William Burton Jones is an American politician and businessman who currently serves as the 13th lieutenant governor of Georgia. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a member of the Georgia State Senate from January 2013 to January 2023, representing the 25th District.
Jones was elected a member of the state Senate in 2012, and he took office in 2013. During his time in the state Senate, Jones served as the Chairman of the Insurance and Labor Committee and as a member of the Appropriations and Transportation Committees. While a member, Jones voted to establish a flat income tax rate, prohibit teaching about systemic racism in schools, and he co-sponsored legislation to allow biblical classes to be taught in high schools.
Attempt to overturn 2020 presidential election results
While some Georgia Republicans acknowledged Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election, Jones denied the election results and promoted Trump's false claims of election irregularities. In December 2020, Jones was one of four state Senate Republicans who signed a petition calling on the Georgia General Assembly to overrule the outcome of democratic elections within the state and "take back the power to appoint electors." The petition called on Governor Brian Kemp to convene a special session of the legislature to award Georgia's 16 electors to Trump, who narrowly lost the state. Kemp denied the request.
On January 5, 2021, hours before the U.S. Senate certified the electoral votes from the 2020 election, Jones brought a letter signed by himself and 16 other State Legislators attempting to delay the certification While Jones had a private audience with Vice President Mike Pence that evening he decided against delivering the letter instead leaving it with his Uber driver.
On January 19, 2021, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan stripped Jones of his chairmanship and membership of the state Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. Over a series of months in 2021, Jones continued to question the results of the presidential election in Georgia. In July 2021, Jones was featured at a pro-Trump convention in Rome, Georgia, centering on Trump's false claims of election fraud.
In January 2022, the Justice Department began a criminal investigation into Jones' as one of the false electors who attempted to forge electoral certificates for the State of Georgia after the 2020 election. In July 2022, Fulton County, Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis announced that she had sent a target letter to Jones and two other Republican officials, warning them that they face indictment in connection with the fake electors scheme, which was part of the attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election.
On August 14, 2023, Jones was named as unindicted co-conspirator #8 as part of the Fulton County, Georgia indictment against Donald Trump and 18 others in connection with efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Butts County Water & Sewage Authority
Jones served as a member of the board of directors of the Butts County Water and Sewage Authority from 2009-2021. Following Jones' departure, his father, Bill Jones, took his spot on the board of directors. While a board member, he voted to raise water and sewer rates.
Campaign for lieutenant governor
Jones announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in August 2021. During his campaign, Jones continued to cast doubt on the validity of the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump endorsed Jones. Jones voiced support for same-sex marriage during his campaign.
In 2022, the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission fined Jones $1,000 for filming and tweeting a campaign video the previous year before filing the paperwork necessary to accept campaign contributions and make campaign consent orders. The Commission's consent order said that Jones' campaign had accepted responsibility for the error. Between February and May 2022, Jones used his family's private aircraft to travel to campaign events, without reporting the flights' costs as expenses and in-kind contributions on disclosure forms; Jones' campaign said that he intended to report the costs as a single line item after the primary election was over, although Georgia law requires expenses and contributions to be disclosed as they are made.
In the May 2022 Republican primary, Jones defeated Butch Miller, with Jones receiving 50.1% of the vote, Miller 31.1%, Mack McGregor 11.3%, and Jeanne Seaver 7.5%. Obtaining a majority, he narrowly avoided a runoff election. Of Georgia's 159 counties, Jones received the most votes in 153 counties, and Miller received the most votes in six counties. He went on to defeat Democratic nominee Charlie Bailey in the November 8th general election, by 5%. Jones was sworn in on January 9, 2023.
Following his swearing in, Jones laid out his legislative agenda for the 2023 session. Included was seeking out extra funding for K-12 school counselors, eliminating the state income tax, and no further restrictions on abortion following the 2019 law. During the 2023 state budget negotiations, Jones pushed for a new hospital regulations that would allow counties with fewer than 50,000 residents "to build hospitals without first obtaining a costly “certificate of need” from state regulators." One such hospital was potentially going to be built in Jackson County, Jones' hometown, on land owned by Bill Jones, Burt's father. Ultimately the provision was not included, and the state budget passed the state Senate on March 29, 2023. Jones stated his opposition to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs within the state college program in a letter to Sonny Perdue, Chancellor of the University System of Georgia. Jones' words came in response to a $66 million dollar slate of cuts to the state college program as part of the 2023 budget that Purdue felt as harmful.