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Sen. Don Balfour suspended from office

Sen. Don Balfour

Sen. Don Balfour

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Sen. Don Balfour was arrested on charges, including theft by taking and making false statements.

Embattled state Sen. Don Balfour has been suspended from office.

The Republican from Snellville is facing an indictment on several charges, including theft by taking, involving requests for per diem from the state on days when lobbyists’ reports show he was out of town.

A review panel including leaders in the General Assembly unanimously approved his suspension Wednesday, which was carried out by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Just minutes before, the Senate Committee on Assignments removed him as the chairman of the Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee, as vice-chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, and as an ex-officio member of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.

The president of the Senate also removed Senator Balfour from the Senate State Fair Tax Study Committee.

Before the General Assembly session earlier this year, Balfour was removed as chairman of the Rules Committee, a very powerful position. While he was given the redistricting title, the committee has a very minimal role after new district lines are drawn after a Census count.

And later, the Republican Senate leadership issued a letter saying he was suspended from the majority caucus, based on the panel’s decision that Balfour’s indictment directly applies to his service.

Last year, the Senate Ethics Committee held hearings on the same infractions, and Balfour was fined. He also has repaid the money in question, calling the move a paperwork error.

Balfour did not return a request for comment.

MOBILE USERS: Click here to view the Don Balfour report and suspension order.