Rep. Andy Welch Announces Final Passage of Senate Bill 8 and Senate Resolution 7
ATLANTA— State Representative Andy Welch (R-McDonough) today announced the final passage of Senate Resolution 7 and Senate Bill 8 by the House and Senate last week. This legislation would establish a Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund Commission and toughen the fines and penalties against sex traffickers.
“As a sponsor of similar legislation in the House this session, HB 244 and HR 223, I am extremely pleased to see Senate Bill 8 and its accompanying resolution pass both chambers and now head to Governor Deal for his consideration,” said Rep. Welch. “I would like to thank my Senate colleague, and the sponsor of SB 8 and SR 7, Senator Renee Unterman, for her work on this legislation to ensure its passage. Unfortunately, human tracking is a very real problem in our state, and especially in the metro Atlanta area, and as legislators, it is our duty to combat these horrific crimes and offenses and protect the victims in any way possible.”
Senate Bill 8 establishes the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund Commission and creates a separate fund in the state treasury called the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund. The 8 member commission may allow money from the fund to be disbursed for the purposes of providing rehabilitative and social services to sexually exploited children. The commission may recommend to the Governor and General Assembly changes in programs, laws, budgets, etc. relating to the care and rehabilitation of sexually exploited children, changes to improve conditions among agencies that provide care to such children, and changes to improve the condition of such children who are in need of rehabilitative and social services.
SB 8 also requires the imposition of an additional penalty of $2,500.00 in any case where a fine has been imposed on a defendant who is over the age of 18 for trafficking a person for sexual servitude. The additional fines are allocated to the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund. This legislation also requires that those convicted of trafficking to register on the State Sexual Offender Registry.
Under SB 8, the Department of Human Services is required to develop a plan for delivering services to sexually exploited children, trafficking victims, and children or persons at risk for becoming victims. The plan must identify children who need services, provide assistance with applying for government benefits and services, coordinate the delivery of services, prepare materials to increase awareness of such services, develop and maintain community based services, provide assistance with family reunification or repatriation to a country of origin, and assist law enforcement officers with identifying children in need of such services.
Senate Resolution 7 is the companion constitutional amendment for SB 8 which dedicates the funding derived from penalties and fees on the adult entertainment industry to provide for rehabilitative services for minors who have been trafficked for sexual servitude.
SR 7 and SB 8 will now go to Governor Deal for his consideration.
For more information on SR 7, please click here.
For more information on SB 8, please click here.
Representative Andrew Welch represents the citizens of District 110, which includes portions of Butts, Henry, and Newton Counties. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2010, and currently serves as the Vice Chairman on the Code Revisions Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Economic Development. He also serves on the Judiciary, Juvenile Justice, and Regulated Industries committees.
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