July 1st marks the day that 89 new Georgia laws go into effect. Here are just a few of the new laws and what we can expect:
Vendors at MARTA
MARTA riders will now be allowed to bring food and drink into common areas (though, save for resealable plastic bottles, not on buses and trains.) This amends an earlier law that only allowed people to bring resealable plastic bottles or food for children under five into train stations. MARTA’s Deputy General Dwight Ferrell commented that this law would pave the way for vendors such as newsstands and dry cleaners to open spaces within train stations. Would you find that convenient? Leave a message with your thoughts in the comments.
Embryos Up for Adoption
Religious conservatives backed House Bill 388 which would allow for the adoption of the extra embryos created when couples are trying to conceive. According to Jim Beck, President of the Georgia Christian Coalition, the bill is one step in the direction of having embryos declared “a life.” The bill’s author, however, did not include language in the bill specifying that an embryo is a person.
Legal Immigrant Employment Enforcement
The last leg of 2006 Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act will take effect today. It requires that all companies that do business with public employers verify that their employees are in the country legally.
Changes to Schools and Education
Georgia high school juniors and seniors will be allowed to attend college for high school course credit. A bill raising salaries for math and science teachers will go into effect in 2010. Students with allergies will be allowed to administer their own epi-pen injections on school grounds. Registered sex offenders will be prohibited from serving on school boards.
Any prisoner in jail for a year or longer will have to undergo a mandatory AIDS test. Crime victims, relatives and friends will now be allowed to testify through pre-recorded audio or video instead of appearing in person.
A new law states that absentee ballots must be counted and recorded at precinct level, and a new state agency has been created. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities is part of Georgia’s health and human services infrastructure.
April will now be Confederate Heritage and History Month and the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum will now be an official state civil rights museum.
Do you have opinions (positive and negative) on Georgia’s new laws? We would love to hear about them in the comments section.