Day 7: Ethics, Hate Crimes and Safety Education for Gun Permits
Wednesday 01/30/2013. Seventh day of the Georgia Legislative Session. We start to see interesting bills. Today we had the committee referral of two bills of Representative Pedro Marin(D-Duluth). HB119, which refers to hatecrimes, specifying definitions of hate crimes (victim's race, religion, gender,gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin) to what the Georgia code currently refers as ‘bias or prejudice’. HB120 was referred aswell. HB120 requires ‘completion of a firearms safety training course withinthree years prior to the date of the application for a (gun) license’. Both bills were referred to committee, and can be monitored in the links above.
We also have a controversy follow up regarding the ethics project presented by House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). The controversy came from a mandatory lobbyist fee ($300/year) anybody who wants to talk with a legislator in the Capitol would have to pay. This spawned a negative reaction, especially from the Tea Party. Rumor in the Hall says that this is a distraction for the other problem with the proposal, which is the many exceptions there are for the lobbyist gifts. The current proposal puts a value limit for the gifts of $100. However, this limit does not include gifts for Caucuses, Committees and Subcommittees. As its current version, this proposal is nothing more than an attempt to save face and to say ‘we did something’, but is not really offering a major reform from the current situation.
It is worth to mention that Georgia is one of three states in the whole country that does not have regulations for gifts from lobbyists to legislators.