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New laws coming to Georgia July 1

From new teen driving to student athlete and hazing laws, here's a look at some of the new laws that will take effect from the 2021-22 legislative session.

ATLANTA — Several new laws are going into effect in Georgia on Thursday, July 1.

From new teen driving to student-athlete and hazing laws, here's a look at some of the new laws that will take effect from the 2021-22 legislative session.

Crime

HB286 - This bill restricts the ability of county authorities to reduce funding for county police departments. County and City governments will not be allowed starting Thursday to reduce a police department's budget by more than 5% in a single year or over a five-year period. 

HB363 - This bill provides protection for people 65 years and older when crimes and offenses are committed. It allows for penalties for certain offenses.

SB75 - The bill allows victims of stalking to end their rental leases signed by July 1, 2021 or after. If someone has a court order for protection from a stalker, they can break their lease with no penalties or fees for early termination of the lease. 

County 

SB221 - This bill allows for local boards of education to appoint member to local planning commissions related to zoning procedures.

Driving

HB466 - Also known as Joshua's Law, the bill makes several changes for Georgia teen drivers. The state will require driver training for 15, 16 and now 17-year-olds. The law training consists of 30 hours of classroom or online instruction and six hours of on-the-road training. 

HB693 - This bill prohibits the operation of farm tractors on interstate highways. 

HB174 - This bill updates federal regulations for motor vehicles and commercial motor vehicles regarding safe operation and transportation of hazardous materials.

HB165 - This bill allows for the use of mounts on windshields for the support of wireless telecommunications devices and stand-alone electronic devices under certain circumstances.

Education 

HB617 - This bill allows student-athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, image or likeness.

SB85 - This bill known as the Max Gruver Act, expands the definition for hazing to include minors. It also provides penalties for hazing. The law was created after Roswell native Max Gruver went to college at LSU and died from alcohol poisoning in what was described as a "hazing ritual."  This law will require public and private universities in Georgia to have policies established for reporting, investigating, and offering due process of alleged incidents of hazing involving students and student organizations. 

SB66 - The bill allows the Georgia Foundation for Public Education, a nonprofit corporation, to receive private donations to be used as grants to public schools. 

HB287 - The bill includes tobacco and vapor products in education courses regarding alcohol and drugs that are required each year for all students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade.

SB159 - This bill authorizes local boards of education to use vehicles other than school buses to transport students to and from school-related activities.

SB204 - The bill allows for the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia to award high school diplomas. 

HB32 - The bill establishes a teacher recruitment and retention program refundable income tax credit for teachers at certain rural schools or certain low-performing schools.

Health 

HB591 - The bill relates to mental health and it authorizes marriage and family therapists to perform certain acts that physicians and psychologists are authorized to perform regarding emergency exams for involuntary evaluation and treatment for mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse. 

HB548 - The bill provides reasonable access to records concerning reports of child abuse to the Administrative Office of the Courts.  

HB128 - This bill enacts Gracie's Law, which prohibits providers from discriminating against potential organ transplant recipients due to physical or mental disabilities.

Politics 

SB221 - This bill allows state leaders to have leadership committees and chairpersons. It allows them to receive contributions and make expenditures during the legislative session. 

Animals

HB574 - As part of the Companion Local Government Animal Trust Fund, this bill relates to licenses for pet dealers, kennel, stable or animal shelter operators.