“I refer to that as the safety valve to the mandatory minimum requirements,” said Coomer, a Republican from Cartersville.
Civil rights groups viewed language in Senate Bill 1 as a threat to personal security and a target toward groups based on ethnicity and national origin. House members viewed the bill as a broad overreach and unneccesary growth of government. The measure would separate the agency that’s currently housed in the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and create new agency positions.
"This is a watered-down, much more responsible version of what came across as Senate Bill 1," Coomer told House members in urging for their favorable vote. "This is not the same bill that we voted on twice two days ago."
Democratic legislators were unmoved by the changes.
"Twice chewed tobacco never tastes good, this amendment doesn't taste any better," said State Rep. Robert Trammell.
While the language that would have created a separate agency was stripped, Cowsert still supported the bill.
“I think it gives flexibility to ensure that the law is fairly enforced,” he said.
The bill, which passed 35-16, now goes to the governor.