HISTORY OF GEORGIA'S
HISTORY OF KNOWN MOTORCYCLE RELATED LEGISLATION IN THE GEORGIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY NOTE: The following information was compiled from copies of bills & roll call votes and from records and notes that I have kept over the years. To avoid the possibility of leaving out anyone or any group that may have worked on any of this, no persons or groups are named. However, it is my opinion that ABATE of Georgia, Inc. was the leading and driving force on all issues herein since 1980. The explanations and opinions expressed are strictly mine, they may or may not be the same as others who worked on or knew of these issues. I would like to express my THANKS to all who have worked for motorcyclists rights in Georgia. With a special THANKS to ABATE of Georgia., Inc. for being the leading and driving force in protecting motorcyclists rights and in working for a safer and better State to ride in. --Lee Richardson
(NOTE: Georgia had the first helmet law in the U.S.)
HB 713 (House Bill number 713) By Representative Kidd. Created the first mandatory helmet law for motorcycle riders in U.S. HB 713 Stated: "No person shall ride upon or operate a motorcycle on the highways or roads of this State without wearing upon his head a crash helmet of a type designated by the Director of the Department of Public Safety of this State." (The bill also gave specifics on seating for motorcycle operators and passengers). HB 713 passed House of Representatives 1/24/62, passed Senate 2/16/62, signed by Governor 3/3/62, became effective 7/1/62. This law had no provisions for penalties for non-compliance. It stated that; any person not complying shall not be guilty of any negligence and failure to comply shall not be admissible in evidence or pleaded in any civil action in any courts of the State. The law was not enforced, actually for the most part it was not even known about.
In the mid 60's several other States passed helmet laws. In 1969 Georgia's helmet law was changed to include penalties and law enforcement agencies started enforcing it. (It is said 1969 is when Georgia's helmet law began, technically this is incorrect, 1962 is correct.) It is believed that between 1962 and 1982 Georgia's helmet law may have been changed several times.
Georgia's current helmet law states, "No person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he is wearing protective headgear which complies with standards established by the Board of Public Safety".
Georgia's general assembly runs in 2 year terms with a 40 "legislative day" session each year beginning on the 2nd Monday of January. The following is a listing of motorcycle related legislation and comments on such beginning with the 1981/82 term. From '83 on safety proclamations were signed by the governor each year. From the late 80's, safety resolutions were passed by the House & Senate each year. These are basically the same each year so they are not listed. Abbreviations that will be used: SB = Senate Bill, HB = House Bill, Sen. = Senator, Rep. = Representative
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY -- BY TERM
SB 569 by Sen. Summers. This bill would have completely repealed Georgia's law requiring protective head gear & eye protection for motorcycle operators and Passengers. No action was taken, unfortunately Sen. Summers became ill and died after the 82 Session.
HB 1154 by Rep. Colbert, assigned to House Insurance Committee(H.IC) This bill would require mandatory no fault insurance for motorcycles. (A law requiring such for other motor vehicles had passed in the 70's.) HB 1154 passed the H.IC, it passed the House 92 to 27. It was killed by the Senate IC 5 to 4. The S.IC killed this bill because of massive response against it from motorcyclists all across the State saying the cost of such insurance was unfairly extremely high.
HB 1350 by Rep. Castlebury, co-signed by Reps. Mann, Hooks, Coleman, McDonald, Siezemore. Assigned to House Public Safety Committee. This bill would create a motorcycle rider education program under the Dept. of Education in Vocational Schools. It passed the H. PSC but was defeated by the House 83 to 51. The reason given for defeat was there was no funding available through the Dept. of Ed.
