Crossover Day was Friday, March 3. This is the last day that bills needed to cross over from one chamber to the other in order to potentially become law this year.
The Report of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform serves as a foundation for SB 174, SB 175 and SB 176. All three bill passed unanimously on Wednesday, March 1. We support many of the recommendations, including the probation reforms in SB 174.
SB 174 institutes most of the reform measures outlined in the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Council’s 2017 Report. The bill includes reforms for individuals supervised by accountability courts, limits the use of prison for certain offenses, and shortens Georgia’s lengthy probation terms. The bill also gives the Department of Community Supervision the ability to issue Program and Treatment Completion Certificates, with the intent of lowering barriers to housing and employment for people with criminal records.
We are excited to report that HB 261 passed the House 173-0. This bill clarifies that the retroactive first offender statute, which went into effect in 2015, applies to all cases post-March 18, 1968. This will hopefully make it easier for people originally intended to be able to seek retroactive first offender relief to actually do so.
We are concerned about the following bills and are continuing to monitor their status:
HB 466 did not crossover from one house to another, so it is inactive until the legislative session resumes next year. HB 466 would allow the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) to disseminate a data base extract file to the public and to businesses without fingerprint comparison or consent of the person whose records are requested. Expanded access to these records could increase the number of erroneous reports and create further barriers for people with a criminal record.
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