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Georgia House votes 173-0 to overhaul Civil War-era citizen's arrest law

The push for change was rooted in the death last year of Ahmaud Arbery.
Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 17:58:24-05

ATLANTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp issued a statement applauding the passage of HB 479, an overhaul to Georgia's citizen's arrest statute, following a unanimous vote in the Georgia House of Representatives.

"The unanimous passage of HB 479 by the Georgia House is an important step in our efforts to root out injustice in the Peach State, while also protecting the sacred right to defend oneself and others," said Governor Kemp. "With broad, bipartisan support, our overhaul of the citizen's arrest statute strikes a critical balance between protecting the lives and livelihoods of our families, our friends, and our neighbors, and preventing rogue vigilantism from threatening the security and God-given potential of all Georgians.

This legislation is first and foremost about doing our part to leave behind a better Georgia for our children and grandchildren. I want to thank Representative Bert Reeves (R - Marietta), lead sponsor of HB 479, and every member of the House for doing what is right for the people of Georgia. I look forward to the bill's passage in the Senate as we continue to work toward a safer, more just future for all who call the Peach State home."

Gov. Kemp presented his plan to overhaul Georgia’s Civil War-era citizen’s arrest statute, which he called “an antiquated law that is ripe for abuse,” in February.

House Bill 479, follows up on last year’s push, after 20 years of effort, to pass hate-crimes legislation. That law increases the punishment for people who commit crimes against someone based on characteristics such as race, sexual orientation and religion.

Each is rooted in the death last year of Ahmaud Arbery.