FORSYTH COUNTY — District 26 state Rep. Geoff Duncan watched as Gov. Nathan Deal recently signed his first bill into law.
"Having my family at my side during the bill signing was very important to me because of all the sacrifices they make on my behalf to be a legislator and gave them a chance to see the fruits of our labor," said Duncan, a Republican from Forsyth County.
“[The signing] was very rewarding … because of all the hard work that went into not only drafting this legislation, but successfully carrying it through the exhaustive legislative process."
The measure, House Bill 749, dubbed the Cargo Theft Act, was worth the effort, said Duncan, who added that Georgia ranks third in the nation in cargo theft.
The measure imposes penalties, including prison time and lofty fines based on the value of theft.
For thefts of less than $10,000, the penalty is prison from one to 10 years and fines of up to $100,000. Thefts valued at $1 million or more can carry a prison sentence as high as 30 years, with a fine of up to $1 million.
The law also gives the Georgia Bureau of Investigation original jurisdiction, so it can handle the criminal activity regardless where the crime was committed.
Duncan said organized crime has moved into Georgia and is "taking advantage of our soft laws against cargo theft.”
“This bill sends a strong statement to these sophisticated criminals that this state is serious about protecting the businesses that call Georgia home,” he said.