Regular readers of Georgia Watchdog understand we always try and be fair when it comes to articles dealing with police matters. We understand the majority of police are good folks just trying to make a positive difference every day with little pay or gratitude. We also understand that the bad cops and bad laws are the reason for nearly all the mistrust between the police and the public they serve. One such bad law (Georgia House Bill 310) could add millions of unnecessary spending, but even worse it moves us further towards a police state. This bill is currently under consideration with no media scrutiny beyond this site and a precious few others.
They are using the Trojan horse approach. Inside a mostly good bill they hid a few very dangerous provisions. Garland Favorito and Catherine Bernard outline below why the people in Georgia need to not only be aware of the bad parts of the bill, but must also contact their reps ASAP to voice your opposition!
Don’t let them sneak this through without us even putting up a fight! This is how the U.S. became a police state these past few decades. We have been asleep and disengaged and allowed bad laws like this to get passed with barely a whisper. Time to wake up Georgia and America. If you are tired of living in a police state, email or call your representative and share this article on social media to let others know.
HB310 has been assigned to the Public Safety Committee. It could be heard in a regular meeting as early as Wednesday at 1pm or even Tuesday at 1pm in a special committee meeting. We will not know the schedule until Monday morning and will post it on
Many people will need to be present at the hearing and some will need to speak. HB310 has roughly one dozen good criminal justice reforms that have been hijacked by the hidden agenda of this bill. Here are some of the major concerns regarding this bill:
- It establishes three new large powerful entities that are unnecessary to implement the criminal justice reforms that are the objective of the bill (The Department of Community Supervision, The Board of Community Supervision, The Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Recovery – Page 1, Line 1-3)
- Itestablishes a massive Department of Community Services that has no limitations on the number of units (Page 6, Line 168-171) or number of employees that it can have (Page 6, line 175-182)
- Although the three new large powerful entities perform existing functions of about five current organizations, the bill does not dissolve any of those organizations, thus resulting in a large expansion of state government
- It effectively converts the career employees of the current organizations to political employees who serve at the pleasure of the governor and his Commissioner of Community Supervision(Page 5, Line 155-158)
- It allows the Commissioner of the Department Community of Community Supervision to confer full police powers on any or all of the Departments’ employees (Page 6, Lines DCS 191-200)
- It allows the police powers to be used to assist law enforcement in maintaining peace thus giving the governor his own private police force to arrest and control those who may oppose hispolicies (Page 6, Lines 201-204)
- It bestows judicial authority on the Department of Community Supervision to handle cases and situations in hearings that would normally be handled by a judges in trials (Page 19, Lines 616-640)
- It removes the presumption of innocence in certain cases by allowing DCS employees to impose restrictions or condition in a pre-trial release program before an individual has even been convicted of a crime (Page 15 Line 479-508)
- It has a loophole that allows DCS Contractors to be compensated on a commission or contingency basis which enables them to impose graduated sentences on probationers for their own profit motives (Page 6, Line 181)
Here is the HB310 House hearing where bill sponsors explain the advantages of the bill:
Click on the Feb 26th video to watch. Notice how none of the above items are discussed in the hearing by the bill supporters. If you don’t have time to watch the whole hearing watch this five minute clip where Catherine Bernard points out the issues with the bill to the committee and is then ignored by Chairman Rick Golick:
Senate Public Safety Committee
Harper, Tyler firstname.lastname@example.org (404) 463-5263 Chair
Albers, John email@example.com (404) 463-4161 Vice Chair
Dugan, Mike firstname.lastname@example.org (404) 656-7454 Sec.
Jones II, Harold V. email@example.com (404) 463-3942
Seay, Valencia firstname.lastname@example.org (404) 656-5095
Williams, Michael email@example.com (404) 656-7127
Watson, Ben firstname.lastname@example.org (404) 656-7880
Note: Georgia currently has highest number of individuals on probation per capita than any other state in America. Georgia is one of the few states that allows traffic citations to be considered misdemeanor crimes punishable by up to a year in prison.
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