House Bills to potentially affect students

Lucy Stone, News Editor                                                                                                                              Emily Smith, Editor In Chief

The 2017-2018 GA Legislative session that began Jan. 9 brings several bills up for consideration relating to Georgia’s universities.

House Bill 280

Similar to last year’s “Campus Carry” bill, if passed, HB 280 will allow any licensed gun owner to carry concealed handguns on public colleges, vocational or technical schools.

It will exclude areas that hold athletic events and student housing. Handguns can only be intentionally shown during times of self-defense. “Preschool spaces”—areas where electronic devices such as metal detectors—staff are in use as a “point of controlled access” are also off limits.

House Bill 11

In relation to HB 280, HB 11 is a bill proposing the mandatory requirement of a gun safety course for all applicants for concealed carry licenses.

House Bill 51

HB 51 aims to re-draft university investigation processes. It restricts the ability of Universities and their Law Enforcement to investigate and resolve criminal issues. Instead of allegations of felonies like rape being investigated by a Title IX panel, made up of a minimum of three administrators, the investigation will be handled by outside police forces. Additionally, no disciplinary action would be taken against a student unless they are found guilty or admit to the crime.

Savannah State University released this statement regarding edits made to HB 51:

“We appreciate the Chairman working with us to address our concerns with the initial draft of HB 51. The current substitute allows us to conduct student investigations of code of conduct violations, which is necessary to maintain the safety and well-being of our campus community. We will continue to closely track this bill through the legislative process.”

“There are a number of ways to express your opinions on these pieces of legislation,” Student Government Association President Dustin Stewart said in an email to students. “Contact your state reps or submit your comments to SGA via our comment box.”

Stewart also encourages students to attend SGA meetings held on Mondays at 12:15 in Student Union Ballroom A or stop by and talk to representatives in the SGA Office, Student Union D234.