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Laws bolster public safety, reduce recidivism
Hill Jack
State Sen. Jack Hill

Several pieces of legislation passed through the Public Safety Committee and the Judiciary Committee which are pro-victim, pro-law enforcement and pro citizen’s rights.

SB 134-An anti-speed trap bill that reduces the percentage of total revenues a local government may receive from speeding fines from
40 percent to 35 percent. Also requires local government to send to the Department of Community Affairs a yearly report on revenues identifying the speeding fines received. Higher speeds citations/fines are now exempted from the report but this bill raises the threshold to 20 mph over the limit.

HB 48-Creates two new prestige license plates: for first responders suffering a major injury in the line of duty and for members of the Georgia Defense Force. Allows issuance of prestige plates for motorcycles.

HB 110-Maybe “public unsafety” describes this bill which legalizes, for 18-year-olds and above, fireworks sales in Georgia in permanent or temporary business locations. On Jan. 1, July 3, 4 and Dec. 31, the bill legalizes the use of fireworks till 2 a.m. but only between 10 a.m. and 12 noon otherwise. Does not keep local governments prohibiting the sale and use of fireworks. Imposes a 5 percent excise tax on fireworks. Constitutional amendment being voted on in 2016 will designate distribution of tax proceeds to: 45 percent, Trauma Commission, 5 percent, burn centers and 5 percent, for local public safety agencies.

HB 147-Allows for two year initial registration of passenger automobiles for $40 fee…continues annually thereafter.

HB 310-Consolidates probation, adult and juvenile, as well as parolee supervision, into a new Department of Community Supervision, establishes a board and the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Reentry. Sets up administrative processes as well as reporting procedures.

HB 17-The “Hidden Predator” act adds to the age that a person may bring legal action against a predator’s actions in earlier years. Changes the age to the age of majority plus five years, or age 23. Would go into effect only with abuse occurring after July 1. Another limit occurs two years after discovery of the abuse and applies to legally incompetent individuals as well. The bill does hold out circumstances when an entity might be liable for the actions of an employee or volunteer. Opens up a period of July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2017 where victims of childhood abuse who are past 23 may reopen claims. Also provides an avenue for victims to access GBI or DFCS records on child sexual abuse even when criminal cases have been closed.

HB 71-Creates new standards for notification of victims by the Pardons and Paroles Board when it reaches decisions. Establishes a requirement the district attorneys be notified when the board considers a pardon for a serious offense or commutation of a death sentence. Requires the board to issue written statements when delivering pardons for serious offenses and commuting death sentences.

HB 328-Implements further adult offender reforms developed by the Criminal Justice Reform Council.

HB 361-Implements further juvenile justice reforms as recommended by the Criminal Justice Reform Council.

Funding aimed at protecting the public and lowering recidivism

• $15.7 million to Corrections to implement the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Reentry and to expand and create educational and training programs to insure inmates transitioning out of prison will have a GED, high school diploma or training so they can qualify for employment and achieve success being tax-paying citizens. Includes diesel mechanics and welding vocational programs, support positions, GED fast track program, creation of charter high schools and substance abuse programs.

• In Juvenile Justice, transfers $1.5 million from secure detention to Community Services for Juvenile Justice Reform initiatives.

• Adds $3.9 million for accountability courts expansion, a transportation pilot with the Department of Corrections and to provide fidelity reviews of mental health providers.

• Includes $1.1 million to expand the Juvenile Incentive Funding Grant program through CJCC.

• Adds $277,000 to the Judicial Council to provide for increased monitoring of misdemeanor probation providers.

• $13.1 million in bonds for the Department of Juvenile Justice for facility repairs, major improvements, security renovations and enhancements and equipment for a converted facility in Terrell County.

• $30.3 million in bonds for the DoC for security improvements in prisons including cell phone interdiction, locking controls perimeter detection major repairs and vehicles.

• $11 million in bond funds for the GBI for design and construction of the Atlanta morgue facility, major repairs statewide, equipment and vehicles.

• And, maybe to prevent future populations in DJJ and DOC facilities, $6 million will renovate existing facilities at Milledgeville for a third YouthChallenge Academy run by the National Guard.

Legislation and final action may be accessed online at and the state budget can be accessed online at the Senate Budget and Evaluation Web site:

I may be reached at
234 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656-5038 (phone)
(404) 657-7094 (fax)
E-mail at