Forsyth, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp, accompanied by First Lady Marty Kemp, Speaker Jon Burns, Attorney General Chris Carr, Commissioner John King, members of the General Assembly, and other state and local leaders, signed a sweeping package of legislation, including HB 130, designed to strengthen public safety and provide support to first responders.

HB 130, sponsored by Representative Matthew Gambill, signed by Representatives Bill Hitchens, Bill Werkheiser, Eddie Lumsden, and Yasmin Neal, and carried in the Senate by Senator Bo Hatchett, allows the Georgia Student Finance Commission to repay up to $20,000 in student loans held by a full-time peace officer who completes 5 years of service. To be eligible, you must either have been appointed as a full-time POST-certified public state, or local officer on or after January 1, 2024, or be an existing officer currently enrolled and pursuing a Criminal Justice degree for at least one year.

In addition to HB 130, this legislative package strengthens Georgia's ban on sanctuary cities, empowers POST certified jailers, cracks down on criminals who introduce contraband into our prisons, engage in drive-by shootings, or "SWAT-ing," and ensures supplemental illness-specific insurance benefits are offered for first responders suffering from PTSD as a result of a line-of-duty traumatic event that prevents them from carrying out their duties.

"Georgians have witnessed the disastrous impact lawlessness is having on communities across the country,” said Governor Brian Kemp. "Thanks to the work of our legislative partners in the General Assembly, we are able to once again send the message that such lawlessness will find no safe haven in Georgia. I am proud to sign legislation that boosts our recruitment of law enforcement officers, makes our communities safer, and provides our judicial system with even tougher tools to bring violent offenders to justice."

Along with HB 130, Governor Kemp signed nine pieces of legislation included below:

HB 1105, sponsored by Representative Jesse Petrea, signed by Representatives J Collins, Josh Bonner, Emory Dunahoo, Matt Barton, and Rick Jasperse, amended by Representative Houston Gaines, carried in the Senate by Senator John Albers, and made a priority by Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones and Speaker Jon Burns, codifies existing procedures for jails to determine the nationality and immigration status of confined individuals and requires the Department of Corrections and sheriffs to report on the illegal immigrants in their custody.

SB 37, sponsored by Senator Randy Robertson, signed by Senators John Albers, Bo Hatchett, Carden Summers, Kay Kirkpatrick and Lee Anderson, and carried in the House by Representative J Collins, allows sheriffs who serve in more than one court to receive a court supplement for up to two courts, allows the Governor, a county sheriff, or a chief of police to request the use of the newly converted GPSTC law enforcement unit, and allows jailers who have been certified by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council to have arrest powers within the jail or its guard lines or if a person surrenders themselves at the jail.

SB 63, sponsored by Senator Randy Robertson, signed by Senators Steve Gooch, Matt Brass, Jason Anavitarte, John Kennedy, and Frank Ginn, and carried in the House by Representative Houston Gaines, adds 30 offenses to the definition of “bail restricted offense,” establishes that individuals and entities cannot post more than three cash bonds per year, requires entities that solicit donations for the purpose of securing the release of persons to submit to the same requirements as professional bail bondsmen, and amends various statutes pertaining to the bail forfeiture process to reduce instances in which a surety must forfeit a bond.

SB 159, sponsored by Senator Randy Robertson, signed by Senators John Albers, Kay Kirkpatrick, and Larry Walker, carried by Representative Steven Sainz, and prioritized by Speaker Jon Burns, increases penalties for providing prohibited items to inmates, with stronger penalties for those who work in the facility and provide contraband and for using an unmanned aircraft to take photos of a place of incarceration with the intention to commit a crime.

HB 1058, sponsored by Representative Lauren McDonald, signed by Representatives Bill Hitchens, Alan Powell, Eddie Lumsden, J Collins, and Carter Barrett, carried in the Senate by Senator Randy Robertson, and advocated for by the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, Colonel William Hitchens, serves as the annual motor carrier update.

HB 1193, sponsored by Representative Lauren McDonald, signed by Representatives Bill Hitchens, Eddie Lumsden, Soo Hong, and J Collins, and advocated for by the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, Colonel William Hitchens, standardizes the use of flashing or revolving amber lights across code sections.

HB 451, sponsored by Representative Devan Seabaugh, signed by Representatives Gregg Kennard, Bill Hitchens, Houston Gaines, Beth Camp, and Derrick McCollum, and carried in the Senate by Senator Randy Robertson, requires that all public entities in Georgia offer supplemental illness-specific insurance benefits – either self-insured or by an insurer – for first responders who are clinically diagnosed by a qualified diagnostician with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of their exposure to line-of-duty traumatic event(s) that prevents them from completing their occupational duties. This bill is also known as the “Ashley Wilson Act” - named after a Gwinnett County police officer, whose partner died as a result of gun shot wounds suffered in the line-of-duty.

SB 421, sponsored by Senator Clint Dixon, signed by Senators John Albers, Kay Kirkpatrick, Randy Robertson, Kim Jackson, and Ed Setzler, carried in the House by Representative Matt Reeves, and prioritized by Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones, adds a drive-by shooting that damages a building to the offense of criminal damage in the first degree, creates the offense of drive-by shooting, and increases penalties for transmitting a false alarm, commonly referred to as "SWAT-ing."

SB 10, sponsored by Senator Emanuel Jones, signed by Senators Harold Jones, Gloria Butler, John Albers, Valencia Seay, and Donzella James, and carried in the House by Representative Yasmin Neal, creates a penalty for facilitating a drag race and increases penalties for operating a vehicle while drag racing or laying drags.

Governor Kemp extends his appreciation to all of those whose diligent work and efforts led to him being able to sign these bills today.


Press Secretary Garrison Douglas


Deputy Press Secretary Carter Chapman