Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker announced today that two pieces of legislation he is seeking passage of have been introduced in the Senate. The legislation is aimed at protecting citizens of this State from domestic violence and consumer fraud. "These issues are extremely important to me, both personally and as Attorney General of Georgia," said Baker. The first piece of legislation, Senate Bill 510 introduced by Senators Sonny Perdue, Mary Margaret Oliver and Connie Stokes, is the "Crimes Against Family Members Act of 1998." It creates new crimes of "family violence" and imposes mandatory jail time for first offenders and mandatory minimum jail time on all individuals convicted of those crimes. "Georgia already has the toughest laws against violent crime in the nation," says Baker, "and we ought to have the toughest laws in the nation against domestic violence as well. Domestic violence tears at the very fabric of family life."

The second piece of legislation, Senate Bill 513 introduced by Senators Charles Walker, Ed Harbison, Nathan Dean and Richard Marable, would create the new crime of "financial identity fraud." This legislation, the "Personal Financial Security Act," would authorize the Attorney General to prosecute criminals who steal information, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, driver's license numbers, or PIN numbers, for the purpose of accessing an individual's financial records. "With the proliferation of personal identification numbers and the growing access to personal information via computer networks, it is imperative that Georgia consumers be protected from fraud by unscrupulous con artists whose only goal is to use this information to steal their money," says Baker. According to Barry Reid, head of the Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs, "the theft of personal information is becoming more and more prevalent in Georgia, and laws such as the one proposed by Attorney General Baker will greatly assist in the fight against consumer fraud."

Baker is optimistic that both bills will pass in this legislative session.