In previewing this year’s election, here’s a look at the proposed amendments to the Georgia Constitution.
When voters see the ballot on Nov. 8 they will be asked to not only choose local, state and federal representatives but also to help out with the Georgia Constitution.
Four constitutional amendments will be on this year’s ballot. Here is a look at what those amendments are and what they mean for voters.
WILL APPEAR AS: Authorizes penalties for sexual exploitation and assessments on adult entertainment to fund child victims' services
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow additional penalties for criminal cases in which a person is adjudged guilty of keeping a place of prostitution, pimping, pandering, pandering by compulsion, solicitation of sodomy, masturbation for hire, trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, or sexual exploitation of children and to allow assessments on adult entertainment establishments to fund the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund to pay for care and rehabilitative and social services for individuals in this state who have been or may be sexually exploited?”
WHAT IT IS: Called the Georgia Additional Penalties for Sex Crimes to Fund Services for Sexually Exploited Children, Amendment No. 2 was place on the ballot by the state legislature. If passed, it allows the state legislature to impose additional penalties or fees in court cases where someone is found guilty of “keeping a place of prostitution, pimping, pandering, pandering by compulsion, solicitation of sodomy, masturbation for hire, trafficking of persons for sexual servitude or sexual exploitation of children.”
Additional fines or fees could be charged against adult entertainment establishments.
The revenue collected would be allocated to the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund, created by Senate Resolution 8, also known as Rachel’s Law or the Safe Harbor Act, signed into law on May 5, 2015. It would help provide restorative care, awareness campaigns, advocacy, rescue services, housing series, education, medical care, counseling, mental health care, life skills and job skills training and transitional support.
If passed, a new commission, appointed by the Georgia general assembly and the governor, will develop guidelines and oversee the distribution of monies.
WHO SUPPORTS IT? Senate Resolution 7 was sponsored by Senators Renee S. Unterman (R-45), Gloria S. Butler (D-55), Butch Miller (R-49) and Judson Hill (R-32) and is supported by a bevy of nonprofits and faith organizations, including the International Human Trafficking Institute, Interfaith Children’s Movement, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Freedom Coalition, Georgia Cares, End Human Trafficking Now, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Junior League of Atlanta, Voices for Georgia's Children and the YWCA.
WHO OPPOSES IT? While there are no formal opponents or Political Action Committees (PAC) that have come out against the legislation, though some detractors say the added fees on adult entertainment venues are punitive. However, three senators and 18 representatives did vote against the enabling legislation.
To read about Amendment 1 click here.
To read about Amendment 3 click here.
To read about Amendment 4 click here.