The Georgia House has approved mandatory 25-year sentences for some sex offenses and lifetime electronic monitoring for the worst violators, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The bill, which sponsors say could lead to the nation’s toughest sex offender law, passed 144-27 after nearly four hours of contentious debate. The 25-year term wold apply to a new crime of aggravated assault with the intent to rape a child under 14. Kidnapping a child in that age range also carries a sentence of 25 to 50 years.
The sweeping measure, which must clear the Senate, increases penalties for some crimes against adults. For example, the minimum sentence for rape would go from 10 years to 25 years in prison. Some debate focused on cost, including the likelihood that the state could end up spending $1 billion over 10 years to implement the bill. State Rep. David Ralston, whose committee considered the bill, dismissed what he called critics’ wailing and hand-wringing. Ralston said he hadn’t heard much concern for crime victims.