Acts and resolutions of the second session of the 156th General Assembly of the state of Georgia, volume I, 2022

Collection:
Georgia Government Publications
Title:
Acts and resolutions of the second session of the 156th General Assembly of the state of Georgia, volume I, 2022
Creator:
Georgia. General Assembly
Publisher:
Atlanta, Ga. : Georgia. Secretary of State
Date of Original:
2022
Subject:
Administrative acts--Georgia
Legislation--Georgia
Law--Georgia
Location:
United States, Georgia, 32.75042, -83.50018
Medium:
legislative acts
Type:
Text
Format:
application/pdf
Description:
Acts and resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia.
Metadata URL:
http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/id:dlg_ggpd_y-ga-bl407-b2022-bv-p1-belec-p-btext
Digital Object URL:
http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/do:dlg_ggpd_y-ga-bl407-b2022-bv-p1-belec-p-btext
Language:
eng
Extent:
842 pages
Holding Institution:
University of Georgia. Map and Government Information Library
Rights:
Rights Statement information

ACTS AND RESOLUTIONS OF THE
SECOND SESSION OF THE 156TH
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE STATE OF GEORGIA
2022
COMPILED AND PUBLISHED BY AUTHORITY OF THE STATE
Volume One

COMPILER'S NOTE
General Acts and Resolutions of the 2022 Regular Session of the General Assembly of Georgia will be found in Volume One beginning at page 1. The Supplementary Appropriations Act for FY 2021-2022 and the Appropriations Act for FY 2022-2023 will be found in the Volume One Appendix. These two Acts have been separately placed in the Appendix in order to maintain the special formatting and unique characteristics of the underlying bills. Local and Special Acts and Resolutions will be found in Volume Two beginning at page 3501. Home rule actions by counties and consolidated governments and by municipalities filed in the Office of the Secretary of State between May 1, 2021, and May 1, 2022, are printed in Volume Two beginning at pages 6119 and 6145, respectively. There are no numbered pages between page 838, the last page of Volume One, and page 3501, the first page of Volume Two. This allows both volumes to be prepared simultaneously. The only page numbers in the Volume One Appendix will be those appearing in the underlying bills.
Indexes; lists of Acts, Bills, and Resolutions and their Georgia Laws page numbers; material related to courts; population charts; lists of members of the General Assembly; referendum results; and the Governor's veto messages are printed in Volume Three. Indexes cover material in both Volumes One and Two. The tabular indexes list matter by broad categories. The general index is a detailed alphabetical index by subject matter. When possible, general Acts have been indexed by reference to the titles of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated which they amend and the tabular index contains a list of Code sections which have been amended, enacted, or repealed.
Each Act and Resolution is preceded by a caption written by the compilers of the Georgia Laws solely to assist the reader in quickly determining the subject matter of the Act or Resolution. Except as otherwise noted in the volume, this caption includes the Act number assigned by the Governor and the House or Senate Bill or Resolution number which it was given when it was introduced in the General Assembly. These captions are not part of the Act or Resolution when they are enacted or adopted by the General Assembly. Each Act or Resolution which was signed by the Governor is followed by the approval date on which it was signed by the Governor.

GEORGIA LAWS 2022
TABLE OF CONTENTS
VOLUME ONE
Acts and Resolutions of General Application .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Supplementary Appropriations Act for FY 2020-2021. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix General Appropriations Act for FY 2021-2022.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix
VOLUME TWO
Acts and Resolutions of Local Application. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3501 County and Consolidated Government Home Rule Actions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6119 Municipal Home Rule Actions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6145
VOLUME THREE
Acts by Numbers-Page References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1A Bills and Resolutions-Act Number References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7A Index-Tabular.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14A Index-General. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41A Population of Georgia Counties-Alphabetically. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91A Population of Georgia Counties-Numerically. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95A Population of Cities-Alphabetically.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100A Population of Cities-Numerically. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108A Population of Judicial Circuits.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116A Georgia Senate Districts, Alphabetically by County. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120A Georgia Senators, Numerically by District. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122A Georgia House Districts, Alphabetically by County. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125A Georgia Representatives, Numerically by District.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127A Status of Referendum Elections.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135A Governor's Proclamations and Vetoes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 398A State Auditor's Report on Funding of Retirement Bills. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413A Historical List of General Assemblies of the State of Georgia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415A Legislative Services Committee and Staff.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 416A

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ELECTIONS DATES OF SPECIAL ELECTIONS REGARDING SALES AND USE TAXES WITH REGARD TO TRANSPORTATION, MASS TRANSPORTATION, OR TRANSIT SPECIAL DISTRICTS.
No. 310 (House Bill No. 907).
AN ACT
To amend Code Section 21-2-540 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to conduct of special primaries and special elections generally, so as to revise provisions relating to dates for special elections; to present a question related to sales and use taxes for transportation, mass transportation, or transit special districts to the voters; to provide for a sunset provision; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
SECTION 1. Code Section 21-2-540 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to conduct of special primaries and special elections generally, is amended by revising paragraph (2) of subsection (c) and adding a new division to read as follows:
"(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a special election to present a question to the voters shall be held only on one of the following dates which is at least 29 days after the date of the call for the special election:
(A) In odd-numbered years, any such special election shall only be held on the third Tuesday in March or on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November; and (B) In even-numbered years, any such special election shall only be held on:
(i) The date of and in conjunction with the presidential preference primary if one is held that year; (ii) The third Tuesday in March; provided, however, that such special election shall occur prior to July 1, 2024, and present a question to the voters on sales and use taxes authorized by Articles 5, 5A, and 5B of Chapter 8 of Title 48; (iii) The date of the general primary; or (iv) The Tuesday after the first Monday in November."
SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

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SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved February 15, 2022.

