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Mar. 29 - 12:45 p.m. - Senate Amends Crime Bill HB 917 that Will Undo the City of Savannah's Fines on Grocers' Abandoned Carts

By Lou Phelps, Brunswick Business Journal

March 29, 2018 - Georgiia grocers successful got an amendment added to a crime bill that stops local governments from fining grocery or retails stores that have shopping carts if they are left around the community. 

The amendment, if it survives in the House today, will wipe out months of work by the Savannah City Council that has been working to address neighborhood blight from a number of different directions.

Amendment #1 was offered by Sen. Rene Utterman, stating that her amendment would help Georgia grocers that are already operating at a low profit margin, and are facing further competition by online grocery shopping. 

The amendment states, "No local law, ordinace or resolution shall subject a commercial retail establishment to a criminal punishment or civil penalty as a result of theft of a shopping cart from such establishings." 

Sen. Ben Watson opposed the amendment, explaining it was aimed at the local ordinance that Savannah recently passed, and that it was one more measure that takes away local control by the General Assembly.  Sen. Lester Jackson also voted to oppose the amendment. 

The City of Savannah imposed a process to require grocers to retreive their carts, or face fines. He also argued that the amendment be ruled non germaine. But it was allowed to stand, and passed 26 – 17.  

The amended crime bill now moves back to the House as of 12:45 p.m. 


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