2014 Enacted Legislation

Budget

AFY 2014

HB 743 - Supplemental appropriations; State Fiscal Year July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014

    Author: Rep. David Ralston (R – Blue Ridge)

    Signed by Governor: February 26, 2014

    Effective Date: February 26, 2014

The General Assembly approved HB 743, the Amended Fiscal Year (AFY) 2014 budget, on February 25, 2014. A House and Senate budget conference committee negotiated the $20.3 billion supplemental state budget, which partially funded the Judicial Council’s AFY 2014 enhancement requests. Governor Deal signed HB 743 on February 26, 2014. The specific enhancements to the AFY’14 Budget include:

Supreme Court

  • Increase in funds for a secure document destruction contract. ($12,000)
  • Increase in funds for contracts to reflect an adjustment in fees for legal research licensing. ($1,344)

Juvenile Courts

  • Increase in funds for Grants to Counties for Juvenile Court Judges, pursuant to O.C.G.A. 15-11-18. ($111,779)

Superior Courts

  • Increase in funds to Judicial Administrative Districts for personnel to restore funds from previous budget reductions. ($18,051)
  • Increase in funds to Superior Court Judges for personnel to restore funds from previous budget reductions. ($168,558)
  • Reduction in funds for the initial setup of the Piedmont and Bell-Forsyth judgeships created by SB 356 (2012 Session). ($60,500)

Council of State Court Judges Retirement

  • Increase in funds to reflect an adjustment to the employer share of the Judicial Retirement System and the Employees' Retirement System. ($105,631)

Council of Probate Court Judges

  • No increase in funds for personnel for an Executive Director for the Council of Probate Court Judges.

County and Municipal Probation Advisory Council

  • Increase in funds for operations for regulatory oversight of misdemeanor probation providers. ($16,580)

Accountability Courts

  • No increase in funds for one certification program officer position starting April 1, 2014.

Institute of Continuing Judicial Education

  • Provide one-time funds for maintenance and repairs. ($20,580)

Administrative Office of the Courts

  • No increase in funds to support the statewide civil e-filing portal for all courts.
  • Increase in funds for the rental rate increase by Georgia Building Authority. ($6,384)

 

FY 2015

HB 744 - General appropriations; State Fiscal Year July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015

    Sponsor: Rep. David Ralston (R – Blue Ridge)

   Signed by Governor: April 28, 2014

   Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 744 provides the State Budget for Fiscal Year 2015 (FY 2015).  The Senate voted 51-5 to approve the final version of the $20.8 billion spending plan while the House approved it by 174-2, sending the measure on to Governor Deal for his signature.

Highlights of the FY 2015 budget include:

Supreme Court

  • Provide funds for merit-based pay adjustments and employee recruitment and retention initiatives effective July 1, 2014. ($78,892)
  • Increase in funds to reflect an adjustment in the employer share of the Employees' Retirement System. ($175,267)
  • Reflect an adjustment in TeamWorks billings. ($967)
  • Increase in funds for contractual services for document destruction. ($27,408)
  • Increase funds for contractual services to reflect an adjustment in fees for legal research licensing. ($1,344)
  • Increase in funds for dues to the National Center for State Courts. ($27,414)
  • Increase in funds for a one-time purchase of computer software. ($306,785)
  • Increase in funds for personal services for one staff attorney position. ($128,313)
  • Increase in funds for personal services for one financial services position. ($64,156)
  • Annualize funds for one staff attorney position. ($62,357)
  • Reduce funds to digitize paper records. ($17,438)

Court of Appeals

  • Provide funds for merit-based pay adjustments and employee recruitment and retention initiatives effective July 1, 2014. ($136,342)
  • Increase in fund to reflect an adjustment in the employer share of the Employees' Retirement System. ($292,312)
  • Reflect an adjustment in TeamWorks billings. ($14,788)
  • Increase in funds for one documents clerk position. ($52,159)
  • Increase in funds for one staff attorney position. ($128,313)

Superior Courts

  • Provide funds to the Council of Superior Court Judges for merit-based pay adjustments and employee recruitment and retention initiatives effective July 1, 2014. ($11,602)
  • Increase funds for the Council of Superior Court Judges to reflect an adjustment in the employer share of the Employees' Retirement System. ($25,111)
  • Provide funds to the Judicial Administrative Districts for merit-based pay adjustments and employee recruitment and retention initiatives effective July 1, 2014. ($20,602)
  • Increase in funds for the Judicial Administrative Districts to reflect an adjustment in the employer share of the Employees' Retirement System. ($46,229)
  • Increase in funds for the Judicial Administrative Districts for operating expenses. ($50,000)
  • Provide funds to Superior Court Judges for merit-based pay adjustments and employee recruitment and retention initiatives effective July 1, 2014. ($422,572)
  • Increase in funds for Superior Court Judges to reflect an adjustment in the employer share of the Employees' Retirement System. ($310,583)
  • Reflect an adjustment in TeamWorks billings. ($5,423)
  • Increase in funds for Superior Court Judges for personal services for salary increases for secretaries. ($212,480)
  • Increase in funds for personal services for two law clerk positions. ($122,472)
  • Increase in funds to reflect an adjustment in the employer share of the Judicial Retirement System. ($691,149)
  • Annualize funds for two new judgeships in the Chattahoochee and Oconee Judicial Circuits provided in HB 451 (2013 Session). ($350,207)
  • Increase in funds for personal services eliminated in previous budget reductions. ($84,279)
  • Eliminate one-time funds for operating expenses for new judgeships in Piedmont and Bell-Forsyth circuits created in SB 356 (2012 Session). ($60,500)
  • Provide funds for two new judgeships in the Coweta and Waycross Judicial Circuits starting January 1, 2015. ($361,110)
  • No increase in Judicial Administrative District funds for personal services eliminated in previous budget reductions

Council of State Court Judges Retirement

  • Increase in funds to reflect an adjustment in the employer share of the Judicial Retirement System. ($395,867)

Juvenile Courts

  • Provide funds to the Council of Juvenile Court Judges for merit-based pay adjustments and employee recruitment and retention initiatives effective July 1, 2014. ($10,415)
  • Increase funds to reflect an adjustment in the employer share of the Judicial Retirement System. ($7,505)
  • Increase in funds for Juvenile Judges' Grants to counties. ($223,558)

Council of Probate Court Judges

  • No increase in funds for personnel for an Executive Director for the Council of Probate Court Judges.

County and Municipal Probation Advisory Council

  • Increase in funds for operating expenses for regulatory oversight of misdemeanor probation providers. ($66,320)

Accountability Courts

  • Provide funds for merit-based pay adjustments and employee recruitment and retention initiatives effective July 1, 2014. ($1,822)
  • Increase in funds to reflect an adjustment in the employer share of the Employees' Retirement System. ($4,414)
  • Increase in funds for one certification program officer position. ($78,806)

Institute of Continuing Judicial Education

  • No increase in funds for one educational event coordinator position for the training of judges.

Administrative Office of the Courts

  • Provide funds for merit-based pay adjustments and employee recruitment and retention initiatives effective July 1, 2014. ($51,889)
  • Increase funds to reflect an adjustment in the employer share of the Employees' Retirement System. ($147,851)
  • Reflect an adjustment in Team Works billings. ($9,750)
  • No increase in funds to support the statewide civil e-filing portal for all courts.
  • Increase in funds for the rental rate increase by Georgia Building Authority. ($6,329)

Family Law Information Center

  • No increase in funds for a Family Law Information Center in the Pataula Circuit.

Legal Services to Victims of Domestic Violence

  • Increase in funds for grants to local organizations for civil legal services to victims of domestic violence and coordinate with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to leverage additional federal and other funds for these services; all funds should support direct services. ($386,251)

Civil

HB 973 - Medicaid; changes to civil penalties for false or fraudulent claims; provisions

Author: Rep. Edward Lindsey (R – Atlanta)

HB 973 amends Code Section 49-4-168.1 relating to false Medicaid claims. If a person knowingly or conspires to file a false claim or otherwise defraud Medicaid to receive assistance when the person does not qualify that person shall be liable to the State of Georgia for a civil penalty of a minimum $5,500.00 and maximum of $11,000.00 for each false or fraudulent claim. However, no more than two times the amount of actual damages to Georgia Medicaid resulting from such fraud shall be imposed where the person negligently filed a false claim, is notified of the discrepancy, and within 30 days of notification but before having actual knowledge of a plan to investigate or actual commencement of an investigation or suit relating to such claims, fully cooperates with any government investigation into the violation.

