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Posted: February 19, 2017 5:00 a.m.

Jeffares: Week 6 from under the Gold Dome

Having the opportunity to represent each of you under the gold dome every day is an honor I will never take for granted. This week was very busy at the Capitol. We passed 11 bills on the Senate floor, countless bills were passed out of committee and we welcomed a lot of very special people to the chamber.

I have heard numerous stories over the last few months regarding an issue that, to me, is a complete invasion of privacy. The act is commonly referred to as “upskirting” and it is when someone takes a photo or video under or through someone else’s clothing in an effort to see intimate parts of their body without their consent. Believe it or not, Georgia law did not include anything about “upskirting,” so anyone charged with a crime of this nature wasn’t convicted because they weren’t technically breaking the law. Wednesday, the Senate passed Senate Bill 45 which makes the act of “upskirting” illegal. Everyone deserves to have privacy when it comes to issues like this and I believe we have taken a step in the right direction to protecting the citizens of Georgia with the passage of this bill.

I am always interested in legislation that works to bring jobs, tourism and revenue to our state. Senate Bill 46 does all three. This bill was passed by the Senate this week and allows Camden County to move forward on its effort to build a spaceport. Specifically, it provides spaceflight operators immunity from any lawsuits if a spaceflight participant becomes injured during a flight provided that a written wavier and agreement has been signed. Georgia has the potential for both horizontal launches, which launch satellites, and vertical launches. The spaceport industry is growing, and legislation like this lets the industry know that Georgia is open for business.

Georgia’s law enforcement officers play a huge role in protecting the lives of our citizens’ day in and day out. We’ve passed several bills over the past few years that support law enforcement initiatives and provide additional funding for pay increases and equipment. These men and women should still have our respect even after they leave the force. This is why we passed Senate Bill 15, a bill that authorizes retired disabled law enforcement officers to get a free weapons carry license if they meet the ten-year service requirement or left their position due to an injury suffered while in the line of duty. These individuals have extensive weapons training and it’s the least we can do to thank them for their service.

I want all of you to know that I take into account each of you and everyone else who lives in Georgia when I make my decisions. I am here because of you, and if you ever have a question about pending legislation, please reach out to me and I will be more than happy to discuss it with you.

Sen. Rick Jeffares serves as Chairman of the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.  He represents the 17th Senate District which includes portions of Henry, Rockdale and Newton counties.  He may be reached by phone at 404.651.7738 or by email at rick.jeffares@senate.ga.gov.

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