Georgia Senate passes anti-hazing bill

The Georgia Senate without objection, passed a bill Friday aimed at strengthening anti-hazing laws and improving transparency about hazing on college campuses.

Under Senate Bill 85, led by Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, anyone convicted of felony hazing charges could receive a five year prison sentence and be fined up to $50,000. Anyone who doesn’t help a hazing victim can receive a year-long prison sentence and be fined. The bill allows the state Attorney General’s office to pursue civil action against organizations that allow hazing. Additionally, the legislation requires colleges and universities to submit an annual report on campus hazing.

The bill passed 49-0 and will now go the state House of Representatives for a vote.

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College fraternities and sororities have been under pressure in recent years to stop pressuring people to drink dangerous amounts of alcohol, consume drugs and other acts to join those groups, known as hazing.

The legislation is named after Max Gruver, a Roswell teen who died in 2017 from fraternity hazing at Louisiana State University. Albers pushed a similar bill last year, but legislative action on it was suspended when the coronavirus pandemic halted operations at the state Capitol.

Albers made his pitch for the bill Friday while Gruver’s parents and girlfriend watched online.

“Max was full of life,” Albers said. “He was a son, a brother, a friend to all with a bright future that was cut way too short.”