February 25, 2003
A Georgia Senate committee approved an HIV assault bill on Feb. 18, pushing legislation opposed by some gay and HIV activists a step closer to a full Senate vote. The State Institutions & Property Committee voted 8-2 to move SB 20 out of committee, passing it to the Rules Committee and possibly a later floor vote. Gay and HIV activists, including officials with Georgia Equality Project and AID Atlanta, attended the legislative hearing to protest the bill. The bill originally stated that it would "prohibit assault with body fluids, saliva or feces by a person infected with HIV or hepatitis against a peace officer or correctional officer." The bill's sponsor, Sen. Carol Jackson (D-Cleveland), amended the bill at the request of activists, removing the word "saliva." In other news, the Senate's Insurance & Labor Committee two weeks ago passed the Anti-Mandate Bill (SB 50) that would create a new class of insurance for companies in the state with fewer than 100 employees. Lobbyists said the measure would no longer require insurance companies to cover mammograms, Pap smears, or birth control.