Legislation creating a new classification of bars in Georgia, a direct answer to a Forsyth County teen’s death last year, overwhelmingly passed the state House on Friday.
House Bill 152, by Rep. Geoff Duncan, R-Cumming, was introduced in the wake of the death in August of 18-year-old Michael Gatto. Gatto was a student at Georgia Southern University when he was beaten and left unconscious outside a Statesboro bar.
A former bouncer at the bar, named Rude Rudy’s, was charged with aggravated assault in the beating. Rude Rudy’s later closed and its owner surrendered its liquor license.
Duncan’s bill would only apply to businesses where 75 percent or more of revenue comes from the sale of alcohol. It requires these bars and city or county governments to more quickly notify the Department of Revenue when it is cited for an alcohol violation. It also requires all bar bouncers to be 21 or older and bans anyone under the age of 21 from entering bars.
The bill now goes to the Senate.