July 1 Brings New Laws from Legislative Session 2016

Each year on June 30, the state of Georgia closes its fiscal year. The following day marks the beginning of a new budget cycle and is also the day many of the bills passed during that year’s session go into effect, unless otherwise noted in the bill. As previously discussed in our Life of a Law blog series, a bill must be passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate before going to Governor Deal for approval. Only after careful review does the governor make the decision to sign or veto a bill.

The Georgia General Assembly passed hundreds of bills during this year’s 40-day legislative session, including a few that made national headlines. House Bill 757, Georgia’s version of religious freedom, and House Bill 859, campus carry, both made it to the Governor’s desk before ultimately being vetoed.  Although a few pieces of legislation were vetoed, there a number of bills that Governor Deal signed that will go into effect tomorrow.

Some major laws to be aware of are:

  • HB 727: Local Control Over Fireworks — Local governments will have more control over the use of fireworks and ability to enact or enforce noise ordinances to prohibit the use of fireworks.
  • SB 193: Stricter Penalties for Repeat Domestic Abuse Offenders — This bill allows for harsher sentences to repeat domestic abusers by allowing prosecutors to issue felony convictions rather than misdemeanors. This bill passed unanimously in the Senate.
  • SB 364: Quality Basic Education Act — Under current law, student test results count for 50% of a teacher’s evaluation. This bill drops that weight to 30%.  
  • HB 767: Move Over Law for Utility Workers — This is the expansion of the Spencer Pass Law which includes utility service vehicles and requires drivers to observe the same safety measures of slowing down or moving over when possible if a vehicle is stopped or displaying flashing lights. This bill passed unanimously in the House and received only one “no” vote in the Senate.
  • HB 831: Protecting Guardsmen's Employment Act — Currently, under certain circumstances, employers are required to rehire any member of the Georgia National Guard if they left their job due to being called to active duty. This bill extends these protections to members of another state’s National Guard who are employed in Georgia. This bill passed unanimously in both chambers.
  • HB 725: Child Abuse Records Protection Act — Provides greater confidentiality regarding an individual’s child abuse records. This bill will now require a court order before the release of these records are permitted. This bill passed unanimously in both chambers.

For a list of all passed and signed bills, check out the 2016 Legislation on the Governor’s website.

About the Author


Chelsea Stephens is a Content Specialist for Georgia.gov. A Georgia native herself, Chelsea ensures the content on Georgia.gov provides accurate information to all constituents of Georgia. She graduated with a degree in Marketing and has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. 

Brittany serves as the Communications Specialist in the Senate Press Office, where she has worked since beginning her professional career in 2014. In this role, her primary responsibilities include developing communication initiatives for state senators, providing content and monitoring for the Senate’s social media sites and maintaining relationships with state senators, staff, journalists and interested stakeholders. Brittany graduated from Kennesaw State University with a degree in communications.

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