ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp signed several bills from the 2021-2022 legislative session that will affect Georgia residents beginning Friday, July 1.
Major New Laws:
CRITICAL RACE THEORY: House Bill 1084 bans the teaching of certain racial concepts that Republicans say are divisive. Opponents say the measure would frighten teachers away from an honest classroom discussion of race in history and the present.
PARENT BILL OF RIGHTS: House Bill 1178 puts into one law a number of parental rights that already exist. It says parents have the right to review all classroom materials, to access their child's records, to opt their child out of all sex education, and to prevent the creation of photos, videos and voice recordings of their children except for security purposes.
SCHOOL RECESS: House Bill 1283 requires daily recess for all public school children in grades K-5.
VACCINE MANDATES: Senate Bill 345 prevents state agencies and local governments from requiring COVID-19 vaccines, mostly by banning them from requiring proof that anyone has been vaccinated to receive government services. The law excludes government-owned health facilities and doesn't effect private business.
VOTING: Senate Bill 441 allows the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to begin probes of alleged election wrongdoing without a request from an outside official. The alleged violation would have to be significant enough to create doubt about the outcome of an election, and the agency would have the power to issue subpoenas for election documents.
FARM NUISANCES: House Bill 1150 enhances protections for farmers against nuisance lawsuits by neighbors over problems such as odors, giving them protection from most suits after two years of operation. Farming advocates say the vote will protect the agriculture sector. Environmentalists say the bill will open the door for bad neighbors.
LAWMAKER PENSIONS: Lawmaker pensions would increase by about 40% under House Bill 824. Supporters said lawmakers are currently contributing significantly more money to their retirement accounts than they receive in benefits.
FREE SPEECH: House Bill 1 bars public universities and technical colleges from setting areas of campus as free speech zones, instead allowing speech in all generally accessible areas. Administrators could still regulate the time, place and manner of speech.
Other Senate Bills:
911 RESPONSE: SB403 - The "Georgia Behavioral Health and Peace Officer Co-Responder Act" establishes a co-responder team of peace officers and behavioral health professionals to respond to 911 calls where a person might suffer from mental or emotional illness, developmental disability, or addictive disease. The hope is to de-escalate situations that might otherwise result in arrests if medical professionals are not present.
FIREARMS: SB479 - This bill specifies that each firearm found in the possession of convicted felons and first offender probationers is a separate offense.
RIGHT TO WILLS, TRUSTS, ESTATES: SB543 - In the event that a parent is found responsible for the murder of their child, this bill forfeits their right to the child’s wills, trusts, and estates.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING: SB461 - This bill adds human trafficking to the list of bailable offenses.
QUALITY BASIC EDUCATION ACT: SB226 - Requires boards of education to have a “complaint resolution policy” that is used by local schools to address parental complaints of detrimental material that might be available to students.
Other House Bills:
INFLUENZA VACCINATIONS: HB1086 - The bill lowers the age requirement of patients to receive influenza virus vaccinations before being discharged from the hospital from 65 years old and older to 50 years old.
PRIMARY CARE FACILITIES: HB1042 - This bill also known as the “OneGeorgia Authority Act” allows for primary care medical facilities to be built in areas where there are shortages of health professionals through grant programs.
HUNTING: HB343 - This bill prohibits a person from hunting on land owned by another person without permission. This law does not apply to family members of the owner of the land.
HB1147 - This bill allows the hunting and trapping of raccoons and opossum on private property year round.