Georgia bills ‘crossover’ in half of legislation |  local news

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers worked into the night Tuesday to present bills — including some controversial measures — from their chambers to meet the Crossover Day deadline.

Prior to Tuesday’s deadline, several key bills had already been passed in their respective chambers, including bills banning the teaching of certain race-related topics in schools, banning transgender children from playing school sports on a gender-matched team, and the mailing to ban abortion pills.

Legislatures had until midnight to approve proposals to be considered in this legislative session and ultimately by Gov. Brian Kemp for possible Senate or House approval.

Other bills approved in a chamber before Crossover Day would remove the license requirement for someone to carry a concealed weapon; regulate what content social media sites of Georgian users can censor; implement a nationwide mental health reform plan; and suspend gas taxes until May 31.

The following actions were pushed ahead on Tuesday:

HB 1464: Adds procedural requirements for poll workers, engages GBI to investigate

The House spent more than an hour debating HB 1464 Tuesday night before arriving at a 98-73 vote in favor of the bill.

The bill would allow people to inspect paper ballots after an election at a rate set by local clerks and give the GBI the power to investigate elections, which is currently being done by the state Elections Commission.

Only the state electoral commission would have the authority to accept donations or grants to local electoral boards and determine how those funds were distributed locally.

Administratively, the proposal would require any poll worker who touches security paper used to print ballots and boxes of completed ballots to log each time they come in contact with the boxes.

The proposal comes after Georgia approved sweeping electoral changes last year through the Republican-led SB 202.

HR 626: Invoice to indemnify Kerry Robinson who was wrongly convicted

Robinson was cleared of the rape in 2020 after DNA analysis proved his innocence in a case in which three men broke into a home in Moultrie and raped a woman.

The proposal to indemnify Robinson, HR 626, was approved at House 157-6. The resolution calls for Robinson to receive $551,000 in compensation and states that as a result of being imprisoned for more than 17 years for a rape, he suffered “loss of liberty, physical injury, loss of wages, damage to reputation, emotional distress and other harm “. not committed.

“The prosecution is carried out on behalf of the state. The name of the case is always “State v. …” It is the Department of Corrections and federal dollars that put people in prison. So I’m going to submit to you, it has to be federal dollars going towards compensation,” said Atlanta Democratic Rep. Scott Holcomb, who sponsored the bill.

HB 1354: “Wrongful Conviction Compensation Act” to pay those wrongly convicted

By a vote of 157 to 11, the House of Representatives voted to advance legislation that sets standards for compensating people exonerated of a crime in Georgia, which is one of nearly a dozen states that lack such standards. Currently, an indemnity officer can lobby a state legislature to encourage a private settlement, which is often a lengthy and inconsistent process if compensation is approved at all.

The Wrongful Conviction Compensation Act, House Bill 1354, defines exonerated as a conviction set aside or vacated; dismissal of the indictment or indictment or Nolle proceeding following a retrial; someone acquitted after a retrial; or someone who has been pardoned for reasons of innocence.

Holcomb’s proposal allows a panel to recommend $100,000 a year incarceration, but no less than $50,000 a year over a period of time; Dollar amounts are to be adjusted annually for inflation.

“This legislation would establish a consistent and fair system to compensate freedmen and give them access to things like stable housing and health care to facilitate their reintegration into society – often after decades lost to wrongful conviction,” said Clare Gilbert, executive director of the Georgia Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to correcting and preventing false convictions in Georgia.

SB 171: Increased penalties for offenses committed at “gatherings” of two or more people

SB 171 increases penalties for inciting a riot or intimidating a mob, vandalizing private and government property, attacking first responders, and blocking a freeway for unlawful gatherings of two or more people.

Penalties can range from one to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Requires cities/counties to create a permitting process for assemblies that must be approved by the permitting agency within three days.

The law, passed in Senate 31-21, makes cities or counties civilly liable for any injury, death, or damage caused by insufficient protection by law enforcement during a riot or unlawful gathering.

HR 842: Double Pay State Legislatures

The bill calls for a constitutional amendment, to be presented to voters in November, to increase lawmakers’ salaries from just over $17,000 annually to 60% of the median household income of Georgia residents.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Wes Cantrell of Woodstock, said the proposal would increase lawmakers’ salaries to more than $35,000 annually starting July 1, 2023. The measure passed 136-33.

SB 502: Requires cash bail for felonies

In a party-line vote, senators voted 30-22 on SB 502, which would require cash bail for someone charged with a felony. Current laws list certain crimes (both felonies and misdemeanors) that would require cash bail.

SB 468: Death by suicide considered death on duty by public safety officers

48-3 passed, SB 468 would consider a public safety officer’s death by suicide to have occurred on duty if the death occurred within 30 days of his last day of duty.

This would allow the surviving spouse, dependent or caregiver to receive death benefits from the Settlement Fund.

“We need to make sure we have policies in place so people don’t die by suicide, but we also need to have policies in place to ensure their family members are cared for in the event of such a tragic death,” said Democratic Senator Kim Jackson of Stone Mountain. the sponsor of the bill.

SR 623: Increases the term of office of state senators

The proposal would increase the term limit for senators from two years to four years, with terms beginning on January 1, 2025. The proposal would be put before voters in November this year.

Senators approved Measure 49-3.

The House of Representatives also currently has a two-year term.