Gwinnett County

Judge agrees to have emergency hearing over Mulberry cityhood vote before May 21 election

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County judge has agreed to hold an emergency hearing over the vote to make Mulberry a fully-fledged city.

Judge Tadia Whitner set an emergency hearing for Thursday afternoon in Gwinnett County Superior Court for an emergency motion filed by resident Stephen Hughes.

As Channel 2 Action News previously reported, Hughes is contesting the Mulberry cityhood referendum on grounds that the bill authorizing it from the legislature is unconstitutional, citing among other features the city’s purposeful inability to collect taxes.

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According to an attorney for Hughes, the bill authorizing Mulberry to incorporate as a city, Senate Bill 333, “misled” voters about how the city would work.

“Senate Bill 333 (2024) (”SB 333″) is facially unconstitutional, and the voters are being misled about the charter for the proposed City of Mulberry,” Allen Lightcap, Hughes’ attorney, wrote in a statement. “The very features of the proposed city being touted to the voters—like the restrictions on taxation—are the same features that are inarguably unconstitutional according to Supreme Court of Georgia precedent and the plain text of the Georgia Constitution. The voters are being sold a bill of goods, and only this Court can stop a fraud from being perpetrated.”

The vote to fully incorporate Mulberry is set to go forward as a referendum on May 21, unless a judge blocks it from moving forward.

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