The bill also amends Code Section 49-4-168.2 (l) to provide that the Attorney General pursuing civil actions by private persons can only do so where the civil claimant discloses the fraud prior to public disclosure or where the claimant voluntarily provides independent material that adds to the public disclosure.

Signed by Governor: April 21, 2014

Effective Date: April 21, 2014

HB 790 - Civil practice; four-year statute of limitations for actions involving removal of timber from the property of another; provisions

Author: Rep. Chuck Williams (R – Watkinsville)

HB 790 provides for a four-year statute of limitations for actions involving the cutting or cutting and carrying away of timber from the property of another.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 809 - Commerce and trade; bad faith assertions of patent infringement; prohibit

Author: Rep. Bruce Williamson (R – Monroe)

HB 809 amends Chapter 1 of Title 10, relating to selling and other trade practices, so as to prohibit bad faith assertions of patent infringement. It defines the terms used and associated with filing a demand letter asserting a patent infringement. It also provides guidance to superior courts on determining the validity of a bad faith assertion of patent infringement and requires the posting of a bond when a bad faith claim of patent infringement has been made, which shall not exceed $250,000.00. At the discretion of the court, the bond requirement may be waived if it finds the author of the demand letter has available assets equal to the amount of the proposed bond or for other good cause shown. HB 809 further provides the courts with guidance for determining damages if patent infringement has occurred.

Signed by Governor: April 24, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SB 125 - Liability of Owners/Occupier of Land; codify the duty of a possessor of land to a trespasser against harm

Author: Sen. Jesse Stone (R – Waynesboro)

SB 125 amends Article 1 of Chapter 3 of Title 51, relating to general provisions regarding the liability of owners and occupiers of land, so as to codify the duty of a possessor of land to a trespasser against harm. A possessor of land, including an owner, lessee, or other occupant, owes no duty of care to a trespasser except to refrain from causing a willful or wanton injury, including by a trap or pitfall. The bill sets forth the conditions in which a possessor of land may be subject to liability for physical injury or death to a child trespasser.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SB 386 - Civil Practice; prohibit public disclosure; social security numbers, taxpayers identification numbers; court documents

Author: Sen. John Albers (R – Roswell)

SB 386 adds new Code Section 9-11-8.1. It provides for the redaction of certain personal identifying information in court filings. The bill provides for exemptions to this redaction requirement, and provisions for filing unredacted copies under seal. In regards to protective orders, the bill authorizes a court to order the redaction of additional information and the limit/prohibition of a non-party’s remote electronic access to such documents. SB 386 amends §9-11-133(a) to provide for an acknowledgement by filers of redaction requirements on civil case filing forms.

SB 386 amends Code Section 15-10-42, by providing that proceedings in the magistrate court not be subject to Chapter 11 of Title 9 of the Georgia Civil Practice Act, except as provided in subsection (g) of Code Sections §§15-10-43 and 15-10-50. The bill also adds new Code Section §15-10-54 to provide for redacted summons of garnishment.

SB 386 changes the terms of court for the Superior Court of Bartow County from the first Monday in February and August, the fourth Monday in April, and the third Monday in October, to the first Monday in February, May, August and November.

Signed by Governor: April 22, 2014

Effective Date: Section 1 of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2015. Sections 2 through 9 of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2014, and shall apply to any filings made on or after such date.

Criminal

HB 271 - Individual's criminal history record information; revise definitions

Author: Rep. Jay Neal (R – LaFayette)

HB 271 amends Title 16, relating to crimes and offenses, so as to create the offense of murder in the second degree, and provides for penalties. A person commits the offense of murder in the second degree when, in the commission of cruelty to children in the second degree, he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice. A person convicted of the offense of murder in the second degree shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 30 years.

HB 271 also amends Code Section 17-6-15, relating to the necessity for commitment where bail is tendered and accepted. The bill reduces the cash escrow account or other form of collateral required for professional bonding companies that have continuously operated for 18 months. Once a professional bonding company has operated continuously for 18 months or longer in the county, then any such cash escrow account or other form of collateral shall not exceed 10 percent of the current outstanding bail bond liability of the professional bonding company. No professional bonding company shall purchase an insurance policy in lieu of establishing a cash escrow account or posting other collateral; provided, however, that any professional bonding company which was using an insurance policy as collateral as of December 31, 2013, may continue to do so at the discretion of the sheriff.

Sureties on criminal bonds in any court shall not charge or receive more than 15 percent of the face amount of the bond set which amount includes the principal and all applicable surcharges, as compensation from defendants or from anyone acting for defendants; provided, however, that a surety may charge and receive a minimum of $50.00 per bonded charge or offense as compensation, regardless of whether such compensation exceeds 15 percent of the face amount of any bond set.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 749 - Crimes and offenses; crime of cargo theft; provide

Author: Rep. Geoff Duncan (R – Cumming)

HB 749 adds new Code Section 16-8-22, relating to theft of a vehicle or cargo engaged in commercial transportation. The bill sets punishments relating to theft of controlled substances, fair market value of non-controlled substances and if container or trailer is stolen. If property taken has value of less than $10,000.00, punishment is imprisonment of 1 -10 years, a fine of $10,000.00 - $1,000,000.00, or both. If property taken is one or more controlled substance with a collective value of $10,000.00 but less than $1 million, punishment is imprisonment for 5 - 25 years, a fine of $50,000.00 - $1 million, or both. If the property taken is one or more controlled substances with a collective value of $1 million or more, punishment is imprisonment for 10 - 30 years, a fine of not less than $100,000.00 - $1 million, or both. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, if the property taken has a collective value of $1,500.00 or less, a person convicted of a violation of this Code section shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.

Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, if the property taken has a collective value of more than $1,500.00 but less than $10,000.00, a person convicted of a violation of this Code section shall be punished by imprisonment for 1 - 10 years, a fine of $10,000.00 - $1000,000.00, or both. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, if the property taken has a collective value of more than $10,000.00 but less than $1 million, a person convicted of a violation of this Code section shall be punished by imprisonment 5 - 20 years, a fine of not less than $50,000.00 - $1 million, or both. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, if the property taken has a collective value of $1 million or more, a person convicted of a violation of this Code section shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 10 - 20 years, a fine of not less than $100,000.00 - $1 million, or both.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code section, if the property taken is a trailer, semitrailer, container, or other associated equipment, or the cargo being transported therein or thereon, which is deployed by or used by a law enforcement agency, regardless of its value, a person convicted of a violation of this Code section shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years, a fine of not less than $10,000.00 nor more than $100,000.00, or both.

New Code Section 16-8-23 defines and sets punishment relating to use or attempted use of a fifth wheel device in cargo theft.

The bill repeals previous related Code Section 16-8-12(a)(8).

Signed by Governor: April 24, 2014

Effective Date: July, 1 2014

HB 770 - Crimes and offenses; crime of home invasion; create

Author: Rep. Chuck Efstration (R – Dacula)

HB 770 amends Chapter 7 of Title 16, by creating the crime of home invasion. It defines home invasion as entering someone’s dwelling house, without authority and with intent to commit a forcible felony (first degree) or forcible misdemeanor (second degree) while in possession of a firearm or deadly weapon, while the dwelling house is occupied by any person with authority to be present there. Anyone convicted shall be punished by imprisonment for life or imprisonment for not less than ten years for first degree and five years for second degree nor more than 20 years and by a fine of not less than $10,000.00 nor more than $100,000.00. Adjudication of guilt or imposition of sentence may be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld at the courts discretion. A sentence imposed under Code Section 16-7-1 shall be imposed separately from and consecutive to a sentence for any other offense related to the act or acts establishing the offense under Code Section 16-7-1. For a first degree offense, bail can only be set by a superior court judge. For a second degree offense, bail can be set by a magistrate.

