News Laws for 2019

New laws for 2019.

The Legislature almost got it right when they passed a law restricting stored license plate data by the PoPo. You’ll recall that I have previously ranted about the PoPo using license plate readers for purposes not connected to traffic enforcement. So this law, known as the “Let’s appease Kelly Burke Act” was their pathetic attempt at cooling my jets. It didn’t work. The law says, and I quote: “All such data collected shall be destroyed no later than 30 months after such data were originally collected unless such data are the subject matter of a toll violation or for a law enforcement purpose.” That “unless” is big enough to drive a truck through. So cops will still be able to keep LPR data forever with no penalty. The good news is that the new law makes it clear that the LPR data is restricted to a law enforcement purpose, so it can’t be sold to a third party or given up pursuant to a subpoena (maybe).

Did you know that bigamy is still a crime? It is. I’m not taking a position on whether it should be or not, but a lot of folks think bigamy, fornication, adultery and such are no longer crimes. Yes, Georgia still has an adultery criminal code statute making it illegal to engage in sexual relations with someone other than your spouse if you are married. Sooooo, back to my LPR rant. Let’s say that John is divorcing Steve (it’s a new world) and John’s lawyer goes to the PoPo with a subpoena for any LPR data on Steve. The cops would say no, that’s not a law enforcement purpose. The lawyers would go to a superior court judge and argue that it is a law enforcement purpose as they are seeking data to prove that Steve is a two timing husband and subject to prosecution, as that is both an adultery accusation and maybe even a bigamy crime. Lawyers get paid to think up stuff, so I’m just thinking up some stuff here, but that “UNLESS” in the LPR statute might make it easy for the cops to keep data for years and years, subjecting it to subpoena like John’s.

A new law that I can support is one that makes it illegal for someone to provide a firearm to someone they KNOW is a first offender probationer or convicted felon. The KNOW part is important. The law does NOT require that I figure out if the person is a first offender or convict, only that if I know they are, I am guilty of a felony if I provide them with a firearm. And it’s a stiff felony too, carrying up to 5 years in prison as a penalty.

Now the great news! These are the only two new laws I can find that deal with crimes. The Legislature is doing a better job at enacting LESS laws. Sometimes the best thing is do nothing. I don’t consider it a badge of shame to have done nothing, if nothing was better than passing something for the heck of it. Good job Shaw, Heath, Larry, Robert and their fellow legislators.

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