News from Rep. Pam Dickerson | Georgia House District 113
March 17, 2015
Rep. Pam Dickerson

The past week was the busiest of the year so far for the Georgia General Assembly. March 13 was the 30th legislative day, also known as Crossover Day, which is the deadline for most legislation to pass either the House of Representatives or the Senate in time to be considered by the other chamber this year.

Please feel free to contact me with your views on the issues facing our state, or whenever I can be of service. Thank you for allowing me to continue to serve you in the Georgia General Assembly.

Rep. Pam Dickerson 

Rep. Dickerson presents HB 131, The End to Cyberbullying Act, to the House of Representatives. The legislation was approved by a vote of 140 to 26.
  Rep. Dickerson thanks Bradford Farley, pictured along with Brenda Farley, for his service as a page in the House of Representatives.

Georgia State Capitol
Rep. Dickerson's End to Cyberbullying legislation receives House approval 


On March 13, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve The End to Cyberbullying Act, which I introduced to expand public school policies on anti-bullying to include any bullying that occurs over the Internet.

Under HB 131, bullying would be prohibited through the use of technological equipment such as cell phones, wireless communication devices, computers, email, instant messaging, etc.


The End to Cyberbullying Act would apply to any case of cyberbullying, regardless of whether the act originated on school property, using school equipment, or off campus through personal cell phones and social media websites. With the popularity and increased use of technology in today's society, this legislation is necessary to address a common problem among our youth.


According to the National Crime Prevention Council, 43 percent of teens were victims of cyberbullying in the last year, and another study found that cyberbullying victims were almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide compared to youth who had not experienced cyberbullying. Because cyberbullying has such a profound impact on the happiness and health of our students, it is necessary that we take precautions to combat this detrimental act.


HB 131 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.


House approves criminal justice reform measure


As the next step in Georgia's highly successful criminal justice reforms of the past several years, the House voted March 11 to approve legislation proposed by Gov. Nathan Deal that would combine the supervision functions of three state agencies into a new Department of Community Supervisions.


Under HB 310, the new combined agency would assume the current supervisory functions of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Corrections. The proposal is designed to streamline government oversight and communications, save tax dollars and improve the delivery of justice in our state.


Just last month, the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform reported a reduction in the growth rate of adults behind bars, the near elimination of a backlog of state inmates being placed in county jails and a 62 percent decline in juvenile offenders locked up in state facilities.


These improvements are the result of reforms aimed at using less-expensive counseling and supervision for non-violent offenders, while freeing up prison beds for the most dangerous criminals. It is also in the interest of the state to reduce the criminal recidivism rate and ensure that inmates completing their sentences are able to re-enter society as productive citizens instead of returning to criminal behavior. HB 310 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.


House majority votes in favor of legalizing fireworks in Georgia


On March 9, a majority of House members approved legislation that would legalize the sale of all fireworks in Georgia, where only sparklers can currently be sold lawfully.


Under HB 110, firework sales would be regulated by the Commissioner of Insurance, who also serves as the State Fire Marshal. Fireworks dealers would be required to pay an initial license fee of $5,000, followed by annual renewal payments of $1,000. HB 110 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.


House approves New Markets Jobs Act


On March 11, House members voted overwhelmingly to approve HB 439, the New Markets Jobs Acts, which would assist underserved and rural areas by establishing an investment fund to help put more capital investments for small businesses in those areas.


Through tax credits, New Markets initiatives help entrepreneurial small businesses owners create private sector jobs and expand their businesses. The success of the federal New Markets program has encouraged 14 states to enact similar legislation.


Studies of the federal and state programs show they pay for themselves by creating more new revenue, which exceeds the cost of the tax credits. HB 439 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.


Other legislation approved by the House and sent to the Senate in the past week includes:

  • HB 17, the Hidden Predator Act, which would increase the statute of limitations for filing civil claims in cases of child sex abuse from five years to 35 years.
  • HB 48, which would allow law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders who have sustained a major injury on the job to receive special license plates.
  • HB 225, which would require drivers for ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, to undergo criminal background checks and require the companies to pay state sales tax or an annual fee for each car in their networks.
  • HB 230, which would establish a consistent process and calculation method for compensating persons who serve prison terms for wrongful convictions.
  • HB 237, which would extend until 2020 the state income tax credit for angel investors, individuals who invest in small, startup businesses.
  • HB 303, which would penalize insurance companies $25,000 or more when found to have acted in bad faith for denying payment of a policy owner's claim.
  • HB 308, which would increase the state income tax credit for rehabilitating a certified historic structure from $300,000 to $5 million.
  • HB 314, which would consolidate the state boards that oversee licensed barbers and cosmetologists.
  • HB 370, which would authorize the Republican and Democratic legislative caucuses to make campaign expenditures and would grant a grace period for local candidates to comply with state ethics commission campaign disclosure filings.
  • HB 393, which would allow Tesla to sell cars directly to consumers without opening independent dealerships.
  • HB 397, which would administratively move the Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission under the Department of Agriculture, keeping the agency intact and creating a new statewide governing board made up of five members from different geographic regions.
  • HB 461, which would strengthen Georgia's metal theft laws by imposing stricter conditions on the sale of scrap catalytic converters to secondary metal recyclers.
  • HB 474, which would allow educationally disadvantaged students and military students to be included in Charter School enrollment policy.
  • HB 475, which would expand the legal allowed period for hunting feral hogs without a license.
  • HB 514, which would authorize a referendum to create a City of South Fulton.
  • HB 515, which would authorize a referendum to create a City of Tucker in DeKalb County.
  • HB 520, which would authorize a referendum to create a City of LaVista Hills in DeKalb County.
  • HB 535, which would allow local governments where Sunday alcohol sales are already legal to authorize restaurant to sell drinks beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.
House members defeated HB 338, a proposal to add a $5 fee to all traffic citations to pay the costs of implementing an electronic citation system.


Rep. Dickerson's Legislation
Recent action on legislation sponsored or co-sponsored by Rep. Pam Dickerson:

HB 103 Kelsey's Law; enact (approved by House, referred to Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee)

HB 131 The End to Cyberbullying Act; enact (approved by House)

HB 577 Rockdale County; Redevelopment Powers Law; provide a referendum (referred to House Intragovernmental Coordination Committee)

Click here for all of Rep. Dickerson's 2015-2016 legislation.

Contact Rep. Dickerson
At the Capitol:
611-E Coverdell Legislative Office Building, Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone 404-656-0314
In the District:
P.O. Box 1016, Conyers, GA 30013
Phone 678-207-6043