HB 93 by Rep. Colbert, assigned to House Insurance Committee. This bill was basically the same as HB 1154 requiring no fault insurance for motorcycles. Insurance companies had agreed to roll back prices if the bill passed. HB 93 passed the House 112 to 35, passed the senate 29 to 25, the Governor signed it into law effective April 83. Motorcyclists later found out the required price roll back was only for 1 year. Insurance for motorcycles has steadily gone up each rear since. However, other coverage has also and m/c insurance has increased approximately the same percentage as all other. (At this time motorcyclists were actively trying to repeal Ga.'s helmet law. There was no seat belt law in Ga. then, motorcyclists were saying we want to be treated fairly like automobile drivers, no seat belt law, no helmet law. Many Legislators said OK, but automobiles have to have no fault insurance so to be fair motorcycles should too. (Lesson learned, sometimes using other issues can come back to hurt you.)
HB 723 by Rep. Neal Jackson, assigned to the House Motor Vehicles Committee. This bill in it's original form would modify Ga.'s helmet law to require protective headgear only for those under 18. It was later amended by the H.MVC to under 21. The bill was assigned to a House Study Committee in the '83 Session, public hearings were held on it during the summer. In the '84 Session HB 723 passed the House 116 to 39. It was then assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee. Motorcyclists had commitments from enough Senators to pass the bill on the Senate floor, if it got through the committee process. The Medical Association of Georgia and the Head Injury Foundation brought disabled people in wheel chairs and on crutches with head injuries to the S.PSC meeting. They told of the hundred's of thousands of dollars it cost to care for these people. And that the State usually had to pay for their care because of lack of adequate insurance. Motorcyclists at the committee meeting were not prepared for this lowdown tactic and inhuman treatment of injured people. The S.PSC committee voted to put HB 723 in a Senate Study Committee, killing any chance of the full Senate voting on it in the '84 Session. It was learned after the committee meeting none of the injured people put on display by M.A.G & the H.I.F. had been injured in motorcycle accidents.
HB 881 by Rep Porter, assigned to the House Education Committee. This bill was basically the same as H8 1350 in that it would create a motorcycle rider education program under the Dept. of Education in Vocational Schools. No action was taken on the bill in the '83 Session. Early in the '84 Session motorcyclists learned that the Dept. of Ed. really didn't want anything to do with motorcycle rider education. They had been telling motorcyclists they would take the program, but were telling legislators to vote against it because there was no money for it. After finding this out motorcyclists decided to take another approach. A self funded rider ed program under the Dept. of Public Safety. This would take getting 2 bills passed, one to actually create the program and one to fund it.
SB 450 by Sen. Kidd, assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee. This bill would create a rider ed program under the Georgia Board of Public Safety. It would become effective upon adequate funding. (Funding would come from an increase on motorcycle registration fees that would require a separate bill, HB 1568.) The Ga. Board of Public Safety supported motorcycle rider education, the fact that motorcyclists were willing to pay for it made it even better. The Commissioner of the Dept. of Public Safety said he supported the rider ed idea but felt that since his Dept. would administer the program it should come directly under him. He wanted the bill to say the program came under the Commissioner of the Dept. of Public Safety rather than under the Board of Public Safety. Motorcyclists didn't see this as a problem and agreed to change the bill to such. SB 450 passed the Senate and the House, the Governor signed it. The program would start as soon as funding was available.
HB 1568 by Rep. Dick Lane, assigned to House Motor Vehicles Committee. This bill increased motorcycle registration fees by $4.00. (From $5.00 to $9.00.) However, in Georgia money is not ear-marked. It all goes into the State General Funds. It is appropriated out every year to the various agencies & programs through a State Budget Bill that must pass the General Assembly each year. Motorcyclists were assured by legislators that the increase on motorcycle registration fees would go to rider education. The bill stated the increase would take effect only if provisions for a rider ed program were in effect. HB 1568 passed the House and Senate, the Governor signed it, the fee increase started January 1, 1985.
