We have made it past Crossover Day, the first big deadline of the legislative session: any bill that did not pass at least one chamber by the end of the day on Monday, March 8, cannot become law this year. Lawmakers were in session from 10am until 11pm, voting on dozens of bills in the House and the Senate. Bills that survived the deadline will now repeat the legislative process in the opposite chamber: House bills will be assigned to Senate committees and Senate bills will be assigned to House committees. If a bill did not survive the deadline, the bill is technically ineligible for passage this year. However, even bills that are technically dead can be revived if they are attached to an eligible bill. So we’ll be watching closely for the next three weeks as the legislature wraps up this legislative session, which is scheduled to end on March 31. Read on for updates about the legislation SCHR was supporting and opposing on Crossover Day.
Bills We Support
Two bills that SCHR supports were passed by the House of Representatives on Monday!
Repealing Citizen’s Arrest - HB 479 (Sponsor: Rep. Bert Reeves) - The bill to repeal Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law, HB 479, was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives on Monday. You can watch the hearing here. HB 479 completely repeals Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law and allows owners and employees of restaurants, off-duty law enforcement, private security guards, and weight inspectors to briefly detain others in certain limited circumstances.
SCHR is proud of the work, and thankful for the support of our coalition partners, especially the Georgia NAACP and the JUSTGeorgia coalition, who stood with us in centering the truth about this law’s racist history and brutal impacts to hold our state accountable. Learn more about this important achievement here.
HB 479 has now been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction – HB 272 (Sponsor: Rep. Mandi Ballinger) – HB 272 would ensure that most 17-year-olds accused of committing a crime are judged in juvenile court, not superior court. We know that the juvenile justice system is better equipped than the adult system to respond to children’s unique needs and incredible capacity for growth and rehabilitation. With no debate, this bill was passed in a 113-51 bipartisan vote by the House of Representatives on Monday, March 8. This victory – moving Georgia one step closer to treating more kids like kids – is the result of years of work by child advocates in Georgia and legislative champions.
HB 272 is now assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Bills We Oppose
Unfortunately, three harmful bills that SCHR was tracking on Monday have also crossed over:
Increasing Penalties for Illegal Street Racing - SB 10 (Sponsor: Sen. Emanuel Jones) & HB 534 (Sponsor: Rep. Josh Bonner) – Both the Senate and the House passed bills that propose punitive approaches to addressing increased concerns about street racing in the Atlanta area. SB 10 and HB 534, while not identical, create new crimes, increase penalties for existing crimes, and provide for the forfeiture of a vehicle in certain circumstances. SCHR continues to oppose these bills and to advocate that further study of illegal street racing is necessary to develop solutions that will solve the problem and not cause further harm to Black and Brown communities.
SB 10 has been assigned to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, and HB 534 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Mandating Lifetime Probation for Certain Offenses – HB 194 (Sponsor: Rep. Steven Sainz) – The House of Representatives also passed HB 194, a bill that requires that people convicted of certain sex offenses be sentenced to life in prison or a term of years in prison followed by lifetime probation under electronic monitoring. This sentencing scheme is unlikely to deter criminal conduct and denies judicial discretion to make individualized sentencing determinations.
HB 194 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Again, thank you to all our supporters who have made calls to their lawmakers this session. Your opinions matter to lawmakers, and with enough pressure, your action can move good bills through the process, stop bad bills from passing, or push lawmakers to make bad bills a little less harmful. Thanks for your continued commitment! For the next three weeks, legislative committees will continue to debate and revise bills and the Senate and House of Representatives will pass hundreds of bills before session ends on March 31. We’ll be tracking these bills listed here as well as a few dozen others that crossed over earlier this session. Stay tuned to our newsletter and social media for updates and action alerts along the way: follow us on Twitter and Facebook.