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Legislative Update

Today marks Legislative Day 22 in Georgia. With less than two weeks until Crossover Day (the last day for a bill to pass out of the chamber in which it was introduced and move forward for consideration in the opposite chamber) work at the Capitol has picked up significantly. 

Updates to Bills SCHR Opposes 

  • Yesterday, the House Judiciary Non-Civil – Hong Subcommittee heard HB 188. Sponsored by Rep. Steven Sainz, HB 188 would mandate life imprisonment, or a term of imprisonment, followed by lifetime supervision for various sex-related offenses. The bill, which would expand the population of people under carceral control, was held by the subcommittee while a substitute version is drafted. 
  • Thursday, February 16, the Senate passed SB 12, sponsored by Sen. John Albers. SB 12, among other changes, establishes mandatory minimums for subsequent felony convictions where the crime involved abuse of a minor, adult with a disability, or elder person. The bill will now be assigned to a House committee where it must be heard before it can proceed through the legislative process. 
  • Thursday, February 16, the Senate Public Safety Committee passed SB 63, sponsored by Sen. Randy Robertson. This bill would mandate cash bail in many more cases and add domestic terrorism to the list of serious violent felonies, triggering much tougher penalties for that offense. The bill is now available for consideration by the full Senate. We will alert our networks when it is scheduled for a floor vote. 

Other Updates 

  • The Leverett Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee will meet today at 1:30pm in Room 132 of the State Capitol to hear 6 bills, including:
    • HB 126, related to out-of-time motions for new trial or appeals in criminal cases, brought forth by the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 
    • HB 231, creating the Prosecuting Attorneys Oversight Commission 

The full House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee will meet at 3:30 to discuss bills passed by the subcommittee. 

  • Last week, HB 462, sponsored by Rep. Mandi Ballinger, was introduced and assigned to the House Juvenile Justice Committee. This bill would raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds, except for those facing gang charges. SCHR will continue to work with partners to support the passage of legislation that raises the age to 18 without exception.  

Advocacy Days 

Justice Day at the Capitol 2023: Justice Reform Makes Dollars and Sense – Join the Justice Reform Partnership to remind legislators how they can strengthen communities and Georgia’s economy through positive reforms! Speakers will provide information about problems and opportunities for improvements in Georgia’s criminal legal system, and provide solutions and concrete ways to take action. There will also be networking opportunities, a chance to engage lawmakers, hands-on learning opportunities, and ways to support people who are incarcerated. Register here in advance!