Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Laws Affect Many

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Laws Affect Many

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Beginning tomorrow, the state will place additional

restrictions on young drivers, crabbers and doctors who perform

abortions.

Also tomorrow, the state will increase unemployment benefits,

add a character curriculum to public schools and allow child

molesters to be chemically castrated.

Those changes and more are included in the jumble of new laws

making their way onto statute books tomorrow.

Under the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act, a

graduated system of licensing will delay full, unrestricted

licensure until age 18.

Drivers under 21 can lose their license if convicted of driving

while under the influence, going 24 mph or more over the speed

limit, purchasing alcohol for minors, eluding police, reckless

driving or hit-and-run.

There also will be what amounts to a zero alcohol tolerance

level for young drivers -- a .02 blood/alcohol content will

constitute a DUI.

Drunken driving laws also get tougher for adults, with the

elimination of the "no contest" plea that has allowed first-time

offenders to avoid license suspension.

"Georgia is now going to have the toughest Teenage and Adult

Driver Responsibility Act in the United States," said state

Public Safety Commissioner Sid Miles.

"This helps teenagers become more qualified drivers, and it

assures that those who do get their licenses will be better

prepared than ever to meet the challenges of Georgia's busy

highways today," said Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard, who promoted the

act.

The most contentious debate of the 1997 General Assembly

session was over a bill banning partial-birth abortions.

A House committee initially stalled the bill, which was similar

to one passed by Congress last year but vetoed by President

Clinton.

Republicans and conservative Democrats filibustered for days,

and Howard eventually let a version of the measure out of the

Senate. The bill then overwhelmingly passed the House. …

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