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Sex offender rules toughened
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As the 2008 legislative session continues, legislation is beginning to move through committees and to the floor of the House for a full vote. This past week, we voted for tougher penalties in dog fighting cases, new living restrictions for convicted sex offenders, greater 2nd Amendment freedoms and new measures to protect consumers’ identity.

Dog fighting has been a hot news item lately and in Georgia, our laws have been too lenient on those parties involved in this brutal and inhumane activity. That is why I supported the passage of House Bill 301 adding further criminal penalties for those individuals transporting dogs for fights, owning or selling dogs to fight, betting on dog fights, or attending dog fights. It is important to note that while this bill is aimed at those who maliciously participate in dog fighting, this legislation will not have any impact on hunters or those who train dogs to hunt.

Protecting our children continues to be of great concern to me and that is why I supported the passage of House Bill 908. You may recall that in recent years we have passed legislation restricting where convicted sex offenders can live in relation to areas where our minor children hang out.

This year, we have expanded that restriction to include public libraries and also added a 1,000-foot restriction on places where convicted sex offenders can volunteer. As a father, I will continue to support measures that provide greater protections for our children.

Last year, we passed a bill expanding the 2nd Amendment rights of our citizens to allow licensed gun owners with a permit to carry a concealed weapon to carry their guns anywhere in their vehicle. That measure went to the Senate, where it stalled. That measure has now come back to the House and we have adopted an amended version that also allows those same gun owners to carry their concealed weapons in parks, historic sites, and recreational areas. I do want to point out that this measure only applies to those individuals who are licensed by the state to carry a concealed weapon.

In this age of identity theft, providing consumers the tools necessary to protect their credit is important. I fully support House Bill 130 that allows consumers to put a “freeze” on their credit report. With this freeze in place, would be identity thieves are unable to receive credit in the consumer’s name. I hope that once this legislation is signed by the governor, every Georgian takes advantage of this simple protective measure.

I will continue to keep you up to date on our actions as the legislative session progresses.  

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at my Capitol office at (404) 656-0213.