Summary for 9th Week of 2021 Session
Crossover Day was Monday, March 8, and marked the beginning of the ninth week of session. This crucial deadline makes the House and Senate unable to pass bills out of the legislative chamber in which they originated. As a result, Crossover Day was one of the longest days in session with more than 70 pieces of legislation.
House members unanimously passed House Bill 479, which would repeal Georgia’s antiquated citizen’s arrest law. This bill would also clarify certain instances in which law enforcement officers may make arrests outside of their jurisdiction, as well as establish instances when certain private citizens may detain individuals.
House Bill 255, or the “Sexual Assault Reform Act of 2021,” also passed unanimously on Crossover Day, and this measure would lay out several changes to improve the state’s handling of sexual assault cases. The bill would implement a statewide sexual assault kit tracking system to give survivors the ability to track and receive updates on the status of evidence from their case.
House Bill 109, the “Child Victim Protection Act of 2021,” was also passed and would extend the amount of time that survivors of childhood sexual abuse could file civil action from two years to four years if the abuse occurred after July 1, 2015, and has proven to have caused physical or psychological harm.
We also passed two measures this week that would extend protections to survivors of domestic violence in Georgia. First, we passed House Bill 231 to create a new temporary protective order (TPO) specifically for dating violence which is not currently covered by a TPO for family violence. These TPOs would cover felonies, simple battery, aggravated battery, aggravated assault and stalking between two people who have had a pregnancy together or who are in a romantic dating relationship. We also passed House Bill 236 to increase police monitoring after a TPO for family violence is issued. These safety checks would last 60 days, and the frequency of the safety checks would be at the discretion of the local police agency.
The House also passed House Bill 290, the “Patient and Resident Representation and Visitation Act,” in an effort to protect visitation rights for authorized legal representatives of patients or residents in hospitals and long-term care facilities. Hospitals and long-term care facilities would be prohibited from implementing policies that deny in-person physical contact with a designated legal representative for at least one hour per day during any hospitalization, treatment or residence that lasts longer than 12 hours.
My colleagues and I supported legislation this week to ensure that newborn babies receive the best care after they are born. House Bill 567 would authorize the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to create a newborn screening system to help prevent serious illness, severe physical or developmental disabilities, as well as death caused by inherited metabolic and genetic disorders in newborns.
After Crossover Day, House committees began considering legislation that was passed by the Senate. As we continue meeting in our respective committees and on the House floor to consider Senate bills, I encourage you to contact me regarding bills that may be up for consideration during these final weeks of the session. You can reach me at my capitol office at 404-656-0116, or via email at robert. [email protected] As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative and I look forward to seeing you soon.
As the State Representative for District 149, Robert Pruitt serves Dodge County, Telfair County, Wheeler County, Cadwell, and Hazlehurst. During the second week of the 2021 Legislative Session, Rep Pruitt was appointed to serve on the Industry and Trade, Economic Development, and Small Business committees for the next two years. Robert and his wife Kelly have been long time residents of Eastman.
By Rep. Robert Pruitt (District 149)