Georgia Senate passes hot car bill

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ATLANTA - The Georgia Senate passed a bill Tuesday that ensures people will not get sued if they break into a hot car to save a child or an elderly person.

Senate Bill 34 passed with 50 yays and two nays. The bill protects good Samaritans if they break into a car to free a stranded child or elderly person.

Channel 2’s Craig Lucie was in the Senate chamber Tuesday when State Sen. Greg Kirk introduced his bill and explained why he took it upon himself to write it.

“It's a tragic thing and unfortunately we are hearing more and more about it,” Kirk said.

Kirk, of Americus, is the bill’s primary sponsor. While speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, he shared a story about a 6-year-old named Sydney Stanley, from Augusta.
 
“Unfortunately, sometime later, she was found in the vehicle, and they tried to resuscitate her and they were not able,” Kirk said.
 
Kirk's bill also comes less than a year after the death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris, who died in a hot car in Cobb County last June. Police charged the boy's father, Justin Ross Harris, with murder.
 
Harris told police he forgot his son was in the car when he went to work.
 
Kirk says that case and too many others came to mind as he worked on the language of Senate Bill 34.
 
“When I looked into it, I realized we had 37 children a year dying from this across country,” Kirk said.
 
The bill states in order to qualify for immunity, you must first make sure all the doors are locked and can't simply be opened. You must also believe the child or elderly person is in imminent danger to break a car window and then you must call police and wait until authorities arrive.
 
“I like it being called a common sense bill. That's exactly the way I thought about it as I crafted it,” Kirk told Lucie.

The house will most likely assign the bill to a committee Wednesday. If it passes both the house committee and house floor, then it goes to Gov. Nathan Deal before it becomes a state law.


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