HB 230 by Rep. Jerry Jackson, assigned to House Motor Vehicles Committee. This bill would change the increase on motorcycle registration from $4 to $3. The $9.00 registration fee now on motorcycles didn't fit in any other vehicle category in the State's registration codes. $8.00 would fit in with passenger vehicles and keep the State from having to set up a new code. Setting up a new code would cost the State money. The Dept. of Revenue would likely want the cost to come out of the money raised from increased motorcycle registration fees. The annual cost of this would probably be more than $1. Motorcyclists felt it would be better to drop the fees to $8 and get the full $3. HB 230 passed the House and Senate and the Governor signed it.
SB 151 by Sen. Brannon, assigned to Senate Public Safety Committee. This bill would require only those under 21 to wear protective headgear. This bill was exactly the same as HB 723 which had passed the House in the '84 Session and was placed in a Study Committee by the S.PSC. This study committee had held public hearings on the issue during the summer of '84. Motorcyclists felt because of tremendous support for changing the helmet law at these public hearings it could be done. They were told by House leaders who supported the issue that it should pass the Senate first before coming to the House again. Motorcyclists still had positive commitments from enough Senators to get the issue passed if it got to the Senate floor for a vote. However during the '85 Session they were having problems getting SB 151 out of committee. In a meeting with the Lt. Governor he suggested not pushing for a vote then, to try to gain support during the year and see where it stood in the '86 session. Reluctantly motorcyclists decided to do this. All during '85 enough Senators were telling motorcyclists they would vote yes on SB 151 to get it passed by the Senate. Early in the '86 Session SB 151 passed out of the S.PSC. by one vote. Motorcyclists found out the majority of the Senators were surprised this had happened, they didn't think the bill would ever make it out of committee. After the bill passed out of committee it was being said rather than voting on SB 151 on the Senate floor a motion would be made to re-commit the bill to committee. Motorcyclists met with the Lt. Governor asking him not to let this happen. The Lt. Governor told them point blank that he did not personally oppose the bill, but it would be defeated if it came to the Senate floor. No matter what they had been told, the votes simply were not there for it to pass. It was decided to push for a vote anyway. The Lt. Governor assured a vote on SB 151. It was defeated by a 45 to 8 vote. Senators had told motorcyclists that they would vote yes, they had told others they would vote no. Thinking all the time the bill would never get to the Senate floor. The justification for pushing for a vote knowing the bill would be defeated was simply to see who was telling the truth.
SB 477 by Sen. Kidd, assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee. This bill would drastically change the rider education program created by SB 450. During 1985 nothing was being done about the rider education program even though money was being collected. Motorcyclists had tried unsuccessfully to meet with the Commissioner of the Dept. of Public Safety several times to discuss the program. At the request of Motorcyclists Sen. Kidd wrote a letter to the Commissioner demanding that he get the program going. Motorcyclists then learned that the Commissioner's ideas on the program were not at all what they had wanted. The teaching of rider ed would be contracted out much like the so called "drunk driving classes" were. Students would have to pay an extremely high fee to take the courses. The person over seeing the program would be a Junior Trooper in the Ga. State Patrol. Rider ed would not be his only assignment and he wouldn't even have to know how to ride a motorcycle himself. Early in the '86 Session Sen. Kidd told motorcyclists to write a bill stating exactly what they wanted in the rider education program. The bill put the program directly under the Board of Public Safety, it called for a full time Coordinator, who had to be a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Instructor, it directed this Coordinator to set up a rider ed course that at least met MSF standards, it stated all instructors had to be MSF certified, it authorized promotion of motorcycle safety in other areas, such as motorist awareness throughout the state. The bill was introduced as SB 477, it passed the Senate and the House, the Governor signed it. The program starting November 1986.
HB 51 by Rep. Ramsey, assigned to House Motor Vehicles Committee. This bill would make headsets and headphones legal for motorcycle operators. Ga. law. prohibits anyone operating a motor vehicle to wear headsets or headphones. Along about this time many motorcycles were coming equipped with stereo systems that plugged into speakers in helmets or could be used with headsets. Many of these systems had two way capabilities that could communicate with passengers and/or other motorcycles. Motorcyclists felt this was a safety measure rather than being dangerous. However there weren't enough of them pushing the bill to get anything done. HB 51 was never brought up in committee and no action was taken on it.
