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Friday, July 01, 2016

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, JULY 1, 2016

MOST BILLS PASSED IN 2016 GO INTO EFFECT JULY 1

Every year, much is made of the July 1 effective date of new laws passed by the preceding General Assembly. Truth is, most legislation is set in the legislation to be effective July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year. Two types of legislation are different: If legislation is of such importance that time is of the essence, then language is included to note that the effective date is the date signed by the Governor. Secondly, an effective date can be projected into the future either to give time for regulations to be drafted and implemented or to coincide with state tax year dates, usually Jan. 1. Also, a future date is used if there is a need for the public to be educated on the new legislation or contingent on a constitutional amendment passing. But the vast majority of legislation normally becomes effective on July 1 of each year. In fact, if no date of effect is included in the legislation, July 1 becomes that effective date.

LEGISLATION EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2016

HB 579-Permits agriculture workers 16 and older to operate farm vehicles on public roads and on county roads outside municipalities who retain the right to prohibit or limit operation.

SB 364-A popular non-partisan bill that reduces the weight testing plays in teacher and principal evaluations. Systems are encouraged to develop a program of multiple assessments to insure reading mastery by the third and math proficiency by the fifth grade. Also eliminates two duplicative tests.

SB 308-Establishes aid for non-profit organizations to provide for support services for alternatives to abortion. Funded in the FY 2017 Budget.

HB 887-In placement hearings, gives preference to a relative over a non-related caregiver. Part Two allows parents to grant for up to one year temporary caregiving authority without ceding permanent parental rights.

SB 18-Requires Technical College System to develop a policy granting academic credit to active duty military or veteran students for related college level coursework obtained during military service.

HB 801-Cumulative grade point average for the HOPE Scholarship will weight grades for certain science, technology, engineering and math college courses chosen in consultation with the Board of Regents.

HB 965-Requires health plans to cover the treatment of stage four advanced, metastatic cancer and not requiring that an insured person go through the testing of the response to other drugs but to directly go to the most advanced medication. Named after former President Jimmy Carter.

HB 1028-Requires a landfill owner to notify local governments of any release of contaminants likely to pose a danger to the public within 14 days of release.

SB 304-Establishes timelines for law enforcement to take possession of medical examination kits of alleged rape victims for forwarding to the GBI for analysis.

HB 831-Extends reemployment rights to Georgia residents who are members of the National Guard in other states.

HB 34-Sets up a process or "Right to Try" for terminally ill patients to utilize "investigational drugs or biological products or devices" not yet FDA approved and provides exemption protection for physicians and pharmaceutical companies. Requires a signed agreement by patient attested to by the physician.

HB 166-Raises the maximum height of motorcycle handlebars to 25 inches.

HB 172-Removes "tubing" from boating under the influence laws.

HB 402-Establishes a 5% premium credit on Workers Compensation insurance for the employer becoming certified as a "Work-based learning" employer.

HB 697-Establishes that goods and products delivered to a consumer on a trial basis without an order do not have to be returned and, lacking written agreement, cannot be collected as a debt.

HB 767-In addition to moving over a lane or slowing down for law enforcement and emergency vehicles by the highway, now drivers must follow that procedure for public utility vehicles and other "white light" vehicles.

HB 792-Authorizes college students 18 and older to carry tasers or other "electroshock" devices on public college campuses for their protection.

HB 801-Adds a half point grade for STEM courses in HOPE grade calculation and adds Computer Science as an Advanced Science at the High School level.

HB 840-Requires film and movie production companies utilizing wildlife in the production to obtain a permit from DNR.

HB 879-Establishes a "Seal of Biliteracy" that would be affixed to a High School Diploma signifying a student has averaged a 3.0 or higher in English/Language Arts and a score of 4 or better in an Advanced Placement foreign language course.

HB 897-Calls on Ga. Dept. of Public Health to establish a repository program to accept donated drugs to dispense to indigent patients or those covered by various programs.

HB 979-Increases penalties for assaulting "emergency health workers."

HB 991-Returning deployed military members are given 60 days to pay property taxes that became due while they were deployed. Any penalty accrued during that period is forgiven upon payment.

HB 1037-Tasks the Department of Community Health with creating a registry of nurses aides or those who work in the health field to give a receptacle for complaints.

HB 1072-Changes the service-cancelable loan for National Guard members so as to be available in addition to any HOPE scholarship eligibility.

Full transcripts of bills may be found at http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx. Simply type the bill number into the box at the top left-hand corner of the screen and specify if it is in the House or the Senate. As always, I welcome any questions you may have.

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