__________

STATE GOVERNMENT PROHIBITS CERTAIN CONTRACTS WITH COMPANIES THAT BOYCOTT ISRAEL.

No. 515 (House Bill No. 383).

AN ACT

To amend Part 1 of Article 3 of Chapter 5 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general authority, duties, and procedure relative to state purchasing, so as to prohibit the state from entering into certain contracts with a company unless such contracts contain a certification that such company does not presently conduct a boycott of Israel and will not conduct such a boycott for the duration of such contract; to exclude certain contracts from these requirements; to revise a definition; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Part 1 of Article 3 of Chapter 5 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general authority, duties, and procedure relative to state purchasing, is amended in Code Section 50-5-85, relating to state prohibited from entering into certain contracts without certification that boycott of Israel not to be conducted by other party, as follows:
"50-5-85. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Boycott of Israel' means engaging in refusals to deal with, terminating business activities with, or other actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel or companies doing business in Israel, with Israel, organized under the laws of the State of Israel, or licensed by Israel to do business in Israel, when such actions are taken:
(A) In compliance or adherence to calls for a boycott of Israel other than those boycotts to which 50 U.S.C. App. Section 2407(c), as it existed on January 1, 2016, applies; or (B) In a manner that discriminates on the basis of nationality, national origin, religion, or other unreasonable basis that is not founded on a valid business reason. (2) 'Company' means any organization, association, corporation, partnership, joint venture, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability company, or

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other entity or business association which employs more than five persons but excludes individuals and sole proprietorships, including all wholly owned subsidiaries, majority owned subsidiaries, parent companies, or affiliates of such entities or business associations, that exists for the purpose of making profit. (b) The state shall not enter into a contract valued at $100,000.00 or more with a company if the contract is related to construction or the provision of services, supplies, or information technology unless the contract includes a written certification that such company is not currently engaged in, and agrees for the duration of the contract not to engage in, a boycott of Israel."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved February 21, 2022.

__________

ELECTIONS ETHICS IN GOVERNMENT ACT; COMPREHENSIVE REVISION.

No. 521 (Senate Bill No. 120).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 5 of Title 21 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ethics in government, so as to revise the powers and duties of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission; to provide for and revise a short title; to revise and provide definitions; to provide for assignment for administrative purposes; to revise procedures for the initiation of complaints; to revise requirements for certain accounts, the disposition and expenditure of certain contributions, filings, registrations, and records of accounts; to revise how maximum contribution limits are implemented; to revise certain financial disclosure requirements; to revise purposes requiring registration with the commission; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. This act shall be known as and may be cited as the "Ethics in Government Act of 2021."

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SECTION 2. Chapter 5 of Title 21 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to ethics in government, is amended by revising Code Section 21-5-1, relating to a short title, as follows:
"21-5-1. This chapter shall be known as and may be cited as the 'Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act.'"

SECTION 3. Said chapter is further amended by revising paragraph (22) of Code Section 21-5-3, relating to definitions, and by adding new paragraphs to read as follows:
"(16.2) 'Loan' means a thing that is borrowed, especially a sum of money that is expected to be paid back with interest to the lender." "(22) 'Public officer' means:
(A) The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Commissioner of Labor, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Insurance, and State School Superintendent; (B) Every other elected state official not listed in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph; (C) The executive head of every state department or agency, whether elected or appointed; (D) Each member of the General Assembly; (E) The executive director of each state board, commission, council, or authority and the members thereof; (F) Every elected county official and every elected member of a local board of education; and (G) Every elected municipal official." "(25) 'Staff attorney' means a licensed member of the Georgia Bar Association that is employed by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission."

SECTION 4. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 21-5-5, relating to operating expenses, as follows:
"21-5-5. The funds necessary to carry out this chapter shall come from the funds appropriated to and available to the commission and from any other available funds. The commission shall be a budget unit as defined in Part 1 of Article 4 of Chapter 12 of Title 45, the 'Budget Act'; provided, however, that the commission shall be assigned for administrative purposes only to the State Accounting Office."