SB 644 by Sen. Brannon, assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee This bill would require only those under 21 to wear protective headgear. It was exactly the same as SB 151. Following the defeat of SB 151 by the Senate in the previous Session some motorcyclists gave up on changing Ga.'s helmet law. Those who didn't asked Sen. Brannon to introduce another bill just to show there were still those who believed in Freedom of Choice. No action was asked for and none was taken on SB 644 in this term. However since motorcyclists were present and there was a bill before the General Assembly that would change the helmet law it kept the opposition wondering what was going to happen.
HB 280 by Rep. Thompson, assigned to House Motor Vehicles Committee. This bill would make headsets and headphones legal for motorcycle operators. It was exactly like HB 51. More motorcycles were coming equipped with sound systems using helmet speakers. All brands of the big touring bikes had them. Other companies were making systems that could easily be used by motorcyclists. Rider to passenger and rider to other riders communication had become very popular. It was definitely seen as a safety feature and was promoted as such by manufacturers. However convincing the H.MVC the safety factor out weighed the danger factor was not easy. Things stalled on the bill. The Chairman felt that music available through the systems would impair hearing. It looked as if the bill would not get anywhere again, or would be defeated by the committee. In a compromise the chairman offered support if the bill was amended to read, "a person may wear a headset or headphone for communication purposes only while operating a motorcycle", motorcyclists agreed to the amendment. The bill passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.
SB 118 by Sen. Brannon, assigned to Senate Public Safety Committee. This bill also would make headset and headphones legal for motorcycle operators. Many times when talking to a Senator asking for support on a House Bill they say wait and see if it passes the House. They feel it's better not to make a commitment if the issue may never get to the Senate. Motorcyclists came up with the idea of, when possible, introducing the same bill in both bodies. (This has advantages and disadvantages, each must be considered carefully when doing this). Knowing if SB 118 passed the Senate it would go to the House Motor Vehicles Committee, motorcyclists decided to have it read just like the amended HB 280. SB 118 did pass the Senate about the same time HB 280 passed the House. It was then decided that it would be easier to get H8 280 through the Senate than it would be to get SB 118 through the House. All work went to HB 280 with the above results.
SB 381 by Sen. Brannon, assigned to Senate Public Safety Committee. The rider education program, Ga. Motorcycle Safety Program as it was known, was doing very good. Motorcycle fatalities in Ga. had been reduced by 50%. Accidents and injuries had been reduced also. All legislators supported the GMSP. It was suggested to try a bill letting those who had completed a rider ed course ride without wearing helmets. SB 381 would require protective headgear for all motorcycle operators and passengers under 21, any passengers 21 and older could ride without wearing protective headgear, but only persons 21 and older who had successfully completed a motorcycle rider education course could operate a motorcycle while not wearing protective headgear. This bill was somewhat confusing, it was poorly written. It was felt that Legislative Council did not understand the intent of the bill in the draft given them. (In working with a Representative on drafting a similar bill to be introduced in the House, a different version was written, it was HB 1097. It had more requirements for the rider ed completion but was much more popular with legislators.) Although the rider ed course completion requirement had gained support for changing the helmet law in the Senate, SB 381 just didn't have enough support to pass. No action was taken on it in the '89 Session. During the time between the Sessions many Senators told motorcyclists that they would vote for a bill similar to the House version on changing the helmet law.
In about the middle of the '90 Session motorcyclists got the Senate Public Safety committee to amend SB 381 to similar wording as in HB 1097. Also it was added in the amendment that passengers could ride while not wearing protective headgear only if the operator had completed the rider ed course. As amended it passed out of the S.PSC with a "do pass" recommendation. All year motorcyclists had really pushed the success of the GMSP to the legislators. Much information had been sent to them about States having good rider ed programs and no helmet laws having the best safety records. This time it was certain that SB 381, as amended would pass on the Senate floor. It was not to be. The bill had to go through the Senate Rules Committee to get to the Senate floor.
