Laws are by their nature legal documents with, as we read it, complicated legal language. They are drafted that way, upheld in that form or changed in the courts, all with legal language. When many bills are presented to the House or Senate, their technical nature makes them a natural to be assigned to one of the two Judiciary Committees.
The main Judicial Committee in the Senate is the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Jesse Stone of Waynesboro and the other committee is the Senate Special Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Jen Jordan, now of Atlanta, but a middle Georgia native.
Between these two committees, more legislation is assigned and passed out than any other two committees. Sometimes, a bill is simply an update bill that brings the code up to date with passed legislation or court cases or in some cases federal legislation.
So, reviewing these bills may seem uninteresting or have little application to Fourth District citizens. But, there is always the chance that a citizen has an intense interest in an area of the law, or it affects their business or they are unaware that a change has been made in something that is important to them.
So, we won’t give too much explanation, but give the number, title and as much of the purpose as possible and leave it up to you to pursue any legislation where you have an interest.
Judiciary legislation passed in 2019
➤ SB 9 — Creates the crime of “sexual extortion which involves intentionally coercing another person orally or in writing to distribute any photograph, video or image involving nudity a sexually explicit act.
The bill also makes significant changes related to criminal sexual assault in either the first or second degree. Involves crimes against students, hospital patient detainees those in correctional custody, in therapy or admitted for care where the accused is employed.
➤ SB 52 — Updates grammar, terminology and punctuation in a large number of code sections including Title 2,7,10, 12, 13,15,19,20, 26, 27, 29, 32, 33,36, 38,40,42,43,44,45,46,48,49,50,53 and 54. Most changes are punctuation or a word or short phrase. Incorporates changes brought by the Code Revision Commission.
➤ SB 135 — Various changes to Code Sections affecting Workers Compensation. Exempts post 2013 injuries from being classified “catastrophic” from the 400 week maximum benefits period. Include certain services as well. Also raises caps on benefits and revises Code sections related to appointment of directors emeritus and administrative law judges emeritus.
➤ SB 154 — Adds to list of powers of Georgia Coroner’s Training Council to review complaints to consider the removal of coroner from their position.
➤ SB 167 — Has to do with the court’s determination of DFCS efforts to reasonably reunify or preserve families.
➤ SB 190-Amends the Child Custody Intrastate Jurisdiction Act and provides definitions for “legal custody” and “physical custody.”
➤ HB 79 — Adds new rights for blind families in dealing with child -placing agencies. Allows a judge to consider other factors and act in the best interests of the child without the blind family being disqualified.
➤ HB 118 — Changes current law to create the offense of “Making an unlawful request for emergency services assistance.”
➤ HB 288 — Revises and combines fees charged by the clerk of Superior Court.
➤ HB 307 — Amends Title 40 dealing with abandoned vehicles and creates a new Article 1A: “The Abandoned Motor Vehicle Act.” This section creates “a comprehensive and streamlined process for businesses removing motor vehicles form public rights of way or public or private property to recover the costs associated with this work...”
➤ HB 353 — Creates crimes related to staging a motor Vehicle Collision with the intent of committing insurance fraud.
➤ HB 381 — Amends the guidelines for determining child support guidelines from Title 19. Edits and removes phrases.
➤ HB 424 — Revises the battery statute against the elderly and strengthens the penalties for trafficking a person for labor servitude. Also revises the Rape Shield Statute on when a person’s sexual history is admissible. New Child Hearsay Statute.
➤ HB 470 — Differentiates when an oral swab for DNA can be taken after a felony arrest but not allowed for a misdemeanor. Allows for the expungement from the data bank in certain conditions.
➤ HB 472 — Relating to Foster care and alternative placement, revises the definition of “fictive kin” and adds the term “temporary alternatives to foster care.”
➤ HB 478 — Raises the age a person can be reported on the child abuse registry from 13 years to 18. Also clarifies when an abuser is placed on the registry.
➤ HB 543 — Creates a new code section authorizing the court to declare a person to be an “equitable care giver” for a child.