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Atlanta City Council Passes Resolution Opposing House Bill 340

Post Date:03/04/2019 5:15 PM

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Council Communications
Atlanta City Hall
55 Trinity Ave., S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Michael Ulmer, Communications Specialist
Office: (404) 330-6056
Mobile: (470) 825-5250

March 4, 2019

Atlanta City Council Passes Resolution Opposing House Bill 340

Atlanta - Atlanta City Council member and Public Safety Committee Chair Dustin Hillis introduced a resolution Monday opposing efforts in the General Assembly to preempt municipalities from regulating and establishing their own bail.

The resolution, which is associated with House Bill 340, was brought forth for immediate consideration and approved unanimously. In addition to Councilmember Hillis, the measure was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Matt Westmoreland, Andre Dickens, Carla Smith, Amir Farokhi, Natalyn Archibong, Jennifer Ide, Howard Shook, J.P. Matzigkeit, Andrea Boone, Marci Overstreet, and Joyce Sheperd. (Legislative Reference No. to be assigned)

House Bill 340 would curtail an ordinance adopted by Council in 2018 that reformed how the City’s cash bail system works for many low-level offenses. Council’s decision gave municipal judges greater discretion to release people arrested for committing nonviolent misdemeanors until they appear back in court. Under the City’s policy, certain defendants may be given signature bonds rather than having to pay a cash bond and could be released until they return to court to resolve their cases.

House Bill 340 would effectively undo these important changes. In limiting local control, this bill would be a significant step backward in that it would restrict the ability of municipalities to implement these types of reform.

“The City Council and Public Safety Committee worked diligently last year on getting these important measures implemented. These new procedures at the local level ensure that those who commit minor, non-violent crimes are not jailed simply due to their inability to pay a cash bond,” said Hillis.

“These measures across the street at the Capitol would strip local control from municipalities who wish to have a concerted effort toward bail reform. It is my belief that these bills run contrary to many important justice reform efforts at the federal, state, and local levels.”

 Atlanta City Council

The Atlanta City Council is the chief policy-making body for the City of Atlanta. It acts by considering and enacting all laws that govern the City. The council also approves the operating and capital budgets for the City as recommended by the mayor, and it continually monitors revenues and expenditures for local government operations. The Atlanta City Council reviews and has final say on many land-use and zoning matters. Major economic development projects for the City also fall under the council’s consideration.

The Atlanta City Council is comprised of 12 districts and three at-large posts. Council representatives include: Council President: Felicia A. Moore; District 1: Carla Smith; District 2: Amir Farokhi; District 3: vacant; District 4: Cleta Winslow; District 5: Natalyn Mosby Archibong; District 6: Jennifer N. Ide; District 7: Howard Shook; District 8: J.P. Matzigkeit; District 9: Dustin Hillis; District 10: Andrea L. Boone; District 11: Marci Collier Overstreet; District 12: Joyce M. Sheperd; Post 1 At-Large: Michael Julian Bond; Post 2 At-Large: Matt Westmoreland; and Post 3 At-Large: Andre Dickens.

Council information, committee agendas and more may be found on the Atlanta City Council website here. Video archives of the council’s regularly scheduled meetings, committee meetings and work sessions may be found here.