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The End of the 2014 Legislative Session: Six New Laws Explained

May 1, 2014
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signing a bill into law

By now, I’m sure everyone has heard of at least one bill that has passed through the General Assembly and then signed by Governor Deal becoming a law. Whether that’s a bill regarding guns, Medicaid, drug tests for food stamps or statues at the Capitol, you’ve probably heard something.

But what else became a law? Here’s a list of some bills Governor Deal signed into law that you might not have heard about:

HB 459: No more sight-seeing in the left lane. If you are driving in the left lane and a car pulls up behind you going faster, you must, by law, move over. To prevent accidents caused by frustration, HB 459 now makes it illegal to drive slower than cars behind you in the left lane.

HB 697: Zell Miller Grant. Full tuition will be given to technical college students who maintain a 3.5 grade point average or higher. With current enrollment numbers, this grant is estimated to cover about 16,000 students.

HB 965: GA 911 Medical Amnesty Law. Those seeking assistance during a drug or alcohol overdose will now receive limited prosecutorial immunity. Georgia is the 15th state to implement such a law. We’re also the 19th state to allow legal protection for those who take naloxone (a prescription drug that can reverse the effects after a drug overdose) — another stipulation of HB 965.

SB 23: “Stacey Nicole English Act”. Taking "Mattie's Call" (a successful alert system for missing disabled adults) a step further, this bill includes missing persons who have serious medical conditions. It also eliminates all mandatory waiting periods (currently required by local law enforcement) before any kind of missing persons report can be filed.

SB 240: Alcohol for educational purposes in certain museums. This is a new law allowing non-profit history museums to not only produce, but also give away small samples of distilled spirits for educational purposes. Naturally, there are plenty of restrictions and, keep in mind, this can only be done if the local jurisdiction already allows distilling. However, licensing fees will be minimal and normal bond requirements for commercial distillers are waived.

SR 941: More Korean Visas. This resolution urges Congress to increase the number of visas allotted for Korean citizens with certain skills and specialties who work in the United States. Our legislators argue that by increasing the number of Korean visas, we would be growing the United States economy.

Governor Deal actually had 3 options when reviewing bills and resolutions sent to his desk. He could do nothing, sign or veto each bill. Unlike the president, the governor doesn’t have a “pocket veto.” If he does nothing, the bill will become law without his signature. An actual veto is required to kill a bill that was sent to him. Last year, he vetoed 5 bills. This year, he vetoed 10. Take a look at the Governor's website to get more details about each bill he vetoed.

You can also check out the Governor's website for a full list of bills he signed this year.

About the Author

Bethany McDaniel is the Editorial Director for GeorgiaGov. She graduated from Berry College in Rome, Ga., with degrees in Visual Communication and History.

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