A breakdown on Georgia legislation effective July 1, 2019

Published 3:41 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2019

After the 2019 session adjourned Sine Die on April 2, 2019, Governor Brian P. Kemp had 40 days to consider legislation that received final passage. During this period, he had the choice of signing bills into law, vetoing them or taking no action letting the legislation become law.

Of the more than 300 general and local bills and resolutions he had to consider, a majority were signed into law and 15 were vetoed. Some of the signed bills have already been in effect but there are several that will become law on Monday you should be aware of.

Below are some highlights of legislation that I sponsored or carried during the session which is already law or will become effective on July 1st:

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Senate Bill 67 will allow school systems with buildings that are at least 20 years old and have been mostly destroyed by natural disaster or fire to receive regular funding to repair or replace damaged buildings. SB 67 also creates a pathway for schools to qualify for certain grants if the school system’s five-year revenue from SPLOST does not generate enough funds for the required updates or repairs.  This bill will go into effect on July 1, 2019.

Senate Bill 207 will change the name of the Georgia Board of Physician Workforce to the “Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce” and update the board membership to include eight physicians and seven physicians or health care providers selected by the Governor. This bill will go into effect on July 1, 2019.

House Bill 233, “Pharmacy Anti-Steering and Transparency Act,” will restrict a pharmacy from certain activities, including mailing prescriptions to patients unless they consent and transfer patient prescription information with patient identifiable data. This legislation will also require pharmacies to disclose their affiliates to the State Board of Pharmacy and prohibit insurance companies from requiring patients to use certain pharmacies. This legislation will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

House Bill 374 authorizes trained medication aides who are dealing with hospice residents in certain circumstances to administer liquid morphine. It is important to note that this law caps the amount of morphine kept in a hospice facility. This bill went into effect on May 11, 2019.

House Bill 446 provides additional avenues for claiming the income tax credit on timberland damaged by Hurricane Michael. Prior to HB 446 becoming law, someone who had damaged timberland could claim the tax credit upon replanting the trees. HB 446 becoming law enables an individual to claim the credit upon ‘restoration’ or cleaning up the land damaged by the hurricane. This bill went into effect on April 18, 2019.

House Bill 483 makes annual updates to the Controlled Substances Schedule by adding several substances and creating certain exceptions. This bill went into effect on May 7, 2019.

Below are some highlights of other legislation that will go into effect on July 1, 2019:

Senate Bill 6 will prohibit the flying of a drone over a jail or prison unless permission is granted by the warden, superintendent or their designated representative.

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

Senate Bill 18 allows a physician and patient to enter into a direct primary care agreement without being subject to insurance regulations.

Senate Bill 48 instructs the State Board of Education to develop a phase-in process so that all kindergarten students receive dyslexia screening. Under SB 48, there will be a referral process for students with identified dyslexia characteristics in grades one to three along with guidelines on screenings for those who did not attend kindergarten or were not screened in kindergarten.

Senate Bill 60 addresses sudden cardiac arrest training and procedures for students participating in interscholastic athletic activities and anyone else involved.

Senate Bill 115 allows doctors who do not reside in Georgia and have a clean disciplinary record to obtain a telemedicine license from the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

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

House Bill 62 will require health care facilities conducting mammograms to notify the patient when their results show dense breast tissue.

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

These are just some of the bills that have already become law or will go into effect on July 1, 2019. For a full list of all of the bills Governor Kemp signed into law, please follow this link: https://gov.georgia.gov/signed-legislation/2019

If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding any legislation please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Sen. Dean Burke represents the 11th Senate District which includes Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller and Seminole counties and portions of Mitchell and Thomas counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.656.0040 or by email at dean.burke@senate.ga.gov.