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Governor Finishes Signing 2013 Bills

May 14, 2013
Governor Nathan Signs Signs HB 78, legislation that protects disabled adults and elder persons.

Last Tuesday, Governor Nathan Deal finished signing all bills from the 2013 legislative session. He approved 340 measures, many of which aim to protect children, reform the justice system and spur economic development.

Early in the session, Governor Deal approved the much-discussed Hospital Medicaid Financing Program Act, a bill that patches a multi-million dollar shortfall in state Medicaid funding. Later, in response to a series of children's deaths on Lake Lanier last summer, he signed Senate Bill 136, which regulates boating under the influence.

Among other notable bills Governor Deal signed into law this year are:

House Bill 142. After voters last summer overwhelmingly voiced concern about unchecked lobbyist spending on state lawmakers, the General Assembly took up ethics reform promptly this session. HB 142 puts in place for the first time in Georgia's history a gift cap. Lawmakers can accept gifts of food, travel or lodging totaling no more than $75 per lobbyist, and they can no longer accept complimentary tickets to arts or sporting events.

HB 142 also redefines who legally qualifies as a lobbyist. Advocates who earn more than $250 a year to press particular pieces of legislation must register with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

The law takes effect January 2014.

House Bill 178. To curb abuse of prescription drugs and criminal activity related to their distribution, HB 178 allows the Georgia Composite Medical Board to license and regulate pain management clinics. Under the Georgia Pain Management Clinic Act, only Georgia-licensed physicians may own these facilities moving forward, and owners must renew licenses for their clinics every two years.

The law takes effect in July.

House Bill 242. Since he took office, Governor Deal has set a priority on reforming the justice system, aiming to both rehabilitate offenders and keep ever-rising costs down. HB 242 does this for low-risk juvenile offenders. Rather than sending youth to detention centers, the bill will keep kids in their communities and provide grants for substance abuse treatment and family counseling.

The law takes effect January 2014.

House Bill 284. With more research pointing to the dangers that athletes face when they suffer multiple concussions, HB 284, the Return to Play Act of 2013, helps safeguard youth athletes. Under the act, parents will need to learn about the risks of concussions, and when coaches note signs of concussion, they'll need to pull players from games until physicians clear the athletes to return to play.

The law takes effect January 2014.

House Bill 372. To help students afford technical degrees, HB 372 lowers the grade point average requirement for the HOPE grant from 3.0 to 2.0.

To learn more, review all bills signed for 2013.

Photo Courtesy Alana Joyner, Office of the Governor

About the Author

GeorgiaGov Writer Noralil Ryan ForesNoralil Ryan Fores writes about business, taxes, elections and the environment for GeorgiaGov. She's a graduate of Florida State University's film school and Syracuse University's journalism program.