Georgia Houses Passes Republican Legislation That Protects Children From Gang Violence

On Monday, the Georgia House passed a bill supported by Republican Governor Brian Kemp that would crack down on violence and protect children from gang activity. 

The bill, Senate Bill 44, would add a mandatory five years to prison sentences for any individual convicted of a gang crime and a mandatory 10 years for any individual convicted of recruiting children into a gang.

“What this is going to do is those who are recruiting our youth 17 years of age or younger, you are going to have them off the streets for 10 or 15 years,” said House Judiciary Non-civil Committee Chairman Tyler Paul Smith, a Bremen Republican.

The legislation passed on a 99-74 vote, with primarily Republican support, and now goes back to the state Senate for more debate after the House amended the bill to include a reduced version of stricter cash bail provisions that senators had proposed.

“Gangs must recruit in order to survive, and we are sending a strong message with this bill, that if you come into our state and you are recruiting our children, that we will have severe punishment for you,” explained Soo Hong, a Lawrenceville Republican who carries bills for Kemp as a floor leader.

Kemp responded to the news on Twitter.

“Thank you to the Georgia House of Representatives for passing this measure to make our communities safer and prevent criminals from ending up back out on the street after arrest. As it heads back to the Senate, I look forward to its continued progress on its way to my desk,” Kemp wrote.

D & B Staff

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