Thursday of this week will mark the end of the 2017 session of the Georgia Legislature. There are many bills left to consider, including HB 430 which I introduced. HB 430 passed out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously and will hopefully be voted on by the full Senate on Tuesday. Here is an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about it.
Here are a few measures of note that also passed this week:
SB 219 would let Georgians operate fully autonomous vehicles without the presence of a human driver. In order to operate, the vehicles would be required to have an engaged automated driving system that would obey all traffic laws and would have to be certified by the manufacture that the vehicle complies with federal motor vehicle safety standards, covered by motor vehicle liability coverage and registered as a fully autonomous vehicle. Further, in the event of vehicle failure, the vehicle would be required to have the ability to achieve a low-risk operating mode to bring the vehicle to a reasonably safe state or a complete stop, and in the event of an accident, the autonomous vehicle would have to remain on the scene while the vehicle’s operator reports it to local law enforcement officers
Throughout his time in office, Governor Deal has made it his mission to transform Georgia’s criminal justice system, giving offenders a second chance, saving taxpayers money and enhancing public safety in Georgia. To further expand upon these reforms, the House overwhelmingly passed three criminal justice reform bills this week: Senate Bill 174, Senate Bill 175 and Senate Bill 176. SB 174 would allow the Council of Accountability Court Judges to establish a peer review and certification process to guarantee that veteran court divisions are following the council’s standards and are adhering to the same policies, procedures and standards of other accountability courts in Georgia. This would ensure continuity across accountability courts in the state, which have proved to be viable alternatives to adult incarceration for criminal offenders. SB 174 would also allow the Board of Community Supervision to offer educational, skills-based programs for probationers to encourage employment and successful reentry into society. Additionally, SB 174 would give judges the ability to require fines, fees or restitution payments as a probation condition with the option to waive the payment if the court finds a significant hardship. This measure would also allow the Department of Community Supervision to terminate probation if the probationer has served three years, paid all restitution owed, has not had their probation revoked and has not been arrested for anything other than a non-serious traffic offense. SB 175 would allow juvenile court judges to issue parental compliance orders in cases involving a delinquent child in order to promote the child’s rehabilitation and welfare and encourage parental involvement. SB 175 would also expand a court’s options when determining how to proceed in cases involving a child that has been deemed incompetent but has committed a crime. Currently, these children are released within five days of an incompetent determination, regardless of the threat the child poses to the public, but under SB 175, a court would be allowed to temporarily detain these juveniles who pose a threat to public safety. Finally, SB 176 would offer a lower cost alternative to arrest and incarceration when an individual fails to appear in court for a non-serious traffic violation. Under SB 176, an individual who commits a minor traffic violation would be issued a traffic citation, and the officer would then release the individual for further appearance before the proper judicial officer. If the individual fails to appear for court, the court would notify the accused a second time by mail before issuing a bench warrant, giving the individual 30 days to dispose of the charge or waive arraign and plead not guilty. These landmark criminal justice reforms have been nationally recognized and emulated in other states across the country, and these measures will continue to build upon Governor Deal’s efforts in promoting rehabilitation and productive citizenry and enhance Georgia’s already remarkable criminal justice reform legacy.
We'll be back in session Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week. As always, you can watch the sessions live and all House committee meetings from the comfort of your home or office.
As I did during last session, I record a quick video update each day we are in Session, You can join us live on my Facebook page. Here are last week's videos: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK:
Falcons' receiver Julio Jones came to the Capitol, hosted by fellow Gwinnettian David Clark of Buford..
As always, you can contact me at my Capitol office at 404-656-0188 or via email. You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or via my website.
I look forward to serving you in the Legislature for the next two years. As I tell people, I get to wake up everyday and try to make Georgia a better place. It's a great job and I'm grateful you folks trust me to represent our community.
Representative, State House District 102
504-B Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334