Georgia State Capitol (East side)
ATLANTA -- New laws for 2013 could affect your health, wallet and child's education.
Online Sales Tax: The state is trying to close a loophole, most online shoppers have come to enjoy. A break on sales taxes. The state has been phasing in requirements for online businesses to collect the state's tax. Now it will include any company with a connection to Georgia, whether they have a store, warehouse or simply buy online ads from companies that do.
Abortion: A law making it illegal to have an abortion after the fetus is 20 weeks old is on hold, while a fulton county judge decides whether the measure is constitutional. The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of three doctors.
Charter School Commission: A new state commission to approve charter schools must be ready to meet by March 1st. Right now the Governor, Lt. Governor and House Speaker are creating a list of potential appointees. The list will be approved by the Board of Education.
Marriage Exemption: Most of us dread tax time, but there's some good news for married couples filing jointly. The state has increased your tax break. Now the first $7,400 of your income, will be tax free. The previous exemption was $5,400.
Birthday Tax: Bye bye. The state is slowly phasing out the annual property tax on vehicles. In March, anyone who buys a vehicle will pay a one time tax that tops out at 7 percent instead. The yearly tax will remain in affect for existing car and truck owners.
DUI Enforcement: First time offenders will have more leniency in where they can drive with a suspended license. Second time offenders will be given an option 120 days into their license suspension to install an ignition interlock device to gain more driving privileges.
Comprehensive Sentencing & Corrections Reform Bill: Gives judges more sentencing alternatives for nonviolent offenders, saving prison beds for more violent crimes. The law also creates statewide drug and mental health court programs.
Domestic Violence: Conversations between victims and advocates at shelters and sexual assault centers can now remain confidential.
Lease agreements: The state can now enter into multi-year lease agreements, hopefully allowing it to broker better deals.
Utility Exemption: Manufacturing and agricultural industries are now exempt from paying state sales tax on energy used to produce their goods.