COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — The South Carolina House of Representatives elected a new Speaker Thursday morning.

Rep. G. Murrell Smith, Jr. (R-Sumter) was nominated and elected by fellow House members to take over as House Speaker at the end of the regular session.

Smith is an attorney from Sumter and became a member of the House in 2001. Since 2018, he’s served as the chairman of the House’s Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for putting together the House’s budget plan.

The Speaker of the House oversees House debates, signs all legislation authorized by the House, assigns House members to committees and can call House members back to Columbia for special sessions.

Current Speaker of the House Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) will be resigning on May 12. He has announced he will not be running for re-election.

In a statement, Lucas wrote, “The role of House Speaker is a great honor and a great responsibility that carries with it a distinguished history. I have had the personal privilege of working closely with Murrell over the past 22 years, and I have learned a great deal about his character and skill. I have seen the dedication he gives, not only to our state and to this Body, but to each and every member seated in this Chamber today. I know Murrell is the right person to lead the House and guide it on the best course for our beloved state.”

Speaker-elect Smith will take over as House Speaker at 5:01 p.m. on May 12.