READ | Bill passes seeking tweaks to local shares of Georgia car tax revenues
The legislation passed 35-19 on a party-line vote, with some Democrats arguing against giving the GBI power to arrest, investigate and prosecute.
"We need to consider what sort of conflicts of interest and power shifts occur when we allow a team of prosecutors who are ... unelected — unlike our district attorneys — to prosecute cases," said state Sen. Elena Parent, an Atlanta Democrat.
Two other bills each passed the House and Senate unanimously.
Senate Bill 435, also sponsored by Strickland, aims to create a way for victims to have prior convictions vacated if they were charged while they were a victim of human trafficking.
House Bill 823 bars anyone convicted of human trafficking from getting a commercial driver's license if their conviction involved driving a commercial vehicle. It mirrors a federal law, the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act, that has established a similar ban.
"This legislation provides one more tool in our fight in this state against human trafficking," said state Rep. Houston Gaines, R-Athens, who sponsored the bill.
Human trafficking is an issue Marty Kemp has prioritized since shortly after her husband's election, creating the GRACE Commission and starting a new training program to help state employees learn how to recognize and help trafficking victims.
“The governor and first lady are pleased to see such important measures for fighting human trafficking secure passage in their respective chambers,” said Candice Broce, a governor’s office spokeswoman, in a statement. “Now, they ask for the House and Senate’s continued support to send the bills to the governor’s desk for his signature.”
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