By Cale Colby.
According to a report published by the Associated Press on Monday, Georgia’s Republican Governor Nathan Deal has signed into law a sweeping revamp to Georgia’s adoption code.
Proponents of the measure, which passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support last month, say it will streamline Georgia’s adoption process.
The bill makes numerous technical changes to the state’s adoption code, last updated before widespread use of the internet.
One change reduces the length of time a birth mother has to change her mind and take back custody of a baby from 10 days to four. Another make it possible for adoptive parents to help a birth mother with certain living expenses in private adoptions.
A proposal that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to work with same-sex couples is part of a separate bill still being debated by the legislature.
Another law that took effect at the beginning of the year requires legally organized fire departments to purchase and maintain insurance coverage for firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancers. HB:146 also requires fire departments to pay claims for injuries sustained en route to, during, and returning from fire call or other emergency disasters/ scheduled training sessions. The law specifically applies for fire fighters who’ve served 12 consecutive months as a firefighter with said fire department. The full law details certain minimums the insurance must have.
Meanwhile, HB 340 will eliminate sales and property taxes on cars, and replacing it with a seven percent fee. Georgians who lease vehicles are being taxes at the same level as Georgians who own cars.
Other interesting laws that took effect at the beginning of the year include HB 154 that allows for Licensed dental hygienists to be able to perform certain functions such as: remove calcareous deposits, secretions, and stains from the surfaces of the teeth, and apply ordinary wash or washes. They can perform these acts under general supervision meaning that a licensed dentist is not required to be present while these duties are being performed. Hygienists will be allowed to clean teeth, apply sealants and provide fluoride treatment.
Finally, HB 155 Georgia Musical Investment Act gives a 15 percent tax cut to music projects or tours in Georgia. This law is intended to support Georgia’s growing music scene.