Hall County Administrator Randy Knighton said the special called
commission meeting today at 4 p.m. at the Hall County Government
Center in Gainesville was in response to a suggestion from the
Association County Commissioners of Georgia. ACCG has talked with
the Department of Revenue and the Georgia Attorney General’s Office.
“(ACCG) has advised us that each county who has been engaged
in the LOST arbitration proceedings submit a new LOST certificate to
the Revenue Department this week,” Knighton said.
Many worry about the financial costs of the bill. Though these are
surely not the greatest concerns for immigrant communities who would
be most impacted if Georgia’s bill is enacted, many business groups
are anxious. A national boycott of Arizona cost the state an estimated
$250 million in lost taxes, tourism and other revenue, according to the
Center for American Progress.
Even before the Georgia bill passed, a group of organizations across
the country threatened to wage a boycott of the state of Georgia if it
enacts the legislation.
Most states that have had this bill introduced have had the good sense
to get rid of it.
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Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation Friday [House Bill 265] that would create a panel to
study Georgia’s criminal justice system with an eye toward overhauling
the state’s tough sentencing laws.
The laws have left the state with overcrowded prisons and taxpayers with
an annual corrections bill that tops $1 million.
The legislation creates a 13-member commission that would study
sentencing reforms in hopes of offering alternative sentences for some
drug addicts and other nonviolent offenders. The panel would have to
report its findings by early 2012, in time for lawmakers to act on them
in the next legislative session.
That annual bill has to be more than $1 million;
maybe $1 billion.
Anyway, Georgia seems to be discovering what Texas already
years ago: we can’t afford to lock up so many people.
The high incarceration rate comes with high costs. Georgia pays $3,800
each year to educate a child in public schools, and $18,000 every year
to keep each inmate behind bars, Deal said.
What will we do with them instead?
Hall County is one of several counties that have adopted drug
courts, which aim to provide alternative sentences for low-level drug
offenders. At the ceremony, drug court graduation Mike Wilcoxson said
the program changed his life.
“One thing drug court has done for me is give me a sense of purpose
in my life, to set goals for myself, to be accountable for my actions,
and to break the cycle of addiction I had,” Wilcoxson said.
That’s one solution.
And if we’re not going to lock up so many people,
why do we need to build a private prison in Lowndes County?