Signed by Governor: April 21, 2014

Effective Date: July, 1 2014

HB 773 - Crimes and offenses; discharging a gun or pistol near public highway or street; change provisions

Author: Rep. Robert Dickey (R – Musella)

HB 773 provides exceptions to the unlawful discharging of a firearm within 50 yards of a public highway to include: (1) an indoor or outdoor sport shooting range; (2) facilities used for firearm or hunting safety courses sponsored by a unit of government, nonprofit corporation, or commercial enterprise; or (3) the business location of any person, firm, retail dealer, wholesale dealer, pawnbroker, or corporation licensed as a firearm dealer. It also excludes persons engaged in legal hunting within 50 yards of a public highway, except within municipalities. Any person found in violation shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: April 29, 2014

HB 783 - Game and fish; provisions relating to rules and regulations used to establish criminal violations; update

Author: Rep. Bill Hitchens (R – Rincon)

HB 783 amends Code Section 27-3-7, relating to hunting under the influence of alcohol or drugs, by revising the implied consent warning read at the time a chemical test is requested. The revised implied consent warning stipulates that the individual being tested must be convicted of hunting under the influence of drugs or alcohol in order for his or her privilege to hunt to be suspended. The bill also amends § 27-1-39 to change the effective date of the rules and regulations of the Board of Natural Resources from February 5, 2013 to January 1, 2014.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: May 1, 2014

HB 826 - Crimes and offenses; carrying weapons within certain school safety zones and at school functions; change provisions

Author: Rep. Ed Setzler (R – Acworth)

HB 826 eliminates the “zero-tolerance policy” for weapons found in school safety zones. It provides definitional changes of key terms in Article 4 of Chapter 11 of Title 16. These new definitions are then implemented throughout various parts of the code. The bill amends the definition of “school safety zone” with a broader definition, so as to expand the area of applicability for certain school related offenses.

The bill specifically adds a provision that requires an individual who is licensed to carry a weapon to keep their license in their immediate possession. If they are licensed, but do not have the license in their immediate possession, they may be fined no more than $10.00.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 828 - Insurance; solicitation, release, or sale of automobile accident information; prohibit

Author: Rep. Ronnie Mabra (D – Fayetteville)

HB 828 prohibits the solicitation, release, or sale of car wreck information including the personal information of individuals’ involved in the accident. Any person convicted, on first offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be imprisoned for at least 30 days and a fine of at most $1,000.00. Second conviction is a felony punished by imprisonment of up to ten years and a fine up to $100,000.00 per violation.

Signed by Governor: April 21, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 838 - Invasions of privacy; transmission of photography or video depicting nudity or sexually explicit conduct of an adult under certain circumstances; prohibit

Author: Rep. Kevin Tanner (R – Dawsonville)

HB 838 amends Article 3 of Chapter 11 of Title 16, relating to invasions of privacy by prohibiting the transmission of photography or video depicting nudity or sexually explicit conduct of an adult when the transmission or post is intended to cause substantial emotional distress to the depicted person, or causes financial loss to the depicted person, and serves no legitimate purpose to the depicted person. Violation of this Code section shall be a felony and, punishment by imprisonment of not less than one nor more than five years, a fine of not more than $100,000.00, or both.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 845 - Public disclosure; disclosure of arrest booking photographs except under certain circumstances; prohibit

Author: Rep. Brian Strickland (R – McDonough)

HB 845 amends Code Section 50-18-72 by prohibiting arrest booking photographs from being published or posted on websites, unless the person in the photograph has been convicted of a crime. Furthermore, law enforcement is prohibited from providing arrest photos in circumstances indicating they may be published electronically.

Signed by Governor: April 24, 2014

Effective Date: Date: July 1, 2014

HB 863 - Crimes and offenses; cruelty to animals and aggravated cruelty to animals; change provisions

Author: Rep. Rich Golick (R – Smyrna)

HB 863 amends Article 1 of Chapter 12 of Title 16, by changing provisions relating to cruelty to animals and aggravated cruelty to animals. Any person convicted of the offense of cruelty to animals shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person who has had a prior adjudication of guilt for the offense of cruelty to animals shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. Any person convicted of the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, a fine not to exceed $15,000.00, or both. Any person who has had a prior adjudication of guilt for the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years, a fine not to exceed $100,000.00, or both.

Signed by Governor: April 22, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 899 - Unlicensed personal care homes; criminal penalties for owning or operating; provide

Author: Rep. Sharon Cooper (R – Marietta)

HB 899 amends Code Section 31-7-12.1 to allow the commissioner or district attorney of the judicial circuit in which an unlicensed personal care home is located to file a petition to abate such nuisance. It increases the penalty for operating a personal care home in violation of § 31-7-12(b) to a felony where there is abuse, neglect, or exploitation. A felony violation shall be punished by imprisonment for one to five years. A second or subsequent conviction results in a felony, with the punishment being imprisonment for one to ten years.

Signed by Governor: April 24, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 911 - Crimes and offenses; strangulation as aggravated assault; add provisions

Author: Rep. Mandi L. Ballinger (R – Canton)

 HB 911 amends Code Section 16-5-21, relating to assault and battery, to define and include strangulation in the offence of aggravated assault. Strangulation means impeding the normal breathing or circulation of blood by applying pressure to the throat or neck, or obstructing the nose or mouth.

 Signed by Governor: April 24, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SB 187 - State Government; provide exemption for the board of commissioners of Georgia Student Finance Commission; board of directors

Author: Sen. Judson Hill (R – Marietta)

SB 187 amends Title 17, relating to criminal procedure, so as to change from one year to three years the time limit for a victim to submit a claim to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council for compensation. For victims who were minors at the time of a crime, the bill allows tolling of three years past their eighteenth birthday to submit a claim. The bill also clarifies terminology used for persons seeking victim compensation.

The bill as passed contains no provisions related to student finance as expressed in the title.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SB 382 - Theft; provide for the crime of retail theft; penalties

Author: Sen. Jeff Mullis (R – Chickamauga)

SB 382 amends Article 1 of Chapter 8 of Title 16 by adding new Code Section 16-8-14.1 providing for the crime of retail theft, particularly in regard to refund fraud. It makes it unlawful to give a false or fictitious name or address, or that of another person without their approval, or to use a driver’s license or identification card belonging to another person or containing false information, for the purposes of obtaining or attempting to obtain a refund from a business establishment. The bill designates felony and misdemeanor penalties for these provisions. It amends § 15-10-260 to include violations of § 16-8-14.1 in the misdemeanor jurisdiction of magistrate courts. Finally, the bill grants municipal courts jurisdiction over such misdemeanor offenses, if the crime takes place within the corporate limits of the municipality. This jurisdiction shall be concurrent with that of any other courts within the county having jurisdiction over such cases.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SB 207 - Probation of first offenders; person disqualified from employment when discharged as felony offender; add private home care providers to list

Author: Sen. John Albers (R – Roswell)

 SB 207 amends Code Section 31-8-51, regarding definitions relative to the long-term care ombudsman program, by adding “private home care provider” to the list of entities included in the definition of “long-term care facility.” These facilities are subject to regulation and licensure by the Department of Community Health.

Signed by Governor: April 22, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

Compensation/Retirement

HB 292 - Magistrates Retirement Fund of Georgia; maximum average final monthly compensation calculated in determining benefits; establish

Author: Rep. Paul Battles (R – Cartersville)

HB 292 amends Article 5 of Chapter 25 of Title 47, relating to benefits under the Magistrates Retirement Fund of Georgia, by establishing the maximum average final monthly compensation calculated in determining benefits.

