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Some of the Laws That Went Into Effect July 1, 2024

Courtesy of Rep. Leesa Hagan

Tax Cuts & Truth in Government Fees HB 1015: Income Tax Cut for Individuals Final Bill Summary: The state individual income tax rate has been lowered from 5.49% to 5.39%. HB 1023: Income Tax Cut for Corporations Final Bill Summary: The corporate income tax rate will be the same as the individual income tax rate.

Previously, the corporate rate was 5.75%. Aligning these two rates is important for Georgia families because MOST corporations in Georgia are small family businesses.

SB 340: Tax Cut for Farmers Final Bill Summary: It extends the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) to diesel exhaust fluid used for agricultural purposes. HB 461: Regulatory Fees

Final Bill Summary: It amends Georgia Code relating to the imposition of regulatory fees by local governments, to require the proceeds of regulatory fees collected by a local government to be used for the related regulatory activity and not the general operations of the local government.

Additionally, 'registered investment advisors', 'shooting galleries and firearm ranges', and 'firearms dealers' are added to a list of businesses to which local governments may not charge a regulatory fee.

Public Safety/Child Safety SB 335: Protecting Children from Incest Final Bill Summary: Known as the 'Safeguarding Adopted Children from Sexual Violence Act,’ the bill expands the crime of incest to include those whose familial relationships are created by adoption.

HB 404: Protecting Communities from Slum Lords Final Bill Summary: The bill, relating to landlords and tenants, requires that rental properties are fit for human habitation. The bill includes cooling as a utility that cannot be shut off prior to an eviction action. Landlords are prohibited from requiring a security deposit that exceeds two months' rent. A tenant, when they fail to pay charges owed to landlord, is afforded a three business day written notice period prior to an eviction proceeding being filed. The eviction notice will be posted conspicuously on the property door in a sealed envelope and delivered via any methods agreed to in the rental agreement.

In essence, this law protects renters from “slum lords,” which in turn protects the general public from unsightly and blighted properties. These have a negative effect on the property values in the community.

HB 409: School Bus Safety

Final Bill Summary: The bill requires public school systems to consider bus routes that do not cause a student boarding a school bus to cross roadways with a speed limit of 40 miles per hour or greater.

Individuals who pass a stopped school bus that is picking up children are guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor, and will either be assessed a fine of at least $1,000, face confinement of no less than 12 months, or both, upon conviction. HB 500: Arson of Law Enforcement Vehicles Final Bill Summary: The bill creates the offense of arson of a law enforcement vehicle. Any person convicted of the offense is punished by a fine up to $100,000 or by imprisonment for a minimum of five years with a maximum of 20 years, or both. HB 827: Livestock Theft

Final Bill Summary: HB 827 increases the penalty for the crime of livestock theft to between two years and 15 years imprisonment, and increases the maximum fine to $10,000. If the fair market value of the livestock is $100 or less, the punishment is increased to a high and aggravated misdemeanor. The Department of Agriculture commissioner is provided with authority to enforce this crime.

HB 993: Grooming Minors for Abuse Final Bill Summary: HB 993 creates a criminal penalty for those who groom a minor through a pattern of activity or communication, and either through a third party or through the use of electronic means to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce that minor to engage in a sexual offense, human trafficking, or any other offense within Chapter 6 of Title 16 of the Georgia Code.

A person who commits this crime will be subject to felony imprisonment of one to five years. This crime only applies to a person over the age of 18 and who is not within four years of age of the alleged victim. This applies to conduct completed within or outside of the state or conduct aimed at a minor outside of this state if the actions occurred within this state.

SB 10: Drag Racing

Final Bill Summary: SB 10 makes it a misdemeanor offense to knowingly be present and facilitate a drag race, which can include using a vehicle to block a portion of the roadway nearest to the race. The bill adds the crime of reckless stunt driving to the list of charges that prevent progress from Class D to Class C license.

There are increased fines. Also, any motor vehicle of a person arrested for reckless stunt driving after a previous conviction of the same offense is declared contraband and subject to civil asset forfeiture. SB 351: Social Media and Protecting Minors Online Final Bill Summary: The new law requires parental consent for social media accounts for minors, requires the Department of Education and local boards to adopt policies on social media, cyberbullying, and internet usage. It further requires that social media companies verify that their users are at least 16 years of age or older unless they receive approval from an individual’s parents to use the service. It requires websites whose content is comprised of over a third of material that is harmful to minors to verify that their users are age 18 or older.

SB 352: Squatting of Vehicles Final Bill Summary: It is unlawful to alter the suspension system of a motor vehicle so that the front frame is more than 4 inches higher than the rear.

Basically, this bill outlaws “squatting” of vehicles. Why? Because they have proven to be unsafe for the occupants of the squatted vehicle and especially for other vehicles in accidents. SB 159: Contraband in Prisons Final Bill Summary: SB 159 enhances penalties for a person who brings prohibited items beyond a guard line for purposes of providing items to inmates. The bill provides a penalty for any employee or contractor of the Department of Corrections who is found guilty of bringing prohibited items into the facility for an inmate punishable by a 10-year term of imprisonment. SB 420: Foreign Ownership of Farmland Final Bill Summary: It prohibits a person who is not a U.S. citizen or legal resident, is an agent of a foreign government designated as a foreign adversary, and has been out of the country for a period of time preceding the acquisition of land from acquiring directly or indirectly any possessory interest in agricultural land or land within a 10-mile radius of a military installation, excluding residential property.

Any possessory interest in agricultural land acquired by a nonresident alien through inheritance will be disposed of within one year after acquisition, and any interest acquired in the collection of debts will be disposed of within two years after acquisition. A broker will timely disclose to their client the requirements regarding relevant land acquisition.

Violations will be considered a felony with punishment of a fine of less than $15,000 and imprisonment of between one to two years.

SB 63: Offenses Requiring Bail Final Bill Summary: SB 63 prohibits a local jurisdiction from creating a bail schedule or policy that mandates releasing a person from jail on unsecured judicial release.

It expands the list of criminal offenses that require bail to make sure criminals show back up for court. All offenses added to the Code are crimes with victims involved – crimes like battery, theft, trafficking, and domestic terrorism. It also strengthens Georgia law to stop illegal aliensfrom postingbail and fleeing the country. This has become a serious problem in some Democrat- run municipalities.

Any person arrested for any offense who has previously been convicted of a felony within the past seven years is not eligible for an unsecured judicial release.

Note: Lawsuits have been filed by liberal groups in opposition to this bill. It is currently not in effect. Healthcare HB 557: Drug Prescription by Some Nurses & PAs Final Bill Summary: HB 557 authorizes advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants to prescribe hydrocodone, oxycodone, or their compounds in emergency situations under certain circumstances. These circumstances include good standing with the applicable medical board and at least one year of postlicensure clinical experience. The patient receiving the prescription must be at least 18 years old.

The bill only allows for an initial prescription that does not exceed a fiveday supply. Authorization must be included in the provider's nurse protocol agreement and physician assistant's job description. HB 663: No Patient Left Alone Final Bill Summary: HB 663 allows for a designated essential caregiver to be present with a patient or resident of a hospital or long-term care facility while they are receiving care. This designated caregiver must adhere to the policies of the hospital or long-term care facility, and their access may be suspended or terminated under outlined circumstances.

HB 1335: Personal Care Facilities Final Bill Summary: HB 1335 requires personal care homes to have at least two on-site administrators or direct care staff at all times. For personal care homes and assisted living communities, a staff person is required to be on every occupied floor unless the facility has implemented a medical alert system.

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