A slew of new laws passed by the Georgia General Assembly are slated to go into effect July 1, and local lawmakers are responsible for several of them.
Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, sponsored the bill creating the Georgia Data Analytic Center. It will be a warehouse of information on people receiving state services.
Currently, the information is collected and housed separately by the various agencies. The GDAC will merge that data, which can be used to track trends, zero in on efficiencies and provide an overall picture to assist in policy-making.
Dempsey has said preparations got underway as soon as the legislation was passed. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget has already hired a staffer to oversee the system, which could be up and running by Sept. 1.
Another bill by Dempsey updates language in a code section dealing with foster parents and a third was vetoed by Gov. Brian Kemp.
Her House Bill 187 would have established a three-year pilot program covering prescription drugs to treat obesity for employees in the state health benefit plan. Kemp, in his veto statement, said that – even at the lowest projected cost – it would result in increased premiums.
Rep. Eddie Lumsden’s bill to extend the weapons permit renewal time for active duty military serving overseas becomes law July 1.
The Armuchee Republican also helped private nonprofit volunteer fire departments who are called to fires by people who don’t chip in for the service. They’ll be able to take out liens against non-subscribers to recoup their cost.
Kemp vetoed Lumsden’s bill to let Georgia Department of Revenue law enforcement officers use their department vehicles for approved off-duty jobs.
Other agencies including the Georgia State Patrol allow the use. However, Kemp said it would create potential liability for the state and affect its insurance programs.
Rep. Mitchell Scoggins, R-Cartersville, just took office Jan. 14 after a special election but still managed to pass one piece of legislation. The retired probate court judge was tapped to increase the number of judges on the Council of Magistrate Court Judges and revise some of its powers.
Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, sponsored two bills that will go into effect July 1. One sets up a method for retirees to purchase a supplemental lifetime annuity. The other automatically accepts the national Commission on Dental Accreditation ruling on private dental schools.
Two other Hufstetler bills became law when Kemp signed them on May 7.
Gas retailers must now submit their motor fuel tax reports to the Georgia Department of Revenue electronically instead of on paper. Credit card companies and other entities that process payments for retailers also must do the same.
Dempsey also carried two pieces of local legislation that were co-sponsored by the rest of the delegation and signed into law April 2.
One created the Rome Building Authority, which is issuing ELOST-backed bonds to fund an early start on school construction. The other increased the pay of Floyd County Board of Education members to $600 a month from $400 a month starting May 1.
Scoggins also passed a new charter for the city of White, which went into effect May 6.