Signed by Governor: April 24, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 477 - Employees' Retirement System of Georgia; Georgia Judicial Retirement System; transfer service credit

Author: Rep. Jay Powell (R – Camilla)

HB 477 amends Title 47 , relating to service creditable toward retirement benefits under the Employees' Retirement System of Georgia. It provides for the transfer of service credit from the Georgia Judicial Retirement System to the Employees' Retirement System of Georgia. It provides for the transfer of funds and the payment for creditable service in the Employees' Retirement System of Georgia for prior service as a member of the Georgia Judicial Retirement System.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 580 - Superior Court Clerk's Retirement Fund; provide spousal survivor's benefit

Author: Rep. Tom Weldon (R – Ringgold)

HB 580 amends Code Section 47-14-70, relating to eligibility and application for retirement benefits under the Superior Court Clerks' Retirement Fund. Upon retirement a member may elect spousal benefits. After the member’s death, the spouse shall receive 50 percent of the amount which the member would have received had the member elected the full benefits provided under subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section. The surviving spouse shall have been married to the member for at least six years immediately preceding the member's death and reach 55 years of age before the benefits commence.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July, 1 2014

HB 601 - Judges of the Probate Courts Retirement Fund of Georgia; define certain terms; provisions

Author: Rep. Howard Maxwell (R – Dallas)

HB 601 amends Chapter 11 of Title 47 , relating to the Judges of the Probate Courts Retirement Fund of Georgia, so as to define certain terms and to restrict and repeal an automatic cost-of-living benefit increase. It provides for a portion of fines and forfeited bonds for criminal, quasi-criminal, and civil cases for violating state statutes or traffic laws be paid to the fund. It provides a member contribution and conditions for an effective date and automatic repeal.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July, 1 2014

HB 646 - Magistrate Retirement Fund of Georgia; part-time chief magistrates may become members of such fund; provide

Author: Rep. Barry Fleming (R – Harlem)

HB 646 amends Chapter 25 of Title 47 , relating to the Magistrates Retirement Fund of Georgia, to provide that part-time chief magistrates may become members.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July, 1 2014

HB 764 - Georgia State Employees' Pension and Savings Plan; certain employee’s make contributions at rate of 5 percent unless otherwise specified; provide

Author: Rep. Howard Maxwell (R – Dallas)

HB 764 amends Title 47 , relating to retirement and pensions. This bill revises the Georgia State Employees’ Pension and Savings Plan (GSEPS). The initial contribution rate for employees who enroll in the 401(k) portion of the plan will be changed from 1 percent of the employee’s salary to 5 percent in order to maximize the full state offered match. Employees may change their contribution rate at any time. This will take effect for employees hired on or after July 1, 2014.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 843 - Retirement and pensions; ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations; change certain provisions

Author: Rep. Lynne Riley (R – Johns Creek)

HB 843 amends Title 47, relating to retirement and pensions, so as to change certain provisions to ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations. The changes keep the Employees' Retirement System (ERS) in compliance with IRS pension plan regulations. It replaces the detailed IRC 415 language with a statement that the plans must qualify with IRC 415 requirements. Similar changes are made to the Judicial Retirement System by amending §§ 47-23-81 and -23-82.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

Fines and Fees

HB 215 - Superior courts; filings in the clerk's office; change provisions

Author: Rep. Tommy Benton (R – Jefferson)

HB 215 allows clerks to refuse filings that are not accompanied by the appropriate fees. The bill also allows superior court clerks’ offices with three or fewer employees to be open from 8:00 A.M. until noon and 1:00 P.M. until 5:00 P.M.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 842 - Appeal and error; payment of costs and indigency affidavits; clarify provisions

Author: Rep. Wendell Willard (R – Sandy Springs)

HB 842 Amends Article 1 of Chapter 6 of Title 5 by allowing waiver of the $80.00 fee for criminal cases and $300.00 fee for civil cases appealed to the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court at the time of appeal if the applicant is incarcerated, counsel for the applicant was appointed due to indigency, or an affidavit of indigency is filed.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 858 - Columbus, City of; Recorder's Court; impose and collect technology fee for each fine imposed

Author: Rep. Calvin Smyre (D – Columbus)

HB 858 authorizes the Recorder’s Court of Columbus, Georgia, to impose and collect technology fees. The Clerk of Court will be entitled to charge a technology fee set by the court, not to exceed $25.00, as a surcharge to each fine. This fine cannot be added to a fine established by general law. The fines shall be used specifically for the technology needs of the court and will be maintained in a segregated fund by the court clerk.

Gov. Deal’s Veto Statement: “House Bill 858 authorizes the Recorder’s Court of Columbus to levy up to a $25 technology fee to each fine imposed. In 2013, I signed legislation authorizing the Recorder’s Court of Columbus to levy up to a $15 technology fee. A $25 fee is excessive compared to similar court fees across the state and I am concerned that such a fee increase would set an unacceptable precedent for other similar courts. For this reason, I VETO HB 858.”

HB 870 - Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund; imposition of additional fine for reckless driving; provide

Author: Rep. Kevin Tanner (R – Dawsonville)

HB 870 imposes an additional fine of 10 percent of the original fine for the offense of reckless driving and provides for the allocation of the additional funds to the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund.

See also HR 1183 proposing a constitutional amendment be put to the voters to authorize this change.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: This Act shall become effective on January 1, 2015, provided that a constitutional amendment is passed by the General Assembly and is ratified by the voters in the November, 2014, General Election amending the State Constitution to add the offense of reckless driving to the offenses for which the General Assembly may impose additional penalties or fees to be paid into the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund.

HB 1000 - Revenue and taxation; setoff debt collection against state income tax refunds for debts owed to political subdivisions and courts; provisions

Author: Rep. Barry Fleming (R – Harlem)

HB 1000 amends Title 48, relating to revenue and taxation, so as to provide for setoff debt collection against state income tax refunds for fines and fees owed to courts. The bill establishes a process by which delinquent court fines and fees can be deducted from the debtor’s state income tax refund. It allows courts to submit unpaid fine and fee data for amounts greater than $25.00 to the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). The AOC may then consolidate the unpaid debt information and submit it to the Georgia Department of Revenue, which will deduct the unpaid fine/fees from state income tax refunds. The Department will send the deducted funds to the AOC for distribution to the requesting court.

Signed by Governor: April 14, 2014

Effective Date: January 1, 2015

HB 1059 - Fulton County State Court; revise certain fees

Author: Rep. Wendell Willard (R – Sandy Springs)

HB 1059 provides that the filing cost, including the first judgment and fi. fa., for all suits or proceedings of any character, except garnishment and proceedings against tenant holding over, shall be $55.00 plus $8.00 for each additional defendant. In addition, there shall be a $50.00, per copy, charge for serving copy of process and returning original by the marshal. The filing cost for a proceeding against tenant holding over, except where the writ of possession is executed, shall be $55.00 plus $8.00 for each additional defendant. In addition, there shall be a $35.00, per copy, charge for serving copy of process and returning original by the marshal. Where it is necessary to apply for, execute, or apply for and execute the writ of possession, there shall be a $75.00 charge for the application, execution, or application and execution.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 1117 - Port Wentworth, City of; change penalties imposed by municipal court

Author: Rep. Bill Hitchens (R – Rincon)

HB 1117 changes the penalties which may be imposed by the municipal court of the City of Port Wentworth. The municipal court judge is allowed to impose fines of up to $1,000.00 or imprison offenders up to six months in jail for breaking city laws or ordinances. Additionally, the judge may impose fines up to $1,000.00 or imprison offenders up to 30 days for contempt of court. The judge may also issue warrants for state offenses committed within the city limits, and process these cases as applicable.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: May 1, 2014

HR 1183 - General Assembly; additional penalties or fees for reckless driving and provide allocation of fees to Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund; impose – CA

Author: Rep. Kevin Tanner (R – Dawsonville)

HR 1183 is a proposed amendment to the Constitution imposing additional penalties or fees for the offense of reckless driving and may provide for the allocation of the additional penalties or fees to the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund.

This is the companion resolution to HB 870.

SB 344 - Probate Court of Johnson County; authorize to charge a technology fee for civil case filed and criminal fine imposed

Author: Sen. Jesse Stone (R – Waynesboro)

SB 344 authorizes the Probate Court of Johnson County to charge a technology fee for the filing of each civil action or as a surcharge to each criminal fine paid. The technology fee shall be set by the court and shall not exceed $5.00.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: July, 1 2014

General

HB 60 - Firearms; certain laws regarding carrying and possession by retired judges; provide exemption

Author: Rep. Doug Holt (R – Social Circle)

HB 60 amends Titles 16 (Crimes and Offenses), 20 (Education), 38 (Military, Emergency Management, and Veterans Affairs) and 43 (Professions and Businesses). The bill allows weapons carry license holders to carry loaded guns into bars and the public area of airports. It authorizes school boards to authorize staff members to carry guns at schools. It also strengthens the “Stand Your Ground” defense. A detailed analysis of the bill can be reviewed here: (http://www.georgiacourts.gov/legislation/Summary%20of%20HB%2060%20Gun%20bill.pdf).  

