2019-03-13 / Other News

Meaningful bills passed during ‘Crossover Day’

House News
Representative Gerald Greene

Last week was certainly our busiest week yet as the General Assembly reached “Crossover Day” — the last day for bills to pass out of the legislative chamber they originated.

Crossover Day is one of the longest days of the session, and we worked into the night to pass meaningful and significant House bills to send to the Senate.

The House passed bipartisan House Bill 426 that would create penalties for anyone convicted of a crime committed because of the race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability or physical disability of a person or group.

Individuals convicted of hate crimes that are of a high and aggravated nature would face six to 12 months of jail time, along with a $5,000 fine, and offenders of a felony hate crime would face a minimum two years in prison.

Georgia is one of only five states that does not have a law to protect its citizens from hate crimes, and this bill would bring our state in line with the 45 other states that have enacted similar legislation.

In an effort to eradicate human trafficking and help victims of this grievous crime, we unanimously passed the Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act, House Bill 234, which would provide treatment for human trafficking victims through streamlined process involving the Division of Family and Children Services.

This bill would authorize DFCS to provide immediate emergency care and supervision for a child human trafficking victim without a court order or consent of the parents or legal guardian.

HB 234 would also direct DFCS and law enforcement to take the child to a victim services organization certified by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

The bill would protect minors by prohibiting victims under 18 from being prosecuted for prostitution.

HB 234 would also give local authorities the ability to seek civil penalties against the owner or operator of any building that has benefitted from human trafficking activity. The bill would permit property owners or operators to aid law enforcement in the investigation of criminal sexual-related conduct.

Now that we have completed Crossover Day, we will spend the remainder of the session in committee meetings and on the House floor to consider Senate bills.

I hope you will reach out to me with any questions or comment you may have about bills that may be up for consideration during these final weeks. You can reach me at my capitol office at 404-656- 5105. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.

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