Georgia governor Nathan Deal signed as many as 275 bills into laws after the state’s General Assembly adjourned this past spring, according to a U.S. News report. More than 100 of these are effective as of July 1. Some are effective immediately, while others will go into effect later this year. Below is a short list of changes that may affect you.
Concealed Weapons on Campus
The Peach State is one of nine other states that allow guns on educational institution campuses. Those carrying permits must be at least 21 years of age. Alternatively, they can be at least 18 years old with proof of basic military training or active service in the military. The new law excludes on-campus preschools, disciplinary hearings, faculty or administrative offices, and classrooms used by high school students enrolled in college courses. Concealed weapons are also not allowed on dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, and athletic facilities.
The list of places where a newborn may be left without prosecutions has been expanded to include fire stations and police stations. Previously, only medical facilities – including hospitals and health centers – were safe places under the “Safe Place for Newborns Act.” The law only protects the mother of a child who is less than 30 days old. Language was added to the law allowing a mother to leave a child anonymously.
Another Georgia law allows domestic violence victims who have changed their names to request records of the change be closed for their protection. Domestic violence advocates note that an attacker may use court documents to learn a victim’s new name and continue contacting or harassing them.
School Police Training
Georgia now requires a council focused on police training to generate a course specific to officers who act as school resource officers. The law suggests – it is not mandated – that training should include 40 hours on various subjects including gang and drug awareness, search and seizure law within the school context, as well as interviews and interrogations with minors, including those who may have mental health issues.
Expanded Judicial Watchdog
Georgia’s judicial watchdog agency has been changed since its inception in the 1970s. Specifically, the number of members of the Judicial Qualifications Commission has increased from seven to 10. The commission is divided into two a seven-member investigative panel and a three-member hearing panel. The panel members are prohibited from speaking to one another about any incapacity or disciplinary matter. The changes in the law also grant legislative leaders the authority to appointment members of the commission. Legislative leaders may also strip appointments from the Georgia State Bar.
Keep Up with Legislative Changes
It is important for legal practitioners and the general public to keep up with changes in the law because these revisions can directly affect your day-to-day life. If you, or someone you know, has questions about the recent changes in Georgia’s laws,contact a knowledgeable attorney today.