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SECTION 5. Said chapter is further amended by revising paragraph (7) of subsection (a) and paragraphs (9), (10), and (23) of subsection (b) of Code Section 21-5-6, relating to powers and duties of the commission, as follows:
"(7) Except as provided for in subsection (c) of Code Section 21-5-33, to adopt in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the 'Georgia Administrative Procedure Act,' any rules and regulations necessary and appropriate for carrying out the purposes of this chapter; provided, however, that the commission shall not require the reporting or disclosure of more information on any campaign contribution disclosure report or personal financial disclosure statement than is expressly required to be reported or disclosed by this chapter; and" "(9) To make investigations, subject to the limitations contained in Code Section 21-5-7.1, with respect to the statements and reports filed under this chapter and with respect to alleged failure to file any statements or reports required under this chapter and upon receipt of the written complaint of any person, including a staff attorney employed by the commission, verified under oath to the best information, knowledge, and belief by the person or staff attorney making such complaint with respect to an alleged violation of any provision of this chapter, provided that nothing in this Code section shall be construed to limit or encumber the right of the commission to initiate on probable cause an investigation on its own cognizance as it deems necessary to fulfill its obligations under this chapter;
(10)(A) To conduct a preliminary investigation, subject to the limitations contained in Code Section 21-5-7.1, of the merits of a written complaint by any person, including a staff attorney employed by the commission, who believes that a violation of this chapter has occurred, verified under oath to the best information, knowledge, and belief by the person or staff attorney making such complaint. If there are found no reasonable grounds to believe that a violation has occurred, the complaint shall be dismissed, subject to being reopened upon discovery of additional evidence or relevant material. If the commission determines that there are such reasonable grounds to believe that a violation has occurred, it shall give notice by summoning the persons believed to have committed the violation to a hearing. The hearing shall be conducted in all respects in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the 'Georgia Administrative Procedure Act.' The commission may file, through a staff attorney employed by the commission, a complaint charging violations of this chapter, and any person aggrieved by the final decision of the commission is entitled to judicial review in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50; provided, however, that nothing in this Code section shall be construed to limit or encumber the right of the commission to initiate on probable cause an investigation on its own cognizance as it deems necessary to fulfill its obligations under this chapter. (B) In any such preliminary investigation referenced in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, until such time as the commission determines that there are reasonable

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grounds to believe that a violation has occurred, it shall not be necessary to give the
notice by summons nor to conduct a hearing in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the 'Georgia Administrative Procedure Act';" "(23) To award attorneys' fees to the party complained against if the commission deems the complaint to be frivolous, legally or factually; and"

SECTION 6. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 21-5-7, relating to initiation of complaints, as follows:
"21-5-7. The commission shall not initiate any investigation or inquiry into any matter under its jurisdiction based upon the complaint of any person, including a staff attorney employed by the commission, unless that person or staff attorney shall produce the same in writing and verify the same under oath to the best information, knowledge, and belief of such person, the falsification of which shall be punishable as false swearing under Code Section 16-10-71. The person against whom any complaint is made shall be furnished by hand delivery or statutory overnight delivery or mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, a copy of the complaint by the commission within two business days of the commission's receipt of such complaint and prior to any other public dissemination of such complaint."

SECTION 6A. Said chapter is further amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"21-5-9.1. No person who has served or is serving as a member of the General Assembly shall be eligible to qualify to seek election or reelection to the General Assembly until and unless all fines and fees owing to the commission have been paid, all disclosure reports due have been filed, and all outstanding taxes have been paid."

SECTION 7. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 21-5-13, relating to limitation of actions, as follows:
"21-5-13. (a) Any action alleging a violation of this chapter shall be commenced within three years after the date on which the violation, wrongful action, or omission occurred, unless otherwise provided by subsections (b) or (c) of this Code section. (b) Any action alleging a violation involving any person elected to serve for a term of four or more years, but fewer than six years, or involving any candidate for an office with a term of four, but fewer than six years, shall be commenced within five years after the date on which the violation, wrongful action, or omission occurred.

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(c) Any action alleging a violation of this chapter involving any person elected to serve a term of six or more years or involving any candidate for an office with a term of six or more years shall be commenced within seven years after the date on which the violation, wrongful act, or omission occurred. (d) For purposes of this Code section, an action shall be deemed to have commenced against a person only when either:
(1) A complaint has been accepted by the commission in compliance with Code Section 21-5-7; or (2) The commission or Attorney General serves on such person a notice of summons or hearing, in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the 'Georgia Administrative Procedure Act,' that alleges that such person has violated this chapter."

SECTION 8. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 21-5-32, relating to accounts to be kept by candidate or campaign committee treasurer, as follows:
"21-5-32. (a) The candidate or treasurer of each campaign committee shall keep detailed accounts, current within not more than five business days after the date of receiving a contribution or making an expenditure, of all contributions received and all expenditures made by or on behalf of the candidate or committee. The candidate or treasurer shall also keep detailed accounts of all deposits and of all withdrawals made to the separate campaign depository account and of all interest earned on any such deposits. (b) Accounts kept by the candidate or treasurer of a campaign committee pursuant to this Code section may be inspected under reasonable circumstances before, during, or after the election to which the accounts refer by any authorized representative of the commission. The right of inspection may be enforced by appropriate writ issued by any court of competent jurisdiction. (c) Records of such accounts:
(1) For a person or a campaign committee campaigning for an elective office with a term of less than four years, shall be preserved for three years from the date of the contribution, expenditure, gift, investment, or loan; (2) For a person or a campaign committee campaigning for an elective office with a term of four or more years, but fewer than six years, shall be preserved for five years from the date of the contribution, expenditure, gift, investment, or loan; (3) For a person or a campaign committee campaigning for an elective office with a term of six or more years, shall be preserved for seven years from the date of the contribution, expenditure, gift, investment, or loan; and (4) For any proposed constitutional amendment, referendum, or local issue or any recall vote, shall be preserved for three years from the date of contribution, expenditure, gift, investment, or loan."