Signed by Governor: April 23, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 251 - Tobacco; sale of alternative nicotine products or components to minors; prohibit

Author: Rep. Alan Powell (R – Hartwell)

HB 251 prohibits the sale of alternative nicotine products or components thereof to minors. The bill establishes the definition of an alternative nicotine product to mean an electronic cigarette or any other product that consists of or contains nicotine that can be ingested into the body by chewing, smoking, absorbing, dissolving, inhaling, or any other means.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 310 - Elections; ethics in government; revise definitions; provisions

Author: Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R – Atlanta)

HB 310 addresses issues with the timing of filing a notice of candidacy. Instead of a specific day in a specific month, it is now based on a certain number of weeks before the election. Nonpartisan election filings for candidacy take place eleven weeks before the election and partisan election filings take place thirty five weeks before the election. Primaries are to be held twenty four weeks before the November elections. Run offs after a primary will take place nine weeks after that primary.

Signed by Governor: January 21, 2014

Effective Date: January 21, 2014

HB 438 - Court-referred alternative dispute resolution programs; legal costs; increase maximum amount of additional cost

Author: Rep. Jay Powell (R – Camilla)

HB 438 increases, from $7.50 to $10.00, the allowable sum that can be charged in each civil action to provide court-connected or court-referred alternative dispute resolution programs. Local ADR boards have discretion whether to increase the fee.

Signed by Governor: April 24, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 449 - Agency records disclosure; change certain provisions relating to 9-1-1 calls

Author: Rep. Micah Gravley (R – Douglasville)

House Bill 449 amends Code Section 50-18-72(a), by adding new paragraph (26.1)(A). The new paragraph expands records that need not be disclosed to the public to include 9-1-1 telephone calls which contain cries in extremis or speech in distress of a caller who died during the call or the speech or cries of a person who was a minor at the time of the call.

The records need not be turned over except to: a representative of deceased estate's caller; a parent or legal guardian of a minor; an accused in a criminal case where the call is relevant to criminal proceedings; a party to a civil action where the call is relevant; or an attorney for any of the foregoing.

Signed by Governor: April 24, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 670 - Trade names; require registration with the clerk of superior court; provisions

Author: Rep. Barry Fleming (R – Harlem)

HB 670 amends Code Section 10-1-490, relating to registration of businesses using trade names by requiring the registration of trade names with the clerk of superior court. HB 670 amends Article 2 of Chapter 6 of Title 15, relating to clerks of superior courts, so as to establish a state-wide trade name registry. The Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority or its designated agent shall develop and implement a state-wide uniform automated information system for trade names registered in the offices of the clerks of superior court pursuant to Code Section 10-1-490. The bill provides for duties of clerks of superior courts and for fees.

Gov. Deal’s Veto Statement: “Currently, business trade names are housed and accessed in the Superior Courts of our state. This bill would create a statewide registry of business trade names to be housed and maintained by the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority. Several provisions of this legislation are concerning. This legislation would effectively increase taxes on small businesses by raising trade name registration fees and would add new fees for canceling or reregistering existing trade names. I also have significant concerns about the language in the bill which attempts to dedicate these fees for a specific purpose. For these reasons, I VETO HB 670.”

HB 776 - Courts; information provided to compile state-wide master jury lists and county master jury lists; clarify

Author: Rep. Alex Atwood (R – Brunswick)

HB 776 amends Titles 15 (Courts), 21 (Elections), and Title 40 (Motor Vehicles and Traffic), to revise provisions relating to the creation of the state’s master jury list. The bill deletes Code section 15-12-20, which creates boards of jury commissioners, and deletes references to such boards throughout the code. The data to be submitted by state agencies for computation of the jury lists is clarified and expanded. It also adds Superior Court clerks and jury clerks to several code sections.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 835 - Controlled substances; Schedules I, III, and IV; change certain provisions

Author: Rep. Bruce Broadrick (R – Dalton)

HB 835 amends Chapter 13 of Title 16, relating to controlled substances. The Act adds substances under Schedules I, III, and IV, and updates and revises the list of dangerous drugs and substances.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: April 29, 2014

HB 837 - Probation services; provide for legislative findings and intent; provisions

Author: Rep. Mark Hamilton (R – Cumming)

HB 837 amends Article 6 of Chapter 8 of Title 42, relating to agreements for probation services, by stating that it is the General Assembly's intention to authorize judges to use county and municipal probation services providers to supervise misdemeanor and county and city ordinance offenders in the same manner as the judges of the superior courts use state probation services as a way to supervise felony offenders.

The bill also amends Code Section 42-8-100 by striking reference to county or municipal court in relation to jurisdiction of probation matters, as well as adding a list of terms and conditions for probation that the probationer shall follow. HB 837 allows judges to toll warrants when all efforts have been exhausted to find a running probationer, while adding to the Code section an effective date for the tolling of the sentence and discussing related fines and time already served on probation.

Gov. Deal’s Veto Statement: “House Bill 837 provides updates and certain expansions to the role of private companies in the administration of probation services in Georgia. There is language in this legislation that would exempt certain key information about private probation services from the Georgia Open Records Act. I favor more transparency over private probation services and therefore I am not in favor of this information being exempt from the Georgia Open Records Act. In addition, it is my understanding that the Supreme Court of Georgia has under its consideration an appeal that would address the role of private probation services and, while the current law pertaining to private probation services remains in effect, this legislation seeks to have a preemptive impact on any decision in that appeal. With these considerations in mind, I VETO House Bill 837.”

HB 872 - Evidence; privileged communication between law enforcement and peer counselors under certain circumstances; create

Author: Rep. Terry Rogers (R – Clarkesville)

HB 872 amends Chapter 5 of Title 24 to create privileged communication between law enforcement officers and peer counselors under certain circumstances. The bill defines “client,” “immediate family,” and “peer counselor,” while stating that communications between a client and peer counselor shall be privileged and not disclosed unless certain exceptions are met.

Signed by Governor: April 17, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 965 - Georgia 9-1-1 Medical Amnesty Law; enact

Author: Rep. Sharon Cooper (R – Marietta)

HB 965 provides immunities from certain arrests, charges, or prosecutions for persons seeking medical assistance for a drug or alcohol related overdose.

Signed by Governor: April 24, 2014

Effective Date: April 24, 2014

HB 1078 - Courts; juries and grand juries; provisions

Author: Rep. Trey Kelley (R – Cedartown)

HB 1078 is a cleanup provision to the 2011 jury reform legislation, HB 415. The bill clarifies the type of jury and juror by inserting the words “trial or grand.” It also requires the presiding judge consult with the district attorney before choosing a sufficient number of persons to serve as grand jurors. It permits the presiding judge and the district attorney to examine prospective grand jurors as to their qualifications to serve prior to empaneling, swearing, and charging the grand jury.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: April 29, 2014

SB 297 - Elections; campaign contributions; filing of notices of intention to accept campaign contributions by county/municipal candidates

Author: Sen. Butch Miller (R – Gainesville)

SB 297 amends Article 2 of Chapter 5 of Title 21, relating to campaign contributions. The bill makes changes to local elections and reporting requirements by requiring candidates make the declaration of intention to accept campaign contributions to the local election official. It also changes the time frame for which an affidavit to not accept funds is valid from just a calendar year to an election cycle, so that the reports do not have to be filed each year. The bill establishes that county and municipal candidates filing a notice of intent to accept campaign contributions shall be made with the election superintendent of the county. Certain candidates may file notice of intent not to accept more than $2,500.00 or spend more than $2,500.00 in the election and will not be required to file campaign finance disclosure reports. However, the acceptance or expenditure of more than those amounts will require the filing of certain reports. Should a candidate or committee accept contributions or make expenditures exceeding $5,000, then they are required to file only the June 30 and October 25 reports.

