ATLANTA (AP) - The House has elected David Ralston as its new speaker.

The 116-58 vote took place Monday, as the 2010 legislative session kicked off.

The Senate and House each gaveled in a little after 10 a.m. beginning what will be tough 40-day session. Wracked by the recession, the state is expected to suffer through another round of steep budget cuts.

Ralston replaces Glenn Richardson, the first Republican speaker in Georgia since Reconstruction. Richardson stepped down Jan. 1 after a suicide try and allegations of an affair with a lobbyist.

Also Monday, Jan Jones, an Alpharetta Republican, was elected speaker pro tem, making her the highest ranking woman in Georgia legislative history. The vote was 113-61.


(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia's 2010 legislative session begins Monday.

And first up for Georgia lawmakers will be a change of leadership in the House. State Rep. David Ralston, a Blue Ridge Republican, is expected to be elected speaker. And Jan Jones is in line to be speaker pro tem, the first woman to hold the chamber's No. 2 post. The shakeup comes on the wake of Glenn Richardson's resignation as speaker following a suicide try and allegations of an affair with a lobbyist. Richardson was Georgia's first Republican leader since Reconstruction and had led the chamber since the GOP took over in 2005.

Ralston and Jones have been elected by the ruling House GOP caucus. They must be approved by the full House.

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