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SECTION 9. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (b) of Code Section 21-5-33, relating to disposition of contributions, as follows:
"(b)(1) All contributions received by a candidate or such candidate's campaign committee or a public officer holding elective office in excess of those necessary to defray expenses pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section and as determined by such candidate or such public officer may only be used as follows:
(A) As donations to any charitable organization described in 26 U.S.C. 170(c) as said federal statute exists on March 1, 1986, and which additionally shall include educational, eleemosynary, and nonprofit organizations subject to the prohibitions contained in paragraph (2) of this subsection; (B) Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (D) of this paragraph, for transferral without limitation to any national, state, or local committee of any political party or to any candidate; (C) For transferral without limitation to persons making such contributions, not to exceed the total amount cumulatively contributed by each such transferee; (D) For use in future campaigns for only that elective office for which those contributions were received. With respect to contributions held on January 1, 1992, or received thereafter, in the event the candidate, campaign committee, or public officer holding elective office has not designated, prior to receiving contributions to which this Code section is applicable, the office for which campaign contributions are received thereby, those contributions shall be deemed to have been received for the elective office which the candidate held at the time the contributions were received or, if the candidate did not then hold elective office, those contributions shall be deemed to have been received for that elective office for which that person was a candidate most recently following the receipt of such contributions; (E) For repayment of any prior campaign obligations incurred as a candidate; or (F) For transfer without limitation to one or more political action committees. (2) Nothing in this Code section shall permit or authorize a candidate to utilize campaign funds for the purpose of making gifts, loans, or investments directly to: (A) The candidate; (B) A member of the candidate's family; (C) Any business in which the candidate or a member of the candidate's family has an ownership interest; (D) The candidate's trust or a trust of a member of the candidate's family; or (E) Any nonprofit organization of which the candidate or a member of the candidate's family is on the payroll or has a controlling interest. (3) Any candidate or public officer holding elective office may provide in the will of such candidate or such public officer that the contributions shall be spent in any of the authorized manners upon the death of such candidate or such public officer; and, in the absence of any such direction in the probated will of such candidate or such public

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officer, the contributions shall be paid to the treasury of the state party with which such candidate or such public officer was affiliated in such candidate's or such public officer's last election or elective office after the payment of any expenses pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this paragraph, the personal representative or executor of the estate shall be allowed to use or pay out funds in the campaign account in any manner authorized in subparagraphs (A) through (E) of paragraph (1) of this subsection."

SECTION 10. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (k) of Code Section 21-5-41, relating to maximum allowable contributions, as follows:
"(k) At the end of each gubernatorial election cycle, the contribution limitations in this Code section shall be raised or lowered in increments of $100.00 by order of the commission pursuant to a consideration by the commission of inflation or deflation during such cycle or four-year period, as determined by the Consumer Price Index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor, and such limitations shall apply until next revised by the commission. The commission shall adopt rules and regulations for the implementation of this subsection."

SECTION 11. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsections (c) and (d) of Code Section 21-5-43, relating to accounting for and expenditure of campaign contributions, and by adding a new subsection to read as follows:
"(c) Contributions remaining unexpended after the date of an election in which the candidate does appear on the ballot may be expended for any future election in the same election cycle without regard to the limitations of Code Section 21-5-41. If there are no further elections in the election cycle or if the candidate or the candidate of the campaign committee is not on the ballot of a further election in the election cycle, any remaining contributions may be used only as provided in Code Section 21-5-33. (d) Contributions accepted and separately accounted for in an election in which the candidate does not appear on the ballot, if unexpended, shall be returned to the contributors thereof pro rata without interest. Any portion thereof which cannot be returned to the original contributor thereof shall be expended only as provided in Code Section 21-5-33. (e) For purposes of separate accounting, a candidate shall be deemed to have advanced to the next election in the election cycle upon the official certification of the election result by the Secretary of State, or upon the concession of the candidate's election opponents, or upon receiving a preliminary consolidated election return of 50 percent plus one for advancement to a general election, or upon receiving a preliminary consolidated election return of 50 percent or less for a runoff election and placing in one of the two spots that will advance to the runoff election, whichever event shall first occur. In the event that the official certification of the election result by the Secretary of State differs from or is in

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conflict with a preliminary consolidated election return for advancement to a general or runoff election, the official certification of the election result by the Secretary of State shall control for purposes of this Code section. (f) The commission shall adopt such rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this Code section in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the 'Georgia Administrative Procedure Act.'"

SECTION 12. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (a) and paragraph (3) of subsection (c), adding a new paragraph to subsection (c), and revising subsection (g) of Code Section 21-5-50, relating to filing by public officers, filing by candidates for public office, filing by elected officials and members of the General Assembly, electronic filing, and transfer of filings from the Secretary of State to the commission, as follows:
"(a)(1) Except as modified in subsection (c) of this Code section with respect to candidates for state-wide elected public office, each public officer, as defined in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of paragraph (22) of Code Section 21-5-3, shall file with the commission not before the first day of January nor later than July 1 of each year in which such public officer holds office other than an election year a financial disclosure statement for the preceding calendar year; and each person who qualifies as a candidate for election as a public officer, as defined in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of paragraph (22) of Code Section 21-5-3, shall file with the commission, no later than the fifteenth day following the date of qualifying as a candidate, a financial disclosure statement for the preceding calendar year. (2) Except as set forth in paragraph (3) of this subsection, a public officer, as defined in subparagraph (E) of paragraph (22) of Code Section 21-5-3, shall not be required to file a financial disclosure statement pursuant to this Code section. Each such public officer shall, however, be deemed to be a public official for purposes of Code Section 45-10-26 and shall be subject to the disclosure requirements set forth in Code Section 45-10-26. In addition, each such public officer shall file with the commission, prior to January 31 each year, an affidavit confirming that such public officer took no official action in the previous calendar year that had a material effect on such public officer's private financial or business interests; provided, however, that if a public officer as defined in subparagraph (E) of paragraph (22) of Code Section 21-5-3 has previously filed a financial disclosure statement with the commission pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of Code Section 21-5-50, and said financial disclosure statement covers the same calendar year as would be covered by the affidavit required by this Code section, the public officer shall be exempted from filing an affidavit. (3) A public officer, as defined in subparagraph (E) of paragraph (22) of Code Section 21-5-3, who serves as a member of the commission shall be subject to the requirements for filing financial disclosure statements set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection. In addition, each such public officer shall file with the commission, together

