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Georgia governor signs law to protect police, plans special session to fix tax bill

Georgia Capitol
Georgia Capitol(WRDW)
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 7:23 AM EDT
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ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is signing into law a new measure providing additional legal protections to police officers.

Critics say the measure is flawed and out of step with nationwide efforts to make officers more accountable for their actions.

House Bill 838 creates a new crime: bias- motivated intimidation. The crime would apply to anyone who caused the death or serious injury of a police officer, firefighter or emergency medical technician. It also would apply any time someone caused more than $500 in damage to property owned by first responders.

The measure was passed after Republicans added, then stripped police protections from a separate bill penalizing hate crimes.

What’s ahead?

Kemp says he plans to call a special session of the state Legislature in order to fix a technical error on a bill that exempts hurricane relief payments from certain taxes.

Kemp said in a statement that he signed House Bill 105 Wednesday despite the problem.

The bill shields farmers from having to pay state income tax on relief payments received after 2018′s Hurricane Michael.

It also imposes a 50-cent tax on ride-hailing services, taxis and limousines instead of leaving them subject to higher, regular sales taxes. Kemp said the bill was assigned an incorrect tracking number during the legislative process, which could open it to a legal challenge.

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