Savannah City Council reacts to legislative agenda failures

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The effort to rename the Talmadge Bridge faces some major obstacles if it's going to happen this year.

The initial house resolution proposing the name change is dead. Barring a major change, the name won't change.

The name issue was the number one legislative issue for them. However, there are other measures on their legislative agenda that didn't pass as well. The name of the Talmadge Bridge proved to be a divisive issue in 2017. City leaders said there is nothing they can do about it. That's why they asked the state to pass the bill.

"We're just outside looking in. Hopefully, we were hoping the Senate and the House would take care of that so we can move forward," Mayor Eddie DeLoach said.

The bill did not make it on the floor for a vote. Now, the name change would need to be attached to a bill that did cross over. An amendment would need to be approved to come back up.

"Well, just leave it to them and maybe we can get back to it next year and see what the possibilities are next year," Mayor Deloach said.

The other big legislative item to fail is an expanded effort to confiscate stolen weapons. The city wanted the legislature to allow law enforcement agencies to destroy confiscated guns. Right now, they must sell them back to gun shops.

"It doesn't make any sense to me that we would see what happens in Florida, and thank God we have not been victimized in Georgia, but yet when we have the opportunity to do something legislatively in Atlanta, it doesn't happen," Alderman Van Johnson said.

Alderman Johnson started an initiative to buy back guns from young people. That organization faced scrutiny and even an investigation before being declared legal. Johnson said allowing law enforcers to destroy these guns would make things easier.

"I'm tired of illegal guns being used for aggravated assaults and homicides and suicides involving a gun. Unfortunately, we have to take it into our own hands to help save some lives in our community," Johnson said.

Another effort that failed is expanding Georgia's statute for charging juvenile offenders. A bill that would have allowed district attorneys to prosecute juvenile aggravated assault suspects as adults failed.

There was one victory for the city. A bill that would eliminate local restrictions on short-term vacation rental failed.

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