Crossover Day Is Here: The Latest On Juvenile Justice, Child Focused Legislation

Today is Crossover Day — the critical mid-point in the legislative session, when Senate bills move over to the House and House bills transition to the Senate. Any House bills that have not passed their chamber of origin will not progress in 2011. Because this is the first year of the  two-year legislative cycle, any bills that fail to cross over may still be considered in 2012. Here’s an update on some of the legislation pertaining to young people in Georgia and juvenile justice issues that JJIE.org has been following. Senate Bills

SB 31 would expand attorney-client privilege to cover parents’ participation in private conversations with defense attorneys representing their children in delinquent or criminal cases. The bill introduced in January by Sen. Jason Carter (D-Decatur) gives the child – not the parent – exclusive rights to waive the privilege. This measure passed the Senate on February 23 and now awaits consideration by the House Civil Judiciary Committee. Introduced last month by Sen. Joshua McKoon (R-Columbus), SB 80 would require any person, including a juvenile arrested for a felony offense, to give a DNA sample.  It would be analyzed and kept in a database by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Juvenile ‘Good Behavior’ Bill Clears Ga. House, Heads To Senate

The Georgia House of Representatives has approved a measure dubbed the “good behavior bill,” that pushes for more discretion among juvenile court judges. The 169 to 1 vote came just in time to meet this week’s critical legislative “crossover day” deadline. “I am so pleased with the passage of House Bill 373 and grateful to B.J. Pak, Jay Neal, Wendell Willard, Stacey Abrams, Yasmin Neal and all of the representatives who voted in support of the bill,” said Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Commissioner Amy Howell. “It is great that our leadership understood the opportunity this bill presents for DJJ, our youth and Georgia. I am looking forward to working with the Senate.”

Juvenile Parole Board Legislation Sponsor: ‘My Bill Will Be Heard On The Floor Of The Senate’

It seems that even the Georgia Legislature can have an off schedule week. First the House Children & Youth Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the State Capitol got canceled at the last minute. According to the agenda, the topic was supposed to be a discussion about “a system-wide approach” to “children and youth with special needs.”

Then JJIE.org got tipped off that the Senate Judiciary Committee had scheduled a hearing Thursday on Senate Bill 105, which proposes to establish a three-person juvenile parole panel within the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). An hour-and-a-half into the committee’s meeting (following a lively discussion about the controversial immigration-focused Senate Bill 40) we learned that the parole board bill would not be heard that day. “The committee chairman has the authority to add or delete anything from the agenda,” explained SB 105 sponsor Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur).