It’s July 1. Do you know what Georgia’s new laws are?
The start of the month has traditionally been a big day for legislation passed by Georgia lawmakers to take effect, not least because it coincides with the start of the new fiscal year. This year, while many high-profile bills took effect during or soon after the legislative session, others officially go on the book starting Tuesday:
House Bill 744: The state’s official budget for fiscal 2015, some $20.8 billion worth.
House Bill 845: This law will keep mug shots secret in most cases until a defendant’s case is settled. It aims to prevent unscrupulous websites that collect mug shots from police agencies from demanding money from individuals who have been found not guilty before removing the photos from the site. Media outlets may still request a copy of a mug shot in writing if they agree to be held criminally liable if the photo ends up on one of the questionable sites.
House Bill 990: The new law is the biggest roadblock yet to expanding Medicaid in Georgia under the Affordable Care Act — taking the power to expand Medicaid away from the governor and giving it to the General Assembly.
Senate Bill 23: Dubbed the “Stacey Nicole English Act,” after a 36-year-old Buckhead woman found dead two years ago after a monthlong search, SB 23 aims to speed up action in reported missing person cases. It prohibits Georgia law enforcement agencies from establishing a “minimum waiting period” before they act on a missing person report. It also defines a “medically endangered person” and adds these individuals to the provisions of the state Mattie’s Call Act, a state alert system used to locate missing elderly or disabled people.
Senate Bill 213: Dubbed the “Flint River Drought Protection Act,” the law is a compromise between environmentalists and the state to address how the state protects threatened wildlife when drought hits the Flint River Basin.
Senate Bill 273: Although Georgia currently has the highest rate of all states in the deaths of women during pregnancy or childbirth, the number is believed to be underreported. The new law creates a Maternal Mortality Review Committee through the Department of Public Health in order to study the issue and recommend ways to reduce the rate.
Senate Bill 274: Creates the Georgia Capitol Agricultural History Museum within the Gold Dome to teach visitors about the state’s biggest industry. The Capitol already houses the state’s general history museum.
Senate Bill 288: Georgia’s high school athletic leagues will have to produce annual financial documents and submit to legislative oversight under the new law. It stemmed in part from lawmakers’ concerns about the Georgia High School Association, the largest prep sports league in the state, which had revenue of $4.7 million in 2013 but was not required to disclose how that money was raised or spent.
Senate Bill 301: Georgia had been one of only four states that barred wood from school construction. Under the new law, school districts will still have to meet all building code requirements when building a new campus. Still, they could save money by opting to use wood framing.
Senate Bill 365: The new law, the third step in Deal’s efforts to overhaul criminal justice, requires corrections officials to create a program to help prepare inmates to re-enter society, such as treatment plans and vocational training.
Senate Bill 386: The new law aims to protect sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, taxpayer ID numbers and financial account numbers from being fully listed in public court filings. Mandates that when those accounts or numbers are required, they only be identified by the last four digits.
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