Lawmakers.