July 1, 2019, along with the day the legislature adjourns Sine Die, is one of the most important days for the Georgia General Assembly.

Not only does it mark the beginning of the new fiscal year but it is also the date numerous new laws went into effect.

After the 2019 session adjourned Sine Die on April 2, 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp had 40 days to review over 300 general and local bills and resolutions the Legislature passed. While some of the bills were signed into law during session and some have become law since adjournment, the vast majority went into effect July 1. These bills will have an impact on health care access, your children’s education and safety, among other things.

During the 2019 session, I provided updates on the priorities for the Majority Caucus. I am proud to say that the majority of those received final passage, are already in effect or will soon become law.

Below are the highlights for the Majority Caucus priority legislation:

Senate Bill 2 allows electric membership corporations (EMCs) to utilize existing easements to provide or expand broadband access to their customers. This legislation went into effect on April 26, 2019.

Senate Bill 17,“Rural Telephone Cooperative Act,” allows telephone cooperatives in Metter, Newington, Rentz and Statesboro to provide internet services and broadband to their customers. This legislation went into effect on April 26, 2019.

Senate Bill 48 addresses the implementation of several new standards for dyslexia education in public schools including requiring the Board of Education to develop policies that address dyslexia screenings for all kindergarten students, as well as referrals for students with identified dyslexia characteristics in grades one through three. This legislation went into effect on July 1, 2019.

Senate Bill 66, “Streamlining Wireless Facilities and Antennas Act,” outlines a standardized application process for 5G companies wishing to collocate small wireless facilities (antennas) on existing or new poles. Under SB 66, the use of public rights of way by wireless providers to deploy broadband is also addressed and clarified. This legislation will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2019.

Below is an overview of a couple of bills that are already law:

Senate Bill 25 clarifies that drivers passing a stopped school bus in the opposite direction may only do so if there is a grass median, unpaved area or barrier separating the two directions of traffic. This legislation was signed into law on Feb. 15, 2019.

Senate Bill 106 allows the governor and Department of Community Health to ask the federal government for waivers to the Medicaid program. This legislation was signed into law on March 27, 2019.

Below is a brief overview of some of the bills that went into effect on July 1, 2019:

Senate Bill 6 prohibits drones from flying over jails and prisons. The only exception would be if permission is granted by the warden, superintendent or their designated representative.

Senate Bill 16 authorizes an expedited licensure process for doctors who have a clean disciplinary record and wish to practice medicine in Georgia.

Senate Bill 18 allows for a direct primary care agreement between a doctor and a patient. They can agree on a payment process without being subject to insurance regulations.

Senate Bill 60, “Jeremy Nelson and Nick Blakely Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act,” addresses the post of guidelines, necessary actions and relevant information on the nature and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest.

Senate Bill 83 allows Georgia public high schools to offer a course in Hebrew Scriptures and Old and New Testaments. Additionally, this legislation includes the establishment of the Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) Scholarship Program.

Senate Bill 108 requires courses in computer science to be provided in middle and high schools through a phase-in process.

Senate Bill 115 allows doctors outside of Georgia who have a clean disciplinary record to obtain a telemedicine license from the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

Senate Bill 190 updates the Child Custody Intrastate Jurisdiction Act and revises procedures relating to child custody.

House Bill 12 will require public schools to post a sign containing the toll-free telephone number for Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) in a clearly visible location for the reporting of child abuse or neglect.

House Bill 62 will update procedures during a mammogram and require the location or person conducting the assessment to notify a patient when their results show dense breast tissue.

House Bill 186 revises provisions regarding the Certificates of Need (CON) program, updates the Rural Hospital Organization Tax Credit and establishes the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination.

These are just some highlights of the legislation that is already law or will become law this year. For a full list of all bills signed into law, please follow this link: https://gov.georgia.gov/signed-legislation/2019

Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any questions, concerns or feedback. My door is always open and I am never too busy to hear from you, my constituents.

State Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, serves as the Majority Leader of the Georgia Senate. He represents the 30th Senate District which includes portions of Carroll, Douglas and Paulding counties. He can be reached at 404-463-2478 or by email at mike.dugan@senate.ga.gov.

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