Signed by Governor: January 31, 2014

Effective Date: January 31, 2014

SB 320 - Veterans Court Divisions; create

Author: Sen. Ed Harbison (D – Columbus)

SB 320 is enabling legislation for veterans’ court divisions. It creates new Code Section 15-1-17 to provide statutory authority to veterans’ court divisions in any court that has jurisdiction over criminal cases. The bill provides for a planning group, work plan, policies and practices, written criteria defining the successful completion of the program, and the dismissal of a case, or reduction or modification of the sentence, against the veterans' court participant. The bill also provides for standards and exemptions for eligibility. SB 320 includes provisions regarding privacy considerations and access to participant records by veterans' court division staff.

The bill specifies that fees received by participants shall not be construed as court costs or fines, and provides for sources of funding and support. SB 320 amends § 35-3-37 to include the successful completion a veterans treatment program among those dispositions by which access to an individual’s criminal history information records is restricted. SB 320 amends § 40-5-76 to allow the judge presiding over a veterans court division to restore or suspend a participant’s driver’s license or issue a participant a limited driving permit.

Signed by Governor: April 15, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SB 341 - Probate Courts; clerk's authority to act on uncontested matters; repeal a population provision

 

Author: Sen. Jesse Stone (R – Waynesboro)

SB 341 amends Code Section 15-9-36 by repealing the population provision relative to a clerk's authority to act on uncontested matters and provides for a clerk's authority to act on uncontested matters.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: April 29, 2014

SB 365 - Fair Business Practices Act; enact offender reentry reforms as recommended by the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform

Author: Sen. Jesse Stone (R – Waynesboro)

SB 365 enacts offender reentry reforms as recommended by the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform in its report issued January, 2014. Reforms include the expansion of the restoration of a defendant’s driver’s license or issuance of a limited driving permit to cases when the offense is not related to the operation of a motor vehicle; reentry assistance programs by the Department of Corrections to assist adult offenders; and a Program Completion and Treatment Certificate to symbolize an offender’s achievements toward successful reentry into society.

These certificates shall create a rebuttable presumption of due care for employers in engaging with the individual who holds the certificate, or an individual who has been granted a pardon from the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. SB 365 also includes provisions related to juvenile justice reforms, relating to the determination of the date on which a child is considered to have entered foster care, periodic review hearings, and a new Code section, §15-11-623, relating to permanency plans and the hearings related to such plans. Language from HB 923 was added to SB 365.

It amends Article 11 of Chapter 11 of Title 15, Chapter 15 of Title 19, and Article 1 of Chapter 3 of Title 35, relating to the "Georgia Child Advocate for the Protection of Children Act," child abuse, and general provisions for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, respectively, so as to move the responsibility of coordinating and supervising the work of the Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel from the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children to the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation or his or her designee.

It provides for a short title and for the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to assist local child fatality review committees. SB 365 also amends Code Section 49-5-41, relating to persons and agencies permitted access to child abuse and dependency records, so as to clarify defined terms and change provisions relating to disclosure.

Signed by Governor: April 13, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SR 986 - Senate Unified Courts Technology Study Committee; create

            Author: Sen. Joshua McKoon (R- Columbus)

SR 986 creates the Senate Unified Courts Technology Study Committee to study the cost and feasibility of a significant investment in state and local information technology systems, the cost of training state and local employees on new systems, and the feasibility of using add-on fees to fund system upgrades.

Juvenile

HB 804 - Trial proceedings; relating to testimony of a child ten years old or younger by closed circuit television and persons entitled to be present; repeal provisions

Author: Rep. Edward Lindsey (R – Atlanta)

HB 804 repeals Code Section 17-8-55 relating to the testimony of a child ten years old or younger by closed circuit television and persons entitled to be present. It enacts a new Code Section 17-8-55, which under certain circumstances allows the court to hold an evidentiary hearing on whether an individual under 17 years of age should testify outside the physical presence of an accused in criminal proceedings.

Signed by Governor: April 21, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 898 - Interstate Compact for Juveniles; enact

Author: Rep. B.J. Pak (R – Lilburn)

HB 898 amends Titles 39 and 49 , relating to minors and social services. It repeals the Interstate Compact on Juveniles enacted in 1972 in Title 39, and enacts a new Interstate Compact for Juveniles in Title 49. HB 898 also amends Code Section 15-11-10 and Title 49, relating to the exclusive original jurisdiction of juvenile courts and social services, respectively, so as to correct cross-references.

Signed by Governor: April 28, 2014

Effective Date: July, 1 2014

HB 1061 - Fulton County Juvenile Court; chief administrative officer have oversight of budget; provisions

Author: Rep. Wendell Willard (R – Sandy Springs)

HB 1061 provides for the administration of the budget of the Fulton County Juvenile Court. The chief administrative officer of the Fulton County Juvenile Court shall have oversight of the court's budget. After county funds have been appropriated for the operation of the court, the chief administrative officer, with the approval of the chief judge of the juvenile court, shall have the authority to make changes to line item appropriations.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

SB 282 - Georgia Child Support Commission; enact provisions; relating to child support and enforcement of child support orders

Author: Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R – Rome)

SB 282 was a bill brought by the Georgia Child Support Commission that amends Chapter 6 and Article 1 of Chapter 11 of Title 19 of the O.C.G.A., relating to alimony and child support. It adds “and time” after "date" in the definition of "preexisting order," so that if multiple orders are filed on the same day requiring the one obligor to pay child support, the earliest order filed will be considered to pre-exist any subsequently-filed orders. Veterans' disability benefits are added to the definition of income that must be included in gross income when calculating child support. SB 282 removes the limitation on who may request a low income deviation, and allow the court to consider granting such a deviation upon consideration of sufficient evidence. The court is given authorization to rely on worksheets prepared by the Division of Child Support Services if neither parent prepared a worksheet. The basic child support obligation table review period is changed from every two years to every four years.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SB 364 - Juvenile Code; revise and correct errors or omissions

            Author: Sen. Jesse Stone (R – Waynesboro)

SB 364 provides clean up and adjustments related to HB 242 and HB 349 passed in 2012. This includes clean up and adjustments to definitions and provisions in the Juvenile Code. Additionally, the bill updates the definition of “solid substance” as used in § 16-13-30 and clarifies provisions relating to mandatory minimum sentences in §§ 16-1331, 16-13-31.1.

The language from HB 654, a bill allowing objections to the nomination of testamentary guardians, was added to SB 364. Part IV of SB 364 amends § 29-2-4 to provide for objections to the nomination of a testamentary guardian and the procedures that must be followed.

Current law requires a probate judge to issue letters of guardianship to the individual nominated in the will as testamentary guardian, if such individual(s) is willing to serve. This bill provides notice of the testamentary guardianship to adult siblings, grandparents, and great aunts and uncles. It allows those relatives to file an objection within 10 days to the nominated testamentary guardian. The petitioner must establish by clear and convincing evidence that the nominated guardian is unfit; otherwise, the judge must award guardianship to the nominated guardian.

Signed by Governor: April 28, 2014

Effective Date: Parts I and II of this Act shall become effective April 28, 2014. Part III of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2014, and Part IV of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2015. Sections 2-2 and 2-3 of Part II of this Act shall apply to any sentence imposed on or after July 1, 2013.

Local Compensation

HB 768 - Cherokee Judicial Circuit; Superior Court; change supplement paid to each judge

Author: Rep. Christian Coomer (R – Cartersville)

HB 768 provides that in addition to the compensation and allowances paid to the judges of the superior courts, the judges of the Superior Court of the Cherokee Judicial Circuit will receive $32,300.00 per annum, payable monthly. The district attorney will receive $18,000.00 per annum, payable monthly, which is in addition to the compensation and allowances paid to the district attorney by the state, and is in lieu of all fees and other perquisites. Both salaries will be paid out of the funds of the Counties of Gordon and Bartow, and apportioned among those two counties on a per capita basis according to the United States decennial census of 2010 or any future census.