The Medical Association of Georgia and the Head Injury Foundation got a Senator who had a son killed on a motorcycle to ask the Chairman to hold the bill. Unfortunately no motorcyclists from the Chairman's district pushed him to let SB 381 get out of his committee. The Senator whose son had been killed made emotional pleas every day to keep SB 381 in committee. By the time motorcyclists got the Chairman to agree not to hold the bill any longer, the Session was almost over. Time ran out before SB 381 got to the Senate floor.
HB 1097 by Rep. Mike Barnett, assigned to House Motor Vehicles Committee. Briefly, this bill would require everyone under 21 to wear helmets while riding a motorcycle. Passengers 21 and older could ride without wearing protective headgear, the operator could only if he had successfully completed a rider ed course, the operator would have to be able to furnish proof of such completion, and have a proof of completion decal easily visible on the motorcycle. Motorcyclist were told from the beginning by House leaders that the helmet issue would not be heard by the House again until after it had passed the Senate. Rep. Barnett introduced this bill just as a favor to motorcyclists. Motorcyclists agreed not to request any action on HB 1097 unless SB 381 passed the Senate. It did not.
Sen. Brannon did not seek re-election to the Senate. As far as in the State Senate, motorcyclists had lost a true friend and supporter of motorcyclists rights.
HB 158 by Rep. Garnett, assigned to House Motor Vehicles Committee. This bill was exactly the same as the amended SB 381. It said no person under the age of 21 could operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless wearing protective headgear, and any person 21 and older operating a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear must be able to furnish proof of successfully completing a rider ed course, and for a passenger 21 and older to ride without wearing protective headgear the operator must be able to furnish proof of rider ed course completion. Rep. Barnett introduced this bill with the same understanding as before. No action was taken on it.
SB 247 by Sen. White, assigned to the Senate Youth, Aging and Human Ecology Committee. This bill had exact same wording HB 158. It was surprising to motorcyclists when the new Lt. Governor assigned the bill to this committee. Sen. White served on the Senate Public Safety Committee, the issue had always gone in Senate Public Safety Committee. But it did not this time. The Chairman of the S.Y,A, & HE C was totally against Freedom of Choice for motorcyclists. This was hard to understand since he is black. Motorcyclists requested him to make a motion to move the bill to the Public Safety Committee. The Chairman of PSC had agreed to accept it. The Chairman of Y,A,&HE; C did not make a motion to move the bill. Instead he brought it before his committee even though it was not requested to be. It seemed sure SB 247 would be defeated in this committee meeting. However after much testimony from motorcyclists, and requests by them not to kill the bill so early in the Session, it was put in a study committee. This study committee met on the bill, after listening to motorcyclists they voted to recommended that SB 247 be moved to the S PSC. Still the Chairman of the Y,A, & HE C would not move to do so. SB 247 was hopelessly stuck in committee. It remained there throughout the 90/91 Term. No further action was ever taken on it.
HB 1145 by Reps. Porter, Jamieson & Saker assigned to the House Motor Vehicles Committee. This bill was part of the new Governor's "Georgia Rebound" package. It raised registration fees on all motor vehicles in the state. Motorcycles would go from $8 to $20 (as would all passenger vehicles). Even though motorcyclists opposed such a big increase they were told this bill was pretty much a "done deal". It was suggested by legislators rather than oppose the increase, motorcyclists would be better off to work towards getting a bigger percent of registration fees to go to the rider ed program. This was done and funding for the GMSP was approximately doubled that year.