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with the financial disclosure statement, an affidavit confirming that such public officer took no official action in the previous calendar year that had a material effect on such public officer's private financial or business interests. (3.1) A public officer and candidates for election as a public officer, as defined in subparagraphs (F) and (G) of paragraph (22) of Code Section 21-5-3, shall make filings of the same kind and in the same manner as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection for other public officers and candidates for election as a public officer except that filings under this paragraph shall be made with the election superintendent of the county in the case of public officers and candidates for election as a public officer as defined in said subparagraph (F) and shall be made with the municipal clerk in the municipality of election or, if there is no clerk, with the chief executive officer of the municipality in the case of public officers as defined in said subparagraph (G). The election superintendent, municipal clerk, or chief executive officer, as applicable, shall transmit, electronically by eFiling or eFax, a copy of each such report to the commission not later than 30 days after the close of the reporting period. No fine, fee, or sanction, including but not limited to identifying a public officer or candidate for election as a public officer as having filed late or failed to file, shall be imposed by the commission on the public officer or candidate for election as a public officer for the failure of the election superintendent, municipal clerk, or chief executive officer to timely transmit a copy of such report. (4) Each member of the State Transportation Board shall file a financial disclosure statement for the preceding calendar year no later than the sixtieth day following such member's election to the State Transportation Board. Thereafter, each board member shall file by January 31 of each year a financial disclosure statement for the preceding year. In addition, each board member shall file with the commission, prior to January 31 of each year, an affidavit confirming that such board member took no official action in the previous calendar year that had a material effect on such board member's private financial or business interests. (5) The commission or the applicable official under paragraph (3.1) of this subsection shall review each financial disclosure statement to determine that such statement is in compliance with the requirements of this chapter. (6) A public officer shall not, however, be required to file such a financial disclosure statement for the preceding calendar year in an election year if such public officer does not qualify for nomination for election to succeed himself or herself or for election to any other public office subject to this chapter. For purposes of this paragraph, a public officer shall not be deemed to hold office in a year in which the public officer holds office for fewer than 15 days." "(3) The financial disclosure statement required by paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be accompanied by a financial statement of the candidate's financial affairs for the five calendar years prior to the year in which the election is held and the first quarter of the calendar year in which the election is held.

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(3.1) The financial disclosure statement required by paragraph (1) of this subsection shall
include the source or sources of the candidate's income for the five calendar years prior to the year in which the election is held and the first quarter of the calendar year in which the election is held." "(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, soil and water conservation district supervisors elected pursuant to Article 2 of Chapter 6 of Title 2 shall not be required to file personal financial disclosure statements under this Code section."

SECTION 13. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (c) of Code Section 21-5-71, relating to registration required, application for registration, supplemental registration, expiration, docket, fees, identification cards, public rosters, and exemptions, as follows:
"(c) The lobbyist shall, prior to any substantial or material change or addition in their registration, file a supplemental registration indicating such substantial or material change or addition to the registration prior to its expiration. Previously filed information may be incorporated by reference. Substantial or material changes or additions shall include, but are not limited to, the pertinent information concerning changes or additions to client and employment information required by paragraphs (2), (3), (4), (6), and (7) and conviction status required by paragraph (8) of subsection (b) of this Code section."

SECTION 14. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 15. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved March 2, 2022.

GEORGIA LAWS 2022 SESSION

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CIVIL PRACTICE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO BE SERVED IN ALL ACTIONS CHALLENGING ACTS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

No. 564 (House Bill No. 1361).

AN ACT

To amend Title 9 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to civil practice, so as to clarify that the Attorney General is to be served and heard in defense of all Acts of the General Assembly when challenged in any court action, not just statutes; to provide for the Attorney General to be a party as a matter of right; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Title 9 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to civil practice, is amended by revising subsection (c) of Code Section 9-4-7, relating to when Attorney General served and heard, as follows:
"(c) If an Act of the General Assembly, a statute of the state, any order or regulation of any administrative body of the state, or any franchise granted by the state is alleged in an action for declaratory judgment or as a part of any other action to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, the Attorney General of the state shall be served with a copy of the proceeding and shall be entitled to be heard in defense of said Act, statute, order, regulation, or franchise, which may include appearing as a party as of right as he or she determines is appropriate."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval and shall apply to all proceedings filed on and after such date.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved March 4, 2022.

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PUBLIC UTILITIES PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION; ELECTION DISTRICTS; MANNER OF ELECTION; TERMS OF OFFICE.

No. 565 (Senate Bill No. 472).

