Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul Talks About New Legislation

Sheriff Kevin Sproul

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Every year, Georgia law changes. Through the enactment of new legislation, new laws are put on the books, existing laws are updated, and sometimes old laws are abolished. It is difficult for the average citizen to keep up with all of it. To help, I am forwarding an excerpt of a legislative update that I received from the Georgia Sheriff’s Association. The following are a few of the bills that were passed and adopted by the Senate and House of Representatives and await the Governor’s signature before being enacted into law or vetoed: 

HB 271 amends OCGA §17-6 relating to bonds and recognizance concerning forms of collateral required of professional bonding companies. Specifically, the bill provides that sheriffs are unrestricted in the amount of cash escrow required of bonding companies who have operated in the county less than 18 months; restricts the sheriff from requiring more than 10% of the current outstanding bond liability for bonding companies operating in the county for a period of more than 18 months; allows bonding companies to assess a fee of up to 15% for all bonds while allowing a minimum fee of $50 on all bonds regardless of the bond amount; and, prohibits bonding companies who were not using insurance as a method of collateral as of December 31, 2013 from purchasing and offering insurance in lieu of establishing a cash escrow account. 

HB 845 amends OCGA §35-1 relating to the release of arrest booking photographs under certain circumstances. Specifically, the bill provides that except under certain circumstances, such as situations related to publishing the photographs of sex offenders, the arresting or booking law enforcement agency shall not provide a copy of a booking photograph to anyone if the photograph can be placed in a publication or posted to a website, and removal or deletion of the photograph from the publication or website requires the payment of a fee. Further, anyone requesting a booking photograph must submit a statement affirming that the use of such photograph will not be placed on a website and will not charge a fee for removal of the photograph if such photograph somehow appears in a publication or website. Finally, law enforcement agencies may post photographs on their websites for administrative or investigative purposes.

HB 60 is known as the “Safe Carry Protection Act” and amends various Titles within Georgia Code concerning firearms. Among other provisions the twenty-nine page bill allows weapons to be carried in bars, allows churches to permit weapons, prohibits public housing authorities from restricting lawful firearm ownership by its tenants, allows silencers or suppressors for hunting on private property, allows license holders to carry weapons in government buildings where entrance to the building is not restricted through the use of security personnel, limits the fine to $100 for license holders who enter a secured government building, allows certain school personnel the authority to carry a weapon on school property, prohibits a multijurisdictional data base of information regarding persons issued weapons carry license, prohibits law enforcement officers from detaining an individual for the purpose of investigating whether such individual has a weapons carry license and many other provisions.   

If you have any questions about any of these bills, or any Georgia law, please feel free to contact my office at (229)430-6508.

About Sheriff Kevin Sproul

Sheriff Kevin Sproul is a longtime resident of Dougherty County. He is a graduate of Albany High School, Darton College and LaGrange College of Albany. Sproul has been employed with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office since 1982 and can be reached at (229) 430-6508.