Sen. Jeff Mullis, the Rules Committee chair known among colleagues for his sense of humor, is retiring from public office after 22 years. His announcement that he will not run for reelection surprised many lawmakers, and the Senate commended him through a resolution Tuesday.
The senators simultaneously thanked Mullis, the Senate’s longest serving Republican, for his friendship and teased him for his infamously mischievous nature.
“He cuts up a good bit, but we need it,” Republican Sen. Larry Walker III from Perry said. “He’s really a legend.”
As chair of the Senate Rules Committee, Mullis exercises a lot of control over what bills go on the Senate’s agenda for a vote. But senators from both parties were among the 22 speakers who took the floor to compliment him on his handling of the post he has held since 2013.
“Sometimes we are very partisan, but friendship is something that we can always have in this chamber,” said Democratic Sen. Lester Jackon of Savannah. “Jeff has been a friend to everyone in this chamber.”
“Everything he told each and every one of us, from day one, was ‘Take this job serious; just don’t take yourself serious,’” said Sen. Matt Brass of Newnan.
After the parade of well-wishers, Mullis briefly responded with: “God bless you, and I’ll be back.”
As an economic developer in northwest Georgia, Mullis has sponsored legislation aimed at supporting Georgia businesses, including a law passed in 2019 that allows business and individual property owners to prepay their taxes. He also sponsored a law in 2013 that allows the restoration of barns as tourist destinations. A former firefighter, he has presented bills dealing with first responders wearing his volunteer firefighter’s helmet and sponsored a law that channels fireworks sales taxes toward trauma care and fire services.
This session, Mullis sponsored a few controversial bills that failed to advance – one supporting Buckhead cityhood and another supporting horse race betting, which he presented wearing a jockey’s helmet around the Capitol. He also drafted legislation to ban mask and vaccine mandates.
Two Republicans, Steven Henry and Colton Moore, have qualified to run for his seat in the 53rd district, representing Chattooga, Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia.