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New laws now in effect in Georgia

Many news laws went into effect on July 1 in Georgia, including the high profile Campus Carry law, the DUI law which would require violators to use an ignition interlock device, a law that expands eligible conditions for cannabis oil, a law that regulates drone launches and landings, a law that gives the state power to take over underperforming schools and the Georgia Space Flight Act which would limit lawsuits against space industry in the state. CAMPUS CARRY The Campus Carry law allows guns to be carried on any campus in the state’s public college and university system. A similar law was vetoed by Gov. Nathan Deal last year. The new version of the law, known as House Bill 280, has exemptions for athletic facilities, student housing, preschool spaces, facilities used by high school students and areas where disciplinary hearings are held. It is the responsibility of the gun owner to know the rules of the new Campus Carry law. DUI LAW The DUI law would allow first-time offenders the option of using the ignition interlock device to alleviate some of the penalties in court so they can choose to have the device rather than go through a year suspension of their driver’s license. They would have to pay for the device installed on their car and would have to blow into the Breathalyzer before the car starts. MEDICAL MARIJUANA Other notable bills include Senate Bill 16 which expands the conditions eligible for medical marijuana treatment in Georgia. Under the new bill, cannabis oil, which is derived from marijuana, can now be prescribed for patients battling cancer, ALS at its end stage, seizure disorders, Multiple Sclerosis at its end stage, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Sickle Cell at its end stage, autism for patients 18 or under, Tourette’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s at its end state, the skin condition epidermolysis bullosa, AIDS at its end stage and peripheral neuropathy at its end stage. SCHOOL AUTHORITY The governor approved HB 228 which will give the state the power to step in if a school is underperforming, forcing school officials to assign a Chief Turnaround Officer to intervene. Under HB 228, iIf the school continues to do poorly, the state could convert it to a charter school. SPACE FLIGHT ACT The Georgia Space Flight Act, known as HB1, is a bill would protect those in the commercial space industry from lawsuits by presumed space tourist. The bill was considered ‘˜must-pass’ legislation in order to draw more commercial companies to the Georgia coast. Now that the bill has passed, it opens the door for spacecraft launches from Spaceport Camden in Camden County. DRONE LAW HB 481 places regulation for drone launches and landings in the state. The law gives general provisions regarding aviation, provides preemption for unmanned aircraft, defines the term drone and repeals conflicting laws. BACK THE BADGE ACT Another law that is now in effect is the Back the Badge Act, or SB 160, which increases penalties for certain laws against public safety officers. The law revises the jurisdiction, definition and penalties for crimes and offenses, allowing the trial of any child 13 to 17 who is alleged to have committed the offense of aggravated assault or aggravated battery upon a peach officer while they are doing their official duties. It also clarifies the definition of class A designated felony act and provides definitions for the crimes and offenses. VETOED BILLS: Among the nine bills vetoed by Gov. Deal, is SB 125 which would have authorized physicians to delegate their authority to prescribe hydrocodone products to their physician’s assistants. Deal said with concerns over opioid abuse, he felt it necessary to keep a tighter rein on that authority. He also vetoed SB 222 which would have overhauled the Local Government 911 Authority, making it a quasi-independent authority with little oversight from the state. Fees that would fund the new program would not be collected until 2019, leaving a two-year period with no funding for the authority or staff. Deal said 911 reform is necessary but not in the form of SB 222.

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