AN ACT

To amend Article 1 of Chapter 2 of Title 46 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to organization and members of the Public Service Commission, so as to change the description of the election districts for members of the Public Service Commission; to provide for manner of election and terms of office; to provide for continuation in office of current members; to provide for related matters; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Article 1 of Chapter 2 of Title 46 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to organization and members of the Public Service Commission, is amended by revising Code Section 46-2-1, relating to election of Public Service Commissioners and terms of office, as follows:
"46-2-1. (a) The Georgia Public Service Commission shall consist of five members to be elected as provided in this Code section. The members in office on January 1, 2022, and any member appointed or elected to fill a vacancy in such membership prior to the expiration of a term of office shall continue to serve out their respective terms of office. As terms of office expire, new members elected to the commission shall be required to be residents of one of five Public Service Commission Districts as hereafter provided, but each member of the commission shall be elected state wide by the qualified voters of this state who are entitled to vote for members of the General Assembly. Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, the election shall be held under the same rules and regulations as apply to the election of Governor. The Commissioners, who shall give their entire time to the duties of their offices, shall be elected at the general election next preceding the expiration of the terms of office of the respective incumbents. Their terms of office shall be six years and shall expire on December 31. (b) In order to be elected as a member of the commission from a Public Service Commission District, a person shall have resided in that district for at least 12 months prior to election thereto. A person elected as a member of the commission from a Public Service Commission District by the voters of Georgia shall continue to reside in that district during the person's term of office, or that office shall thereupon become vacant.

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(c) For the purpose of electing the members of the Public Service Commission, this state shall be divided into five Public Service Commission Districts described as follows: District 001 Appling County Atkinson County Bacon County Baker County Baldwin County Ben Hill County Berrien County Bibb County Bleckley County Brantley County Brooks County Bryan County Calhoun County Camden County Charlton County Chattahoochee County Clay County Clinch County Coffee County Colquitt County Cook County Crawford County Crisp County Decatur County Dodge County Dooly County Dougherty County Early County Echols County Evans County Glynn County Grady County Harris County Houston County Irwin County Jeff Davis County Johnson County Jones County

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Lanier County Laurens County Lee County Liberty County Long County Lowndes County Macon County Marion County McIntosh County Miller County Mitchell County Monroe County Montgomery County Muscogee County Peach County Pierce County Pulaski County Quitman County Randolph County Schley County Seminole County Stewart County Sumter County Talbot County Tattnall County Taylor County Telfair County Terrell County Thomas County Tift County Toombs County Treutlen County Turner County Twiggs County Ware County Wayne County Webster County Wheeler County Wilcox County Wilkinson County Worth County

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District 002 Banks County Barrow County Bulloch County Burke County Butts County Candler County Chatham County Clarke County Columbia County Effingham County Elbert County Emanuel County Glascock County Greene County Hancock County Hart County Henry County Jackson County Jasper County Jefferson County Jenkins County Lincoln County Madison County McDuffie County Morgan County Newton County Oconee County Oglethorpe County Putnam County Richmond County Rockdale County Screven County Spalding County Taliaferro County Walton County Warren County Washington County Wilkes County

District 003

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Clayton County DeKalb County Fulton County

District 004 Cherokee County Dawson County Fannin County Forsyth County Franklin County Gilmer County Gwinnett County Habersham County Hall County Lumpkin County Murray County Pickens County Rabun County Stephens County Towns County Union County White County Whitfield County

District 005 Bartow County Carroll County Catoosa County ChattooCounty County Cobb County Coweta County Dade County Douglas County Fayette County Floyd County Gordon County Haralson County Heard County Lamar County Meriwether County Paulding County

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Pike County Polk County Troup County Upson County Walker County (d) The first members of the commission elected under this Code section shall be elected thereto on the Tuesday next following the first Monday in November, 2024, from Public Service Commission Districts 3 and 5, shall take office on the first day of January immediately following that election, and shall serve for terms of office of six years and until the election and qualification of their respective successors. Those members of the commission elected thereto on the Tuesday next following the first Monday in November, 2026, from Public Service Commission Districts 1 and 4 shall take office on the first day of January immediately following that election and shall serve for terms of office of six years and until the election and qualification of their respective successors. The member of the commission elected thereto on the Tuesday next following the first Monday in November, 2022, from Public Service Commission District 2 shall take office on the first day of January immediately following that election and shall serve for a term of office of six years and until the election and qualification of his or her respective successor. All future successors to members of the commission whose terms of office are to expire shall be elected at the state-wide general election immediately preceding the expiration of such terms, shall take office on the first day of January immediately following that election, and shall serve for terms of office of six years."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved March 4, 2022.

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REVENUE AND TAXATION MOTOR FUEL TAXES; EXEMPTS ALL SALES OF MOTOR FUEL BY DULY LICENSED DISTRIBUTORS.

No. 567 (House Bill No. 304).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 48-9-3 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the levy of excise taxes on motor fuels, rate, taxation of motor fuels not commonly sold or measured by gallon, prohibition of tax on motor fuel by political subdivisions, exceptions, and exempted sales, so as to exempt all sales of motor fuel by duly licensed distributors; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 48-9-3 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the levy of excise taxes on motor fuels, rate, taxation of motor fuels not commonly sold or measured by gallon, prohibition of tax on motor fuel by political subdivisions, exceptions, and exempted sales, is amended in subsection (b) by deleting "or" at the end of paragraph (10), by replacing the period at the end of paragraph (11) with "; or" and adding a new paragraph to read as follows:
"(12) For the period of time beginning on the effective date of this paragraph, and ending at the last moment of May 31, 2022, all sales of motor fuel."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved March 18, 2022.

GEORGIA LAWS 2022 SESSION

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REVENUE AND TAXATION STATE INCOME TAXES; TAX CREDIT.

