Brian Kemp Signs Legislation to Stop Local Governments in Georgia from Defunding the Police


Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp this week signed House Bill 286, which prohibits local governments in Georgia from defunding the police.

Georgia State Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) sponsored the legislation.

According to an emailed press release, Kemp signed the legislation just outside of Athens. Athens city officials, along with those in Atlanta, recently considered proposals to slash local police budgets.

Georgia is now one of the only states in the nation with a law explicitly protecting law enforcement officers when local officials want to defund them, the press release said.

“Over the last year, we’ve seen radical calls to defund the police in cities across the nation. In cities like Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Portland — where local governments have slashed police budgets, [and] crime has skyrocketed. Now those cities are working to restore that funding, and I’m glad to see them come to their senses — but it’s too late for the crimes that have been committed, the damage that has been done to those communities, and the lives lost,” Gaines said at the signing ceremony.

“Georgia, too, has seen calls to defund the police. Over the last several months, Atlanta and Athens have considered proposals to slash police funding. In Atlanta, an effort to cut $73 million from the police budget only failed by one vote on the city council. Last year in Athens, just down the road in my hometown, there was a proposal by county commissioners to cut 50 percent of the police budget. And that’s why I brought this bill forward. When the proposal to cut 50 percent was released, I heard from folks across the political spectrum concerned. I knew we had to do something. Listen, I support local control, but when you have local governments that are out of control, I knew we had to act.”

Gaines said murders in Atlanta are currently up 60 percent while shootings there are up 51 percent.

“Now is the time to invest in law enforcement. We need to increase the pay of our police officers, add money in the budget for more resources, and stand by those who keep our communities safe,” Gaines said.

“Because the reality is: defunding the police is a radical movement that will endanger our families and our law enforcement officers alike.”

Members of the Georgia Municipal Association and the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia said they disagreed with the bill when Gaines introduced it in February.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Defund the Police Sign” by Mike Shaheen. CC BY 2.0.











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  1. […] throughout the state from defunding police. Georgia State Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) sponsored the legislation. This after officials in Atlanta and Athens proposed slashing local police budgets. […]