HB 1417 by Rep. Carter, assigned to House Motor Vehicles Committee. This bill would prohibit motorcycle passengers under 10 years old. Rep. Carter told motorcyclists he introduced this bill at the request of a constituent. It seemed a man in his district wanted to keep his son-in-law from riding his grandson on a motorcycle. Because of opposition from motorcyclist in a committee meeting the bill was amended to under 5 years old. After seeing motorcyclists were opposed to the bill Rep Carter said he would not push it any further. No further action was taken.
A Coalition For Safety was formed by motorcyclists. This coalition met weekly during the 1st Session of this term. Because of a direct influence on legislators, especially those on the Appropriations Committees, this coalition, using the increase on registration fees, was successful in getting funding for the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program almost doubled. This was a great accomplishment.
HB 1535 by Rep. Lanett Stanley, co-signed by Reps. Pamela Stanley, Bostick, Teague, Porter, and others, assigned to House Motor Vehicles Committee. This bill would have made fog light use on any motor vehicle legal only during atmospheric conditions of fog or rain. Because some motorcycles are equipped with lights that could be considered fog lights, motorcyclists opposed the bill. In meeting with Rep. Stanley and the Chairman of the H. MV C, motorcyclists explained that such lights on motorcycles were considered a safety feature because they made the motorcycle more visible. Rep. Stanley agreed to change the bill to exclude motorcycles. HB 1535 was amended as such in committee. It passed out of committee but no further action was taken during this term. The following explanations and opinions are from Teri Wooden/State Legislative Director and lobbyist for ABATE of Georgia, Inc.
1995/96 TERM1995/96 Term
HB 227 by Rep. Brian Joyce, assigned to House Motor Vehicles Committee. This bill would modify the existing motorcycle helmet law to include if you pass a state certified motorcycle education course and are over 21, then it is your choice on helmet use. Passed House Motor Vehicles Committee on 2/28/95. No further action taken.
HB 1230 by Rep. Alan Powell, assigned to House Motor Vehicles Committee. This bill reads as of January 1st, 1997, all new motorcycle licenses would not be issued to anyone under 21 unless you have passed a Motorcycle Rider Education Course. The bill also read all those under 21 must wear a helmet. Amended on floor to All ages must pass Rider Ed Course to get a motorcycle license.
HB 1230 passed House of Representatives 2/13/96 by a vote of 99-64
The Lt. Governor put HB 1230 into the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Lt. Governor and the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman had legislation that would eventually go to the House Motor Vehicles Committee, where the sponsor of HB 1230, Rep. Alan Powell, was the Vice-Chairman. We were told in no uncertain terms - you help us, and we won't hinder you. Although Rep. Powell gave more than fair time in committee for the Judiciary Chairs legislation, it lost in full Motor Vehicles Committee. HB 1230 was ready to be heard in the Judiciary Committee immediately after this loss. Rep. Powell was cut off in the middle of a sentence, none of the approximately 17 motorcyclists present were allowed to speak, and a vote was called for. Senator Clay Land motioned do pass, Senator Steve Farrow seconded. Senators Robert Brown and Jake Pollard voted no, Chairwoman Mary Margaret Oliver broke the tie with a no. HB 1230 lost in Judiciary Committee.
On the last day of the 1996 session, Rep. Joey Brush added the language of HB 1230 as an amendment to the Lt. Governor and Senator Oliver's child restraint bill. Also added as amendments to the child restraint bill were the speed limit bill, and the bill that failed House Motor Vehicles Committee - Senator Oliver's' seat belt primary offense bill. At one point during the day we were told if we did not drop the motorcycle helmet amendment they would kill the whole bill. We did not drop the amendment. About 5:00 we were told that if we did not drop the amendment the Reps. involved "could" lose state highway fund money. We discussed this at length with the Reps. involved. The decision was left up to us. We dropped the amendment on the word from the Lt. Governor that the next session he would put it into the proper committee and would not influence the legislation.
SB 438 by Senator Nathan Dean, assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee. This bill would allow for disabled tags and antique tags for motorcyclists. SB 438 Passed the Senate. Toward the end of the 1996 term, the bill was not able to continue thru the committee process in the House of Representatives because they could not let a tag bill get to the floor. It seems there were several tag bills that would have been attached to SB 438 that they could not let out.
