DO YOU KNOW your new laws?

Gun law, oth­ers went into ef­fect July 1

The Covington News - - LOCAL - KAYLA ROBINS krobins@cov­news.com

The new gun law went into ef­fect July 1, with the be­gin­ning of the fis­cal year mark­ing the start of many bills passed by Gov. Nathan Deal dur­ing the most re­cent leg­isla­tive ses­sion.

While some bills went into ef­fect im­me­di­ately upon Deal’s sign­ing them, most typ­i­cally wait un­til the be­gin­ning of the month each year.

House Bill (HB) 60, legally ti­tled the Ge­or­gia Safe Carry Pro­tec­tion Act and nick­named the “guns every­where” bill by crit­ics, ad­dresses an ar­ray of gun-car­ry­ing rights. Ac­cord­ing to Ge­or­giaCourts.gov, the bill al­lows li­censed car­ri­ers to bring a firearm into a bar un­less the bar posts a no­tice pro­hibit­ing weapons. Car­ri­ers can also bring a gun into a church if the church wishes to al­low weapons. Firearms are now also al­lowed in the pub­lic ar­eas of air­ports if the per­son has a carry li­cense.

School boards may des­ig­nate staff mem­bers to carry guns at schools and are not re­quired to state if they choose to do so, nor are they re­quired to pub­li­cize who they des­ig­nate.

Li­censed car­ri­ers can bring a firearm into a mu­nic­i­pal or city build­ing un­less the en­trance is se­cured by a screen­ing de­vice or per­son­nel, and a per­son can­not be de­tained for the sole pur­pose of in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether or not the per­son has a carry li­cense.

For­mer and cur­rent judges who have a carry li­cense may bring their firearm into court.

Slow-poke law ad­dresses pass­ing lane

Also hav­ing gone into ef­fect July 1, driv­ers can now be pulled over for fail­ing to move out of the left lane on any four-lane road if on­com­ing traf­fic from be­hind is ap­proach­ing at a faster speed.

HB 459, also called the “slow-poke law,” ap­plies un­less re­duced speeds in the left lane are re­quired for safe op­er­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to the bill’s text on Ge­or­gia.gov, which may in­clude: • Traf­fic con­di­tions or con­ges­tion • In­clement weather, ob­struc­tions or haz­ards • Com­pli­ance with an un­re­lated state law or of­fi­cial traf­fic con­trol de­vice • Ex­it­ing or turn­ing left • Pay­ing or pass­ing tolls • The pres­ence of emer­gency ve­hi­cles or main­te­nance and con­struc­tion ve­hi­cles en­gaged in of­fi­cial du­ties Driv­ers will be tick­eted with a mis­de­meanor. Also among new traf­fic laws, HB 774 in­creas- es the speed limit on in­ter­states in ur­ban ar­eas – a pop­u­la­tion of more than 50,000 – to 60 mph.

Crim­i­nal jus­tice

HB 845 puts heav­ier re­stric­tions on who can pub­lish mugshots and when they are al­lowed to so do, in­clud­ing jour­nal­is­tic pub­li­ca­tions.

SB 320 cre­ates a spe­cial Vet­er­ans Court Di­vi­sions for crim­i­nal court cases.

SB 365, called the Fair Busi­ness Prac­tices Act, helps of­fend­ers re-en­ter so­ci­ety.

Health and as­sis­tance

SB 23, called the Stacey Ni­cole English Act, helps aid in the lo­ca­tion of miss­ing per­sons.

SB 391 re­quires all med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties in Ge­or­gia to ap­ply for the TRICARE net­work.

Ed­u­ca­tion

HB 697, called the Zell Miller Grant, awards a full-tu­ition schol­ar­ship to tech­ni­cal col­lege stu­dents who main­tain a 3.5 GPA or higher.

SB 288 re­quires high school ath­letic leagues to dis­close an­nual fi­nan­cial documents to par­tic­i­pate in or spon­sor in­ter­scholas­tic sport­ing events.

For com­plete in­for­ma­tion and texts of the bills that went into ef­fect Tues­day, go to Ge­or­gia.gov.

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