Senate Oks Sweeping Proposal On Criminal Reform In GA

With strong bipartisan support, the Georgia Senate has approved the proposed overhaul of Georgia’s criminal justice system.

The Senate voted 51-0 Tuesday in favor of the legislation — which also has the approval of major stakeholders, including Gov. Nathan Deal — with some tweaks. The House must now approve those changes before the bill heads to Deal for his signature.

The governor has touted criminal justice reform as a move that will save tax dollars, improve the state’s rehabilitation rate and keep Georgians safe. The bill also raised the monetary threshold for most theft crimes, divided burglaries into three categories, addressed mandatory reporting requirements for suspected child abuse, provided restrictions for who can access a jobseeker’s criminal record and shortened how long suspects can be held in probation detention centers.

Also, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston refused to set up a committee to hash out a disagreement with the Senate over a bill that would generally ban abortions five months after conception. House lawmakers earlier rejected a Senate attempt to loosen the restrictions in the bill, but the Senate insisted on the changes.

The original proposal from Rep. Doug McKillip would have banned most abortions five months into a pregnancy.   He made exceptions for when a pregnancy threatened the mother’s life or physical health. The state Senate voted Monday, March 26,  to pass a changed version of the bill that would allow a doctor to perform an abortion after five months if he diagnosed the fetus with a fetal defect.

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