Signed by Governor: January 31, 2014

Effective Date: February 1, 2014

HB 953 - Gwinnett Judicial Circuit; salary supplements for judges; change provisions

Author: Rep. B.J. Pak (R – Lilburn)

HB 953 changes provisions relating to the salary supplements for the judges of the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit. The salary of each judge shall be supplemented in the amount of $50,440.00 annually from the funds of Gwinnett County. Effective January 1, 2015, the supplemented amount shall be $52,670.00 annually from the funds of Gwinnett County.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: July, 1 2014

HB 1122 - Cobb County State Court; change compensation of judges

Author: Rep. Stacey Evans (D – Smyrna)

HB 1122 increases the annual salary of Cobb County State Court judges from $161,662.00 to $166,551.00.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 1123 - Cobb County superior court; change compensation of clerk

Author: Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R – Powder Springs)

HB 1123 increases the annual salary of Cobb County superior court clerk to $124,373.53 per year, the executive assistant to $60,515.52, and the executive secretary to $55,860.48.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 1126 - Cobb Judicial Circuit; supplement to each judge of superior court and additional supplement for chief judge; provide

Author: Rep. Stacey Evans (D – Smyrna)

HB 1126 increases the annual supplement of the Cobb Judicial Circuit Superior Court judges to at least $65,893.00. It authorizes an additional supplement to the Cobb Judicial Circuit Superior Court chief judge to at least $10,396.00.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 1127 - Cobb County Probate Court; change compensation of judge

Author: Rep. Stacey Evans (D – Smyrna)

HB 1127 changes the compensation of the clerk of the superior court, the sheriff, and the judge of the Probate Court of Cobb County from the fee system to the salary system. It also increases the annual salary of the judge of the Probate Court of Cobb County to $129,179.63, and the clerk of the probate court to $85,906.89.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

SB 424 - State Court of Cobb County; change the compensations of the clerk and chief deputy clerk

Author: Sen.Lindsay Tippins (R – Marietta)

SB 424 increases the compensations of the clerk and the chief deputy clerk of the State Court of Cobb County. The clerk of the State Court of Cobb County shall receive an annual salary of $109,226.12 and the salary of the chief deputy clerk shall be $98,303.59.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

SB 425 - Probate Court of Cobb County; change the compensation of the chief and deputy, chief investigator, executive assistant to the sheriff

Author: Sen.Lindsay Tippins (R – Marietta)

SB 425 provides compensation for the Clerk of the Superior Court, the Sheriff, and the Judge of the Probate Court of Cobb County from the fee system to the salary system.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

Local Elections

HB 792 - Mitchell County; board of elections and registration; create

Author: Rep. Jay Powell (R – Camilla)

HB 792 creates a board of elections and registration for Mitchell County and provides for its powers and duties. The bill establishes that the board shall have the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the superintendent of elections of Mitchell County under Chapter 2 of Title 21 of the O.C.G.A., the Georgia Election Code, currently being exercised by the judges of the Probate Court of Mitchell County. It also provides the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Board of Registrars of Mitchell County under Chapter 2 of Title 21 of the O.C.G.A., the Georgia Election Code.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: For the purposes of making initial appointments to the board, this Act shall become effective May 1, 2014. For all other purposes, this Act shall become effective June 1, 2014.

HB 800 - Lanier County; probate judge; provide nonpartisan elections

Author: Rep. Jason Shaw (R – Lakeland)

HB 800 provides for the nonpartisan election of the office of the probate judge of Lanier  

County.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 938 - Gwinnett County; office of chief magistrate; provide nonpartisan elections

Author: Rep. Chuck Efstration (R – Dacula)

HB 938 provides that future elections for the office of chief magistrate of Gwinnett County be nonpartisan elections.

Signed by Governor: April 21, 2014

Effective Date: April 21, 2014

HB 939 - Gwinnett County; office of probate judge; provide nonpartisan elections

Author: Rep. Chuck Efstration (R – Dacula)

HB 939 provides that future elections for the office of probate judge of Gwinnett County be nonpartisan elections.

Signed by Governor: April 21, 2014

Effective Date: April 21, 2014

HB 940 - Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit and Oconee Judicial Circuit; election of additional judges; change date

Author: Rep. Wendell Willard (R – Sandy Springs)

HB 940 changes the date of election for the additional judges of the Chattahoochee and Oconee Judicial Circuits. The initial judge shall be appointed by the Governor for a term beginning on his or her appointment and expiring on December 31, 2016, and until a successor is elected and qualified. A successor to the initial judge shall be elected in 2016 for a term of four years beginning on January 1, 2017, and until the election and qualification of a successor.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 997 - Early County; board of elections and registration; provide

Author: Rep. Gerald E. Greene (R – Cuthbert)

HB 997 creates a board of elections and registration for Early County and provides for its powers and duties. The bill establishes that the board shall have the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the superintendent of elections of Early County under Chapter 2 of Title 21 of the O.C.G.A.,, the "Georgia Election Code," currently being exercised by the judge of the Probate Court of Early County. It also provides the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Board of Registrars of Early County under Chapter 2 of Title 21.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: For the purposes of selecting the initial members of the board, this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2014. For all other purposes, this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2015.

HB 1018 - Hart County; create board of elections and registration

Author: Rep. Alan Powell (R – Hartwell)

HB 1018 creates a board of elections and registration for Hart County, and provides for its powers and duties. The bill establishes that the board shall have the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the superintendent of elections of Hart County under Chapter 2 of Title 21 of the O.C.G.A., the "Georgia Election Code," currently being exercised by the judge of the Probate Court of Hart County. It also provides the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Board of Registrars of Hart County under Chapter 2 of Title 21. On January 1, 2015, the superintendent of elections and the board of registrars shall be relieved of all powers and duties to which the board succeeds by the provisions of this Act. On such date, the Board of Registrars of Hart County shall stand abolished. All elections conducted during 2014 shall be conducted by the superintendent of elections and the board of registrars.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 1030 - Dodge County; chief magistrate; provide nonpartisan elections

Author: Rep. Jimmy Pruett (R – Eastman)

HB 1030 provides that future elections for the office of chief magistrate of Dodge County be nonpartisan elections.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 1032 - Dodge County; judge of probate court; provide nonpartisan elections

Author: Rep. Jimmy Pruett (R – Eastman)

HB 1032 provides that future elections for the office of judge of the probate court of Dodge County be nonpartisan.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 1043 - Henry County; Board of Elections and Registration; provide process for removing elections supervisor for cause; provisions

Author: Rep. Dale Rutledge (R – McDonough)

HB 1043 amends the Act providing for the Henry County Board of Elections and Registration, by providing a process for removing the elections supervisor, to provide for a term of office; and for a method of appointing a successor elections supervisor in the event of death, resignation, or removal. The elections supervisor shall be subject to removal from office by the senior judge of the superior court of the Flint Judicial Circuit upon cause, after notice and hearing. In case of death, resignation, or removal from office, the senior judge shall appoint an interim successor who shall serve until the next grand jury convenes.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 1067 - Wheeler County; office of probate judge; provide nonpartisan elections

Author: Rep. Jimmy Pruett (R – Eastman)

HB 1067 provides that future elections for the office of probate judge of Wheeler County be nonpartisan.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 1106 - Bryan County; create board of elections and registration; provisions

Author: Rep. Ron Stephens (R – Savannah)

HB 1106 creates a board of elections and registration for Bryan County and provides for its powers and duties. The bill establishes that the board shall have the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the former superintendent of elections of Bryan County, under Chapter 2 of Title 21 of the O.C.G.A., the “Georgia Election Code.” If the appointing authority does not certify an appointment to the board within 30 days after the beginning of a term of office or within 30 days after the creation of a vacancy in that office, a vacancy shall be deemed to have been thereby created and the judge of the probate court of Bryan County shall fill that vacancy by making the appointment and shall certify it. The bill provides that each member will be subject to removal by the Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the Atlantic Judicial Circuit.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014, for purposes of making initial appointments to the board only. This Act shall become fully effective July 1, 2014.

HB 1131 - Hall County; create board of elections and registration

Author: Rep. Carl Rogers (R – Gainesville)

HB 1131 creates a board of elections and registration for Hall County and provides for its powers and duties. The bill establishes that the board shall have the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the superintendent of elections of Hall County under Chapter 2 of Title 21 of the O.C.G.A., the “Georgia Election Code,” previously exercised by the superintendent of elections of Hall County. The board shall take no official action until all members have been certified to the Clerk of the Superior Court of Hall County.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: July, 1 2014

Local General

HB 742 - Coweta Judicial Circuit; superior courts; provide for seventh judge

Author: Rep. Randy Nix (R – LaGrange)

HB 742 adds a seventh Superior Court Judge to the Coweta Judicial Circuit and a fourth in the Waycross Judicial Circuit.