No. 582 (House Bill No. 1302).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to income taxes, so as to provide for a one-time tax credit for individual taxpayers who filed income tax returns for both the 2020 and 2021 taxable years; to provide for a definition; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to income taxes, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"48-7-20.1. (a) As used in this Code section, the term 'qualified taxpayer' means an individual taxpayer who filed an individual income tax return for both the 2020 and 2021 taxable years by the due date for filing the income tax return for the 2021 taxable year, including any extensions which have been granted. Such term shall not include any:
(1) Nonresident alien individual; (2) Individual who was claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer for federal or Georgia income tax purposes for the 2020 taxable year; or (3) Estate or trust. (b)(1) Once a qualified taxpayer files an individual income tax return for tax year 2021, the department shall automatically credit such qualified taxpayer with a one-time refund amount equal to the lesser of:
(A) The qualified taxpayer's 2020 individual income tax liability as properly reported on Line 16 of the 2020 Georgia Form 500 or Line 4 of the 2020 Georgia Form 500EZ; or (B) An amount, which is based on such taxpayer's filing status for the 2020 taxable year, equal to:
(i) In the case of a single taxpayer or a married taxpayer filing a separate return, $250.00; (ii) In the case of a head of household, $375.00; or (iii) In the case of a married couple filing a joint return, $500.00. (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection, in the case of any taxable nonresident or part-year resident whose tax was prorated as provided by Code Section 48-7-85, the amount of the refund credit determined pursuant to paragraph (1) of

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this subsection shall be prorated based on the ratio of income taxable to Georgia as properly reported on Schedule 3, Line 9 of the Georgia Form 500 for the 2020 taxable year. (3) In no event shall the department credit pursuant to this Code section any taxpayer with a refund greater than the taxpayer's individual income tax liability as properly reported on Line 16 of the 2020 Georgia Form 500 or Line 4 of the 2020 Georgia Form 500EZ. (c) The refunds and credits provided for in this Code section shall not constitute taxable income for Georgia individual income tax purposes. (d) Any refunds due under this Code section to a taxpayer shall be either electronically transmitted or sent by check to such taxpayer, based on the taxpayer's refund instructions, if any, as indicated on the taxpayer's tax year 2021 return, provided that such refund shall first be credited against any outstanding liability existing at the time the refund provided for in this Code section is to be issued. (e) In no event shall the amount of a refund or credit provided for in this Code section accrue interest for the benefit of the taxpayer or be paid or credited to the taxpayer with interest. (f) Any amount due to be refunded or credited to a taxpayer pursuant to this Code section shall be subject to the setoff debt collection provisions of Article 7 of this chapter. (g) The commissioner may promulgate any rules and regulations necessary to implement and administer this Code section."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved March 23, 2022.

GEORGIA LAWS 2022 SESSION

23

EDUCATION BAN ON IMPOSITION OF FACE MASK REQUIREMENTS BY LOCAL SCHOOL SYSTEMS.

No. 586 (Senate Bill No. 514).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to elementary and secondary education, so as to provide that no local board of education, local school superintendent, or school administrator, teacher, or other school personnel shall make or enforce any rule that requires a student to wear a face mask or face covering while present on school property unless such rule provides that a parent or guardian of such student may elect for his or her child to be exempt from such rule; to provide that a parent or guardian making such election shall not be required to provide a reason or any certification of the child's health or education status; to provide that no student shall suffer any adverse disciplinary or academic consequences as a result of such election; to prohibit certain waivers; to provide for a short title; to provide for a sunset date; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the "Unmask Georgia Students Act."

SECTION 2. Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to elementary and secondary education, is amended in Article 3, relating to local boards of education, by revising Code Section 20-2-59, relating to rules, as follows:
"20-2-59. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, each local school superintendent and local board of education shall make rules to govern their respective local school systems.
(b)(1) No local board of education shall make or enforce any rule pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section that requires students to wear face masks or face coverings while present in any area of a school or school grounds or other property owned or operated by the local school system unless such rule provides that a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in such local school system may elect for his or her child to be exempt from such rule. A parent or guardian making such election shall not be required to provide a reason or any certification of the child's health or education status. No student shall suffer any adverse disciplinary or academic consequences as a result of such election by a parent or guardian.

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(2) No local school superintendent shall make or enforce any rule pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section that requires students to wear face masks or face coverings while present in any area of a school or school grounds or other property owned or operated by the local school system unless such rule provides that a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in such local school system may elect for his or her child to be exempt from such rule. A parent or guardian making such election shall not be required to provide a reason or any certification of the child's health or education status. No student shall suffer any adverse disciplinary or academic consequences as a result of such election by a parent or guardian. (c) This Code section shall not be subject to waivers pursuant to Code Section 20-2-82 for a strategic waivers school system, Code Section 20-2-244 for a local board of education, Code Section 20-2-2063.2 for a charter system, or Code Section 20-2-2065 for a charter school established pursuant to Article 31 or Article 31A of this chapter, a charter system, or schools within a charter system."

SECTION 3. Said chapter is further amended in Part 3 of Article 16, relating to student health, by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"20-2-779.2. (a) No administrator, teacher, or other school personnel while acting within the scope of his or her employment with a local school system shall make or enforce any rule that requires students to wear face masks or face coverings while present in any area of a school or school grounds or other property owned or operated by the local school system unless such rule provides that a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in such local school system may elect for his or her child to be exempt from such rule. A parent or guardian making such election shall not be required to provide a reason or any certification of the child's health or education status. No student shall suffer any adverse disciplinary or academic consequences as a result of such election by a parent or guardian. (b) This Code section shall not be subject to waivers pursuant to Code Section 20-2-82 for a strategic waivers school system, Code Section 20-2-244 for a local board of education, Code Section 20-2-2063.2 for a charter system, or Code Section 20-2-2065 for a charter school established pursuant to Article 31 or Article 31A of this chapter, a charter system, or schools within a charter system."

