Georgia’s new laws starting on Jan. 1
With the start of 2023, several new Georgia laws will take effect on Sunday, Jan. 1. Here’s an explanation of what to expect.
While most Georgia laws take effect on July 1, the General Assembly delayed some laws, or parts of laws, until Jan 1. The General Assembly usually delays laws dealing with taxes collected on a yearly basis.
Starting Sunday, health insurance companies must report to the state Insurance Department how they supply mental health coverage for children, adolescents and adults through House Bill 1013. Part of the state’s earlier passed Mental Health Parity Act, this regulation requires insurance companies to cover mental health care equally to physical health care, according to state officials. Insurance Commissioner John King is required to analyze compliance by May 15 and submit a report of his findings by Aug. 15. The new law also says that the department must create a system to track complaints about unjust coverage denials and must uphold grants for court-ordered mental health treatment programs. Additional requirements will begin later in 2023 through 2024, according to state officials.
Concerned parents can file complaints to school districts about books, websites, and other materials they believe are obscene or harmful to their children through Senate Bill 226. The law requires schools to investigate complaints within seven business days, designate whether to ban the material or restrict access, and follow-up with the parent within 10 business days. Parents also have a legal right to share their concerns with the board during a public meeting. All titles of appealed materials must be listed on the school district’s website for a year, regardless of the decision made by the district.
People donating to law enforcement foundations that aid local police agencies can get tax credits on their state income tax. According to state officials, Senate Bill 361 grants police and sheriff’s departments $75 million per year in tax credits, with up to $3 million per agency. Agencies can use the money for officer salaries, training, equipment, or for programs that dispatch social and health workers to mental health emergencies.
Police and sheriff’s departments are not the only agencies to benefit from tax credits in 2023. Tax credits for donations to rural hospitals will increase by $15 million for a total of $75 million through House Bill 1041. The Department of Community Health designated 56 applicable hospitals. Each hospital can receive up to $4 million a year.
Food truck operators will be helped by House Bill 1443 as they will only need a single permit from their home county’s health department to operate. According to state officials, the law streamlines paperwork and operating costs. Operators still need to submit their health permit to each county they wish to operate in.
2023 increases the number of online sellers who need to publish contact information through Senate Bill 332. According to state officials, the law protects consumers making it harder to sell fraudulent goods online. Marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon must give consumers the full name of third-party companies or individuals with more than $20,000 in yearly sales. In most cases, the seller’s address, telephone number, and email address must be provided. Companies that fail to comply with the law will be suspended, according to state officials. Online marketplaces are mandated to provide consumers with a phone number and email address to report suspicious activity.