Thru the summer of 1996 ABATE found out that legislation was not needed for disabled tags for motorcycles. The code sections were already in place. There are now disabled tags for motorcyclists in Georgia.
SB 86 by Senator Joey Brush, assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee. The bill was put into a sub-committee and a public hearing was held on February 12th, 1997. SB 86 was passed unanimously out of sub-committee on Monday, March 3rd. Two Senators voted yes so that the bill was not stranded in the sub committee. Senator Eric Johnson told me he would vote it out of sub committee but from that point on he would be a no vote. On Thursday March 6th, SB 86 was heard before the full Transportation committee. Each side was given 15 minutes to speak. I had heard that the bill was not to be allowed out. This was proven correct. There were about 7-8 medical related lobbyists and organizations testifying against the bill. They stated the same old statistics about all the head injuries, as well as the huge public burden modifying the law would create. The chairman of Transportation, Steve Thompson, said that if they had wanted to kill the bill they could have, but they wanted to treat us fairly. Senator Thompson had been telling us he did not know how he felt about the bill. He did tell me that if it was a tie he would vote no. At the committee meeting he said that he was against this bill. As chairman, he could not vote except to make a tie or to break a tie. He said that if it was tied, he would vote no so that it died. If we were winning by one vote, he would vote to tie it so that it would die. He said two committee members not there had told him that they were no votes, but since they had been trying to treat us fairly, they would not take this into consideration. He repeated all this a couple of times. At one point Senator Thompson asked where the Dept. of Public Safety was? He said they were here for the fingerprint bill and this did not make him very happy. He asked if there was any law enforcement there. There was not and he said this kind of made him mad. One of the lobbyists said the Dept. was at the foot of the stairs, so they were brought in. They were asked what they thought about SB 86. They said they liked the first part, but weren't real crazy about the second part. Later he said something along the lines of with the mandatory rider ed there they didn't really have much opinion on the second part. This was said pretty low and words were chosen carefully. The Dept. was asked if they would have a hard time distinguishing those 21 and older versus under 21. They said yes. Senator Brush spoke of the "no list" from the Board of Public Safety. The chairman asked the Dept. about this, we gave them a copy of the helmet law and the letter from the Dept. stating there is not now or ever been a list of approved protective headgear, and the Dept. was asked to check into it.
Senator Don Cheeks spoke in favor of SB 86, made the do-pass recommendation, Senator Steve Langford seconded the motion. Senators Cheeks, Langford, Senator Mike Crotts, and Senator Richard Marable voted yes. All others on the committee voted no. Senators Eric Johnson and Charlie Tanksley were out of town and not available for the meeting. SB 86 failed by a vote of 6-4.
There were Senators who told us or had us believe that they were a yes vote. My understanding is, that two days before the committee meeting votes were changed by the powers that be.
The motorcyclists of Georgia received much praise for the respectable way we represented ourselves at the Capitol. This is gaining us positive recognition. But we got lied to again. I believe we did come closer this year to having the votes on the Senate floor than we have before. However, I also believe there are those that tell us they're a yes and they really aren't. We need a vote from the Senate floor to see who is telling us the truth and who is not.
HB 695 by Representative Ralph Twiggs, assigned to the House Public Safety Committee. This was basically a housekeeping bill by the Dept. of Public Safety that would put the coordination of the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program directly under the Commissioner of Public Safety. It would also change some of the qualifications for coordinator. The bill said that the coordinator need not have a valid motorcycle license, or need to be a certified motorcycle safety instructor. HB 695 passed the House unaimously on March 7th. by a vote of 154-0.
As of March 18th, HB 695 is in the Senate Transportation Committee, scheduled to be heard on March 19th.
-- DISCLAIMER --
The foregoing is provided as educational information only and is not legal advice.