We The People – February 17, 2017
2017 General Assembly Calendar
On Friday, February 17, the Georgia General Assembly will be halfway through its 40 day session. Next week, the General Assembly will return on Tuesday, February 21 and continue until Friday, February 24.
Crossover Day, scheduled for March 3, is the last day for a piece of legislation to transfer from the chamber in which it was introduced to the other chamber for consideration. While there are other legislative procedures that can be employed to pass legislation after this date, Crossover Day is very important to determining which bills are ultimately able to pass the General Assembly and become law.
Rep. Alan Powell (R – Hartwell) has proposed HB 324 which amends O.C.G.A. § 40-5-21.1 and targets immigrants by adding the requirement that the term “‘noncitizen’ be included on temporary licenses, permits, special identification cards, foreign licenses or identification cards as evidence of legal presence in the United States.” The Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) currently issues a different and distinct driver’s license to non-citizens that includes the words “limited term.”
The ACLU of Georgia believes this is an unnecessary and discriminatory piece of legislation. The bill is currently in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. We will continue to monitor and update you on this proposed legislation.
On February 10, 2017, HB 75 passed the State House 173 to zero. Proposed by House Judiciary Chairman Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs), this legislation amends O.C.G.A. § 49-5-41 to protect certain records that are under the control of the Department of Human Services and Department of Family and Children Services from being disclosed. The purpose behind this bill is to protect the privacy of individuals whose records could be petitioned under open records laws from law enforcement or other public entities in any pending investigation or prosecution of criminal activity regarding child abuse. The bill is now in the Senate and waiting to be assigned to committee.
The ACLU of Georgia supports HB 75 because it strengthens privacy protections for Georgians.
Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia) proposed SB 130, which would amend O.C.G.A. § 15-11-103(g) by making the provisions to waive your right counsel more specific. Under this bill, section (g) would read:
A party other than a child shall be informed of his or her right to an attorney prior to any hearing. A party other than a child shall be given an opportunity to:
(1) Obtain and employ an attorney of such party’s own choice;
(2) Obtain a court appointed attorney if the court determines that such party is an indigent person; or
(3) Waive the right to an attorney, provided that such waiver is made knowingly, voluntarily, and on the record.
ACLU of Georgia supports this bill because it would help ensure individuals who waive their right to an attorney do so knowingly and voluntarily.