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Georgia Legislature

July 1 to Bring Host of New Laws for Georgians

July 1 marks the start of the second half of the year, but it’s also the ‘effective date’ for a number of new laws passed by the legislature earlier this year. 

Here’s a list of the bills set to take effect Thursday:

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COVID-19
  • HBl 112 – extends COVID-19 liability protections for Georgia businesses and hospitals into the summer of 2022
Law Enforcement
  • HB 286 – prohibits local governments from slashing policing budgets by more than 5% without extenuating circumstances 
Taxes
  • HB 317 – extends the state tax on hotel and motel rooms to “marketplace facilitators” including Airbnb and Vrbo.
  • HB 593 — increases the standard deduction for state income taxes
    • married couples filing jointly — by $1,100
    • married couples filing separately — $550
    • single taxpayers — by $800
    • Georgians ages 65+ — by $1,300
Reduction in Regulation
  • HB 617 – Allows student athletes at colleges, universities, and tech schools in Georgia to receive compensation for their name, work products, and other things.
  • SB 119 – Allows for burning of trash and yard debris without burn notifications to the governing agency under some circumstances.
More Regulation
  • HB 94 – Makes it a felony offense to:
    • Be in possession of 10+ pieces of stolen mail for 3+ recipients
    • Steal 3+ envelopes, packages, etc from the porch of another residence
  • HB 353 – Requires drivers, when passing a bicyclist, to make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the bike if possible in the existing road and traffic conditions. If that isn’t possible, drivers must reduce the speed “to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions,” which speed shall be at least 10 MPH less than the posted speed limit or 25 MPH, whichever is more, and proceed around the bicycle with at least 3 feet between such vehicle and the bike. Failure to do so is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $250.
  • HB 410 – Moves the regulation of BINGO games from the GBI to the Secretary of State’s Office
  • HB 446 – Joshua’s Law driver training will be added to the list of requirements for 17-year-olds to complete prior to being issued a Class D driver’s license. (The law will also allow any 17 YO who elects to join the U.S. military to be exempt from holding a Class D license before obtaining a Class C license)
  • SB 32 – adds to the list of items exempt under the Georgia Open Records Act to include home addresses and personal cell phone numbers of public employees
Regulation of Government
  • HB 370 – prohibits individuals from serving on a hospital authority for more than three consecutive terms, or 12 years, whichever is longer. This only applies to hospital authorities that operate or lease a hospital containing more than 900 licensed beds.
  • HB 511 – which requires the state to use dedicated funds for their intended purpose instead of depositing the money into the General Fund for general use
  • SB 6 – to determine whether or not the economic impact of tax breaks for certain industries ‘makes sense,’ each year, up to five tax credit programs will be subject to independent audits
Victims of Crime
  • HB 231 – Expands the applicability of protective orders for stalking to include individuals who were in a ‘dating relationship’
  • SB 34 – Allows victims of human trafficking to go through the process to change their name without disclosing their doing so to the public
  • SB 75 – Allows individuals who have taken out civil or criminal protective orders for stalking against another person to cancel their residential lease without penalty
  • SB 117 – Enhances penalties for persons convicted of dangerous sexual offenses like rape, child molestation, sexual battery, and extends to trafficking and kidnapping

You can see all of the bills signed into law by Governor Kemp earlier this year in this link. Many took effect upon his signature while others won’t be enacted until January 1, 2022. 

Jessica Szilagyi
Written By

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of The Georgia Virtue. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta, a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast,' and she has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers." Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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