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New Georgia laws go into effect today, increasing tenants' rights, paid parental leave, and more

2023 aerial drone photo Georgia State Capitol Building in Atlanta
felix Mizioznikov/Felix Mizioznikov -
2023 aerial drone photo Georgia State Capitol Building in Atlanta

With housing – particularly affordable housing – in short supply across Georgia, two new state laws that take effect TODAY are aimed at an especially challenging group affected by the shortage: the homeless. The two bills, which the General Assembly passed overwhelmingly this year, are among a host of new laws covering a wide range of policy areas going into effect July 1. Lawmakers passed the Safe at Home Act offering new rights to tenants of rental properties designed to curb a high eviction rate in Georgia that drives up homelessness.

The second housing bill brings an accountability component to the State Housing Trust Fund intended to help Georgians overcome the root causes that lead to homelessness. House Bill 404, the Safe at Home Act, provides renters in Georgia new rights by requiring rental properties to be “fit for human habitation” upon signing a lease. Landlords also will be required to maintain their properties throughout the lease. House Bill 1010 – doubles paid parental leave for state workers following the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child in their home, providing a total leave of up to 240 hours.

House Bill 1332 – The No Patient Left Alone Act ensures visitation rights for patients in hospitals or nursing homes. The bill was championed by Rep. Matt Hatchett whose mother died alone of COVID in a hospital. Senate Bill 420 – prohibits foreign nationals or agents of foreign nationals from countries designated as adversaries by the U.S. Commerce Department from buying agricultural land in Georgia.

Senate Bill 494 – establishes regulations for the licensing and production of hemp products and prohibits their sale to anyone under age 21. House Bill 1341 – declares the white shrimp Georgia’s official crustacean, a move designed to promote the product in restaurants and grocery stores.

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