Signed by Governor: April 24, 2014

Effective Date: April 24, 2014, for purposes of making the initial appointment of the judges to fill the superior court judgeships. For all other purposes, this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2014.

HB 902 - Forsyth County State Court; correct error in establishing terms of court; provisions

Author: Rep. Mike Dudgeon (R – Johns Creek)

HB 902 corrects an error in establishing the terms of the State Court of Forsyth County. The Court shall have terms six months in duration, held on the first Monday of January and the first Monday of July in each year. The terms are subject to being lengthened or shortened upon the sole discretion of the judge. Each term of court shall have a jury and a nonjury calendar. When there are not sufficient contested jury cases, the judge, in his or her own discretion, may omit the drawing of a jury for any term court; however, this will not prohibit the judge from having a nonjury calendar during any term of court at which the judge omits having jury cases. HB 902 establishes that each judge of the State Court of Forsyth County shall receive as compensation an amount equal to 95 percent of the state salary plus the county supplement paid to the judges of the Superior Court of Forsyth County. The compensation shall be paid at the same intervals as installments are paid to other county employees from the funds of Forsyth County.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 967 - City of McRae-Helena; create and incorporate new municipality; provisions

Author: Rep. Jimmy Pruett (R – Eastman)

HB 967 abolishes the current charters of the City of Helena and the City of McRae. The bill creates and incorporates a new municipality under the name "City of McRae-Helena, Georgia," and provides for all aspects of the town’s day-to-day functions. It provides for municipal court, and judge or judges, and all matters relative to those judges, including the court’s jurisdiction, powers, practices, and procedures.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: For purposes of conducting elections under this charter for the initial mayor and city council for the City of McRae-Helena, this charter shall become effective April 10, 2014. This charter shall become effective for all other purposes on January 1, 2015.

HB 986 - Lowndes County State Court; provide additional judge; provisions

Author: Rep. Ellis Black (R – Valdosta)

HB 986 provides an additional judge for the State Court of Lowndes County. The bill provides for the initial appointment of the additional judge by the Governor. It provides for the election and terms of office, provides for a chief judge and provides for compensation.

Signed by Governor: April 16, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 1002 - Jeffersonville, City of; provide new charter

Author: Rep. Bubber Epps (R – Dry Branch)

HB 1002 provides a new charter for the City of Jeffersonville for incorporation and for all aspects of the town’s day-to-day functions. It provides for a municipal court, and judge or judges, and all matters relative to those judges, including the court’s jurisdiction, powers, practices, and procedures.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 1003 - Irwinton, City of; provide new charter

Author: Rep. Bubber Epps (R – Dry Branch)

HB 1003 provides a new charter for the City of Irwinton for incorporation and for all aspects of the town’s day-to-day functions. It provides for a municipal court, and judge or judges, and all matters relative to those judges, including the court’s jurisdiction, powers, practices, and procedures.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 1022 - Oak Park, City of; provide for new charter

Author: Rep. Butch Parrish (R – Swainsboro)

HB 1022 provides a new charter for the City of Oak Park for incorporation and for all aspects of the town’s day-to-day functions. It provides for a municipal court, and judge or judges, and all matters relative to those judges, including the court’s jurisdiction, powers, practices, and procedures.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: July, 1 2014

HB 1036 - Waverly Hall, Town of; reincorporate and provide for a charter

Author: Rep. Debbie Buckner (D – Junction City)

HB 1036 reincorporates and provides for a charter for the Town of Waverly Hall and for all aspects of the town’s day-to-day functions. It provides for a municipal court, and judge or judges, and all matters relative to those judges, including the court’s jurisdiction, powers, practices, and procedures.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 1041 - Baxley, City of; provide for new charter

Author: Rep. Greg Morris (R – Vidalia)

HB 1041 provides a new charter for the City of Baxley for incorporation and for all aspects of the town’s day-to-day functions. It provides for a municipal court, and judge or judges, and all matters relative to those judges, including the court’s jurisdiction, powers, practices, and procedures.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 1058 - Fulton County; provide for appointment of magistrates; repeal Act

Author: Rep. Wendell Willard (R – Sandy Springs)

Following up on last year’s HB 443 providing for election of the Fulton county chief magistrate, HB 1058 repeals the Act providing for the appointment of part-time magistrates in Fulton County by the state court.

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 1060 - Fulton County Superior Court; clerk of court have oversight of budget; provisions

Author: Rep. Wendell Willard (R – Sandy Springs)

HB 1060 provides for the administration of the budget of the clerk of the Superior Court of Fulton County. The clerk of the Superior Court of Fulton County shall have oversight of the budget of the clerk's office. After county funds have been appropriated for the operation of the clerk's office, the clerk, with the approval of the chief judge of the Superior Court of Fulton County, shall have the authority to make changes to line item appropriations.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 1090 - Arlington, City of; provide a new charter

Author: Rep. Gerald E Greene (R – Cuthbert)

HB 1090 provides a new charter for the City of Arlington and for all aspects of the cities day-to-day functions. It provides for a municipal court, and judge or judges, and all matters relative to those judges, including the court's jurisdiction, powers, practices, and procedures.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: April 10, 2014

HB 1104 - Habersham County State Court; provide judge and solicitor shall be part-time positions

Author: Rep. Terry Rogers (R – Clarkesville)

HB 1104 provides that the judge and solicitor of Habersham County State Court be part-time positions.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: May 1, 2014

HB 1109 - Dunwoody, City of; provide for a special service district; provisions

Author: Rep. Tom Taylor (R – Dunwoody)

HB 1109 amends the Act incorporating the City of Dunwoody, so as to provide for a special service district. It also changes certain provisions relative to the municipal court.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 1129 - Hamilton, City of; provide new charter

Author: Rep. John David Pezold (R – Fortson)

HB 1129 provides a new charter for the City of Hamilton and for all aspects of the City’s day-to-day functions. It provides for a municipal court, and judge or judges, and all matters relative to those judges, including the court's jurisdiction, powers, practices, and procedures.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB 1147 - Orchard Hill, City of; provide new charter

Author: Rep. David Knight (R – Griffin)

HB 1147 provides a new charter for the City of Orchard Hill for incorporation and for all aspects of the city’s day-to-day functions. It provides for a municipal court, and judge or judges, and all matters relative to those judges, including the court’s jurisdiction, powers, practices, and procedures.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SB 290 - Dog Ownership; allow local governments to confer dog control authority upon multiple individuals

Author: Sen. Dean Burke (R – Bainbridge)

SB 290 provides for the hearing of cases regarding dangerous or vicious dogs by probate courts in jurisdictions that have not established a local animal control board or local board of health. The bill provides for notice of the hearing by the probate court to the dog owner, and notice of the courts determination in the matter. The bill provides for judicial review of a probate court’s decision in these cases, and costs associated with appeals of these cases.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SB 418 - City of Chickamauga, Walker County; provide new charter

Author: Sen. Jeff Mullis (R – Chickamauga)

SB 418 provides a new charter for the City of Chickamauga and for all aspects of the City’s day-to-day functions. It provides for a municipal court, and judge or judges, and all matters relative to those judges, including the court's jurisdiction, powers, practices, and procedures.

Signed by Governor: April 10, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014

Traffic

HB 459 - Speed restrictions; impeding traffic flow and minimum speed in left-hand lanes; modify provisions

Author: Rep. Bill Hitchens (R – Rincon)

HB 459 amends Article 9 of Chapter 6 of Title 40, relating to speed restrictions, by providing that on a controlled-access highway, no one may drive in the left lane except when passing another vehicle.

Signed by Governor: April 29, 2014

Effective Date: July, 1 2014

SB 392 - Motor Vehicles; provide additional definition; acceptance of applications for registration; not in compliance with federal emission standards

Author: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)

Language from HB 827 was added to SB 392. It changes the time Class D license holders are prohibited from driving a Class C motor vehicle on public roads from 12:00 Midnight to 6:00 A.M. to 12:00 Midnight to 5:00 A.M.

Signed by Governor: April 23, 2014

Effective Date: July 1, 2014