New bill would impose harsher penalties for street racers in Georgia

Georgia lawmakers are considering harsher penalties for street racers across the state.

On Wednesday, a Senate judiciary subcommittee discussed the "Jaye Mize Law," which is named after a DeKalb County woman. According to her family, Jaye Sanford was killed in a crash that was a result of street racing.

"Our laws need to be strengthened because this activity has grown in popularity," said Sen. Emanuel Jones.

How does S.B.10 work?

Jones told FOX 5 more needs to be done to address street racing across the state. That's why Jones introduced S.B. 10, which imposes harsher penalties for street racers. It also would require a special registration for high-power cars that are often used by street racers.

"They should know that the state of Georgia is very serious about this, because not only are the drivers of these cars going to be punished, but we're going to look at the organizers, and we're going to look at those that are actively participating," said Jones.

At a Senate Judiciary subcommittee meeting on Wednesday, lawmakers heard from several people about the bill. Sanford's mother-in-law spoke to the subcommittee about her daughter-in-law who was killed and expressed her support of the law.

"t's not a racial issue. This is an issue about life. This is a growing crisis," said Bobbie Sanford.

Sen. Jones said he has already made changes to the bill after talking with stakeholders in the community. Organizations like the Southern Center for Human Rights told FOX 5 lawmakers should reconsider moving forward with this bill.

"There is no version of this bill that will include increasing penalties or creating new crimes that we will ever accept," said Marissa Dodson, the Public Policy Director for the Southern Center.

What happens if S.B.10 passes?

If passed, the bill would impose increased penalties for drag racing. As the bill stands, a first offense would impose a mandatory $1,000 fine and six driver's license points. The South Center said the state already has laws that criminalize drag racing and creating more laws won't solve the problem.

"What we are asking lawmakers to do is to be thoughtful and creative here, and maybe what we need is a study committee, maybe what we need to do is be studying this and bringing in the experts," said Dodson.

The subcommittee did not vote on SB 10 on Wednesday, but it's likely the subcommittee could take it up again or it could be passed on to a regular committee.

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