bills to Support in 2020 - Georgia criminal legal reform

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Below are bills that are currently pending in the Georgia General Assembly that, if passed, would positively effect communities impacted by criminal legal systems in Georgia. 

Reclassifying and Decriminalizing Minor Offenses

·  HR 47 (Sponsor: Sandra Scott) - Proposes the creation of a House Study Committee on the Decriminalization of Traffic Violations to determine which offenses warrant classification as a misdemeanor offense and which should be downgraded to a civil infraction.

                 

                 STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. 


·  HB 724 (Sponsor: Rep. Matthew Wilson) – Allows counties to adopt ordinances to expand the use of fines as penalties for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. 


                  STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.


·  HB 911 (Sponsor: Rep. Vernon Jones) –  Creates a maximum punishment of a $100.00 fine for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana.  


                  STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.


· SB 10 (Sponsor: Sen. Harold Jones) – Requires that possession of less than two ounces of marijuana constitute a misdemeanor offense punishable by less than one year in prison and that possession of more than two ounces constitute felony possession with intent punishable by 1-10 years in prison.


                    STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Improving Behavioral Health Treatment

· HB 178 (Sponsor: Rep. Don Hogan) - Creates a unit within the Dept. of Behavioral Health which would study the current practices and act as an advisory council to research several issues regarding mental health including providing service and treatment plans.


                         STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Health and Human Services 

                         Committee.


· HB 760 (Sponsor: Rep. Sharon Cooper) - Allows peace officers to transport any person to a physician or psychologist if that person is accused of committing a criminal offense in certain circumstances.


                          STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Public Safety and Homeland 

                          Security Committee.

Improving the Juvenile Justice System

· HB 318/HB 441 (Sponsor: Rep. Roger Bruce) – Creates a "safe care" program within the Juvenile Code that young people can voluntarily enter into for access to drug treatment professionals, social programs, and local and state government agencies.


                              STATUS: Both bills are awaiting committee hearings in the House Juvenile Justice 

                              Committee.

· HB 438 (Sponsor: Rep. Mandi Ballinger) - Eliminates the use of restraints on children while in court with exceptions.


                               STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Juvenile Justice Committee.


· HB 440 (Sponsor: Rep. Mandi Ballinger) – Allows 17-year-olds to have criminal cases resolved in juvenile court.


                                 STATUS: Awaiting hearing and vote by the House Juvenile Justice 

                                 Committee.

Expanding Access to Veterans’ Court

 ·  HB 82 (Sponsor: Rep. Mandi Ballinger) - Allows judges to send people to veterans’ court without the consent of the prosecutor.


                     STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

Addressing Unsafe Jail and Prison Conditions

· HB 714 (Sponsor: Rep. Bee Nguyen) – Restricts the use of solitary confinement for punishment and for vulnerable persons including those with serious mental illness, children, and the people over the age of 65.


                            STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Public Safety and Homeland 

                            Security Committee.

Compensating People Wrongfully Convicted

· HB 172 (Sponsor: Rep. Carolyn Hugley) – Creates a claim advisory board to consider and make recommendations to the General Assembly concerning payment of compensation to those wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.


                       STATUS: Heard in a sub-committee of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee on     

                       February 5, but did not receive a vote.

Restricting the Use of the Death Penalty

· HB 267 (Sponsor: Rep. Billy Mitchell) - Prohibits the death penalty from being imposed in cases where the only evidence of defendant's guilt is the testimony of one eyewitness.


                              STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Judiciary Non-Civil 

                              Committee.


· HB 702 (Sponsor: Rep. Brett Harrell) – Prohibits capital punishment in the state and commutes capital sentences to life without parole.


                               STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Judiciary Non-Civil 

                               Committee.

Regulating Private Prisons

· HB 308 (Sponsor: Rep. Jason Ridley) – Prohibits any agency from entering into a contract with any private entity which would allow the entity to exclusively hold public records which are subject to disclosure.


                                   STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Governmental Affairs 

                                   Committee.


· HB 403 (Sponsor: Rep. Scott Holcomb) – Prohibits any private corporation from operating a detention facility in Georgia.


                                    STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Public Safety and 

                                    Homeland Security Committee.

Improving Reentry

· HB 268 (Sponsor: Rep. Billy Mitchell ) - Allows record restriction for individuals convicted of certain misdemeanors and felonies to petition the court to restrict access to criminal history; also changes to victim’s notification of defendant's motion for new trial or release on bail.


                                STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Judiciary Non-Civil 

                                Committee.

· HB 309 (Sponsor: Gregg Kennard) – Requires automatic record restriction for certain misdemeanors and felonies upon sentence completion.


                                 STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Judiciary Non-Civil 

                                 Committee.


· HB 364 (Sponsor: Rep. William Boddie) – Allows a second opportunity for people to avoid conviction under the Conditional Discharge Act and the First Offender Act if the person benefited from  these laws while under the age of 25.


                                   STATUS: Heard in a sub-committee of the House Judiciary Non-Civil 

                                   Committee on February 5, but did not receive a vote.


· HB 415 (Sponsor: Rep. Gregg Kennard) - Issues personal identification cards to individuals completing a sentence of incarceration.


                                     STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Public Safety and 

                                     Homeland Security Committee.


· HB 528 (Sponsor: Rep. Mandi Ballinger) – Restricts records for individuals convicted of certain misdemeanors with exceptions. 


                                      STATUS: Hearing scheduled in a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Non-

                                      Civil Committee for 2/27 and on the agenda in the full committee on 2/28.                         


· HB 951 (Sponsor: Gregg Kennard – Caps felony probation at 2 years.


                                      STATUS: Awaiting a hearing in the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. 


· SB 11 (Sponsor: Sen. Harold Jones) – Provides that people convicted of felony drug possession offenses shall not constitute felonies involving moral turpitude and shall not have their voting rights restricted.


                                        STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee


· SB 288 (Sponsor: Tonya Anderson) – Allows for the automatic restriction of certain misdemeanors and felony charges and convictions.


                                         STATUS: Heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, 2/26 at 

                                         but did not receive a vote. 


· SB 300 (Sponsor: Sen. Emmanuel Jones) - Establishes a grant program for local governments to conduct voting rights awareness and education.


                                           STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the Senate Government and 

                                           Oversight Committee.


· SB 414 (Sponsor: Sen. Harold Jones) - Excludes 74 offenses, including drug possession, from the list of crimes that disqualify a person from voting in Georgia.


                                            STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Law Enforcement Accountability

·  HB 636 (Sponsor: Rep. Renitta Shannon) – Provides that law enforcement agencies must require officers to report in writing every use of force against any subject and maintain a publicly available database with discipline records.


                               STATUS: Awaiting committee hearing in the House Public Safety and Homeland 

                               Security Committee.


· HB 858 (Sponsor: Rep. Josh McLaurin) - Requires that law enforcement agencies list unclaimed personal property that is for sale for at least four weeks on the agency's website. The notice of sale should include descriptions of the item and should advise potential owners on how to contact the law enforcement agency.  


                                 STATUS: Heard by the Setzler Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee 

                                 on February 20, but did not receive a vote.