Defending Civil Liberties in the 2017 Legislative Session
By Andrea Young , Executive Director
April 5, 2017
The 2017 legislative session ended after midnight on Thursday, and we were there until the bitter end — fighting for the Constitution and for the civil rights of all Georgians.
In fact, the ACLU of Georgia was a constant presence in the Capitol throughout the session, and with your help we won some important victories:
- Working in partnership with Georgia Equality and others, we stopped legislation that would have condoned discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.
- We joined with civil rights groups to oppose a partisan gerrymandering bill that would have weakened the voting power of minority communities.
- And we stood shoulder-to-shoulder with sexual assault survivors to speak out against a bill that would have protected sexual predators on college campuses.
Your calls, letters and visits with legislators made a difference. Thanks to you, no anti-LGBT “religious freedom” legislation was passed, attempts to rig our legislative district maps were stopped, and colleges will still be able to investigate and punish those who commit sexual assault.
However, despite our efforts, legislators managed to sneak through several harmful bills in the waning hours of session and we need your help to make sure they do not become law.
- HB 452 is an anti-immigrant and anti-protest bill that would require the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to post on the internet the information of undocumented foreign nationals released from federal custody within Georgia. HB 452 also includes language under which protesters could potentially be charged as terrorists.
- HB 37 would ban private colleges and universities from adopting pro-immigrant “sanctuary” policies and threaten them with a loss of funding unless they cooperate with Trump’s deportation force.
- HB 268 would threaten voting rights by removing voters from the rolls due to small discrepancies on their registration forms. This “exact match” requirement would have a disproportionate impact on minority voters as well as women who have changed their names due to marriage or divorce.
The governor has 40 days to sign or veto these measures. Take action to protect the rights of all Georgians by telling Governor Deal to veto HB 452, HB 37 and HB 268. The 2017 legislative session is over but the fight continues!