(The Center Square) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed seven bills he says will support law enforcement officers throughout Georgia and toughen penalties for criminals.
“Every single criminal in Georgia is on notice; they will find nothing but trouble and punishment in our state,” Kemp said during remarks before signing House bills 1134,1188, 1216 and 1441 and Senate bills 84, 358 and 479.
HB 1134 paves the way for a gang prosecution unit within the state attorney general’s office, while HB 1216 increases penalties for drivers fleeing police. HB 1188 allows prosecutors to charge each act of child molestation as a separate offense.
SB 479 clarifies how charges apply to felons possessing firearms, while SB 358 provides tuition reimbursement for former military members enrolled in law enforcement basic training. The other bills — HB 1441 and SB 84 — support first responders, cut red tape and promote the recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers, Kemp said.
“These bills are not the only measures we’re putting into place to support public safety officers and bring the fight to our criminals,” Kemp said. “In the fiscal year 2023 budget that I will sign in the coming weeks, we’re investing in [an] additional trooper school class, adding law enforcement criminal justice degrees to high demand career initiatives and giving the hard-working men and women of state law enforcement who face danger on a regular basis a $5,000 raise.
“As I’ve said many times before, we will use every resource at our disposal to rid our communities of crime and keep Georgia families safe,” the governor added. “Today underscores that fact.”
During a Monday morning bill signing ceremony held in Atlanta’s Buckhead community, Kemp also called on judges to sentence defendants “appropriately” based on their convictions.