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Georgia House of Representatives

02/21/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/21/2020 16:22

Rep. Jeff Jones Introduces Hailie’s Amendment to Amend Legislative Leave Law

ATLANTA - State Representative Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) recently introduced House Bill 982, or Hailie's Amendment, to the amend Georgia law related to legislative leave to exclude sexual and other violent crimes from the current law.

'As occasionally happens with well-intentioned legislation, the victims of the legal loopholes the legislative leave law created were left with serious, life changing outcomes, and sadly no justice under the law,' said Rep. Jones. 'In simple terms, all too many victims of sexual and other violent crimes, serious and horrific violent crimes, never received their timely day in court and all because of the wording of the legislative leave law. This amendment adds 18 words to existing law and prevents legislative leave from being used to delay criminal trials involving sexual or other violent crimes. Hailie's Amendment will serve to protect our most vulnerable victims and recognizes that there are some things more important than legislative duties and obligations.'

Currently, Georgia law allows legislators who are the lead counsel for a party to a case pending in any trial or appellate court to be granted a continuance and stay of the case if their legislative duties require them to be elsewhere. HB 982 would amend current Georgia law to exclude certain criminal cases involving sexual or other violent crimes, as defined under Chapters 5 and 6 of Title 16 of Georgia Code. Under HB 982, these legislators would still be allowed to request that a judge delay court proceedings for illness, vacation or for other valid reasons approved by the judge.

Rep. Jones recently announced HB 982 during a press conference on Thursday, February 20, 2020. He was joined by State Representative David Clark (D-Buford) and Hailie Massey, who inspired Rep. Jones to introduce HB 982.

Governor Brian Kemp's office issued the following statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

'Governor Kemp had the opportunity to meet with Hailie earlier today and thanked her for her bravery. The Kemp family believes that all victims deserve justice, and Hailie's story is tremendously powerful.'

For more information on HB 982, please click here.

To visit a website where readers can view Hailie's story in her own words, please click here.

*Editor's note: A photo Rep. Jones meeting with Gov. Kemp is attached. (From left to right: Rep. Clark; unnamed guest; Laurie Wilson, Hailie's mom; Hailie Wilson; support dog Eleanor; Gov. Kemp; and Rep. Jones.)[Attachment]

Representative Jeff Jones represents the citizens of District 167, which includes Long and McIntosh counties and portions of Glynn County. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2014 and currently serves on the Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications, Insurance, Interstate Cooperation, Motor Vehicles, Regulated Industries, Small Business Development and Science and Technology committees.

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