CROSSOVER DAY UPDATES
"Crossover day" is the last day that a piece of legislation can pass from one legislative chamber to the other. This year, that day was February 28th.
If a piece of legislation passes the State House of Representatives by February 28th, the legislation then goes to the State Senate for consideration. Thus the term "Crossover" -- because the bill crosses over to the other legislative chamber. Likewise, any bill that failed to clear its originative chamber by February 28th is no longer eligible for full passage this legislative session which ends on March 29th.
For the remainder of the legislative session, the ACLU of Georgia will focus attention on bills in FIVE specific areas to pass or defeat as noted below.
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Medical Marijuana
- Voter Rights
- LGBTQ+ Rights
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Senate Bill 407 is Governor Deal's comprehensive criminal justice reform bill. Central to the bill are improvements to pretrial justice in Georgia, primarily as it relates to misdemeanor bail. The bill also addresses probation costs, parole eligibility, Medicaid and other public assistance benefits to inmates, but adds sentencing enhancements for certain offenses. In significant ways, Senate Bill 407 pushes Georgia in the right direction toward reducing mass incarceration.
The brightest highlight of Senate Bill 407 are its bail reform initiatives. Falling in line with a national movement to improve misdemeanor bail practices, this bill adds critical requirements that were missing before now: a requirement that courts determine whether people are able to afford bail, a mandate to impose only the least restrictive conditions possible, and a restriction against setting excessive bail. While this bill does not include all the reforms we wanted, the ACLU of Georgia SUPPORTS Governor Deal's comprehensive justice reform bill because it is a strong step forward in reducing incarceration on the front end of the criminal justice system.
This bill has already passed the State Senate and is now in the House of Representatives for consideration. The ACLU of Georgia supports this bill.
ACTION: Tell your House of Representative member to VOTE YES on Senate Bill 407. Click here to find your House of Representatives member.
Senate Bill 309 and Senate Bill 363: Under current law, polls close at 7pm on Election Day except in Atlanta, where polls remain open until 8pm. Senate Bill 309 and Senate Bill 363 will force Atlanta polling places to close at 7pm even though Atlanta’s notorious traffic problems make it nearly impossible for many people to reach their polling places by that hour.
ACTION: Tell your House of Representative member to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 309 and Senate Bill 363, and demand that they pass an amendment that would extend polling place hours to 8pm throughout the state.
House Bill 764: Under current law, Georgia makes it legal to possess and control certain quantities of THC oil and marijuana in certain circumstances. These circumstances are limited to specific medical conditions, such as cancer, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's' disease, seizure disorders, and other severe or end stage illnesses. House Bill 764 adds PTSD and intractable pain to this list of qualifying conditions. While it is still illegal to buy or grow medical marijuana in Georgia, these additions expand access to medical marijuana and further decriminalize possessing it. The ACLU of Georgia supports this bill.
ACTION: Tell your State Senator to VOTE YES on HOUSE BILL 764. Click here to find your State Senator.
Senate Bill 375 gives faith-based child-placing agencies a license to discriminate against LGBT parents who are looking to provide abused and neglected children a safe and loving home. Worse, Senate Bill 375 authorizes religious child-placing agencies to discriminate against vulnerable LGBT children and to refuse to help find them a safe and supportive family. Senate Bill 375 is a slap in the face to the 14,000 children currently in foster care who will have a much harder time finding a family if faith-based child-placing agencies can use government tax funding to exclude loving LGBT families from the pool of individuals who can provide safe and loving homes to children in their time of need.
ACTION: Tell your House of Representatives member to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 375. Click here to find your House of Representatives member.
Senate Bill 452, known as the “Deportation Pipeline Bill,” is unconstitutional, harmful to our communities and is a dangeorus use of taxpayer dollars. Senate Bill 452 would transform local police officers into federal immigration officers and mandate that, on the basis of a suspicion alone, they detain or transport people to a state or federal detention center. Detaining individuals without a judicial warrant or probable cause violates constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment.
- Detaining individuals without a judicial warrant or probable cause is unconstitutional in violation of the Fourth Amendment.1
- “Verification” is not defined in this bill. This leaves open the possibility of a broad interpretation of the term giving police officers more leeway to detain individuals without a judicial warrant which is unconstitutional. For example, it allows the possibility to detain individuals who simply forgot their license.
ACTION: Tell your House of Representatives member to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 452. Click here to find your House of Representatives member.