SECTION 4. Said chapter is further amended in Article 31, the "Charter Schools Act of 1998," by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"20-2-2077. (a) No governing body of a charter school established pursuant to this article or of a state chartered special school shall make or enforce any rule that requires students to wear face masks or face coverings while present in any area of a school or school grounds or other

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property owned or operated by the charter school unless such rule provides that a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in such charter school may elect for his or her child to be exempt from such rule. A parent or guardian making such election shall not be required to provide a reason or any certification of the child's health or education status. No student shall suffer any adverse disciplinary or academic consequences as a result of such election by a parent or guardian. (b) No administrator, teacher, or other school personnel while acting within the scope of his or her employment with a charter school established pursuant to this article or a state chartered special school shall make or enforce any rule that requires students to wear face masks or face coverings while present in any area of a school or school grounds or other property owned or operated by the charter school unless such rule provides that a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in such charter school may elect for his or her child to be exempt from such rule. A parent or guardian making such election shall not be required to provide a reason or any certification of the child's health or education status. No student shall suffer any adverse disciplinary or academic consequences as a result of such election by a parent or guardian. (c) This Code section shall not be subject to waivers pursuant to Code Section 20-2-82 for a strategic waivers school system, Code Section 20-2-244 for a local board of education, Code Section 20-2-2063.2 for a charter system, or Code Section 20-2-2065 for a charter school established pursuant to this article or Article 31A of this chapter, a charter system, or schools within a charter system."

SECTION 5. Said chapter is further amended in Article 31A, relating to state charter schools, by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"20-2-2094. (a) No governing body of a charter school established pursuant to this article shall make or enforce any rule that requires students to wear face masks or face coverings while present in any area of a school or school grounds or other property owned or operated by the charter school unless such rule provides that a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in such charter school may elect for his or her child to be exempt from such rule. A parent or guardian making such election shall not be required to provide a reason or any certification of the child's health or education status. No student shall suffer any adverse disciplinary or academic consequences as a result of such election by a parent or guardian. (b) No administrator, teacher, or other school personnel while acting within the scope of his or her employment with a charter school established pursuant to this article shall make or enforce any rule that requires students to wear face masks or face coverings while present in any area of a school or school grounds or other property owned or operated by the charter school unless such rule provides that a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in such charter school may elect for his or her child to be exempt from such rule. A parent or guardian making such election shall not be required to provide a reason or any

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certification of the child's health or education status. No student shall suffer any adverse disciplinary or academic consequences as a result of such election by a parent or guardian. (c) This Code section shall not be subject to waivers pursuant to Code Section 20-2-2065 for a charter school established pursuant to this article."

SECTION 6. This Act shall stand repealed in its entirety on June 30, 2027.

SECTION 7. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 8. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved March 29, 2022.

__________

COURTS EDUCATION HEALTH INSURANCE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND AGENCIES MENTAL HEALTH SOCIAL SERVICES GEORGIA MENTAL HEALTH PARITY ACT; IMPLEMENTS RECOMMENDATIONS OF GEORGIA BEHAVIORAL HEALTH REFORM AND INNOVATION COMMISSION.

No. 587 (House Bill No. 1013).

AN ACT

To amend Titles 15, 20, 31, 33, 35, 37, 45, and 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to courts, education, health, insurance, law enforcement officers and agencies, mental health, public officers and employees, and social services, respectively, so as to implement the recommendations of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission; to provide for compliance with federal law regarding mental health parity; to provide for definitions; to provide for annual reports; to provide for annual data calls regarding mental health care parity by private insurers; to provide for information repositories; to require uniform reports from health insurers regarding nonquantitative treatment limitations; to provide for consumer complaints; to provide for same-day reimbursements; to provide for a short title; to provide for definitions and applicability of

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certain terms; to revise provisions relating to independent review panels; to provide for annual parity compliance reviews regarding mental health care parity by state health plans; to provide for medical loss ratios; to revise provisions relating to coverage of treatment of mental health or substance use disorders by individual and group accident and sickness policies or contracts; to define medical necessity for purposes of appeals by Medicaid members relating to mental health services and treatments; to provide for a state Medicaid plan amendment or waiver request if necessary; to provide that no existing contracts shall be impaired; to provide for service cancelable loans for mental health and substance use professionals; to provide for the establishment of a Behavioral Health Care Workforce Data Base by the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce; to provide for a grant program to establish assisted outpatient treatment programs; to provide for definitions; to provide grant requirements; to provide for grant application and award; to provide for research and reporting; to provide for rules and regulations; to revise definitions relating to examination and treatment for persons who are mentally ill or who have addictive diseases; to authorize peace officers to take persons to emergency receiving facilities under certain circumstances; to provide for a grant program for accountability courts that serve the mental health and substance use disorder population; to provide for powers and duties of the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination; to provide for methods to increase access to certified peer specialists in rural and underserved or unserved communities; to provide for implementing certain federal requirements regarding the juvenile justice system; to provide for automatic repeal; to provide for funds from the County Drug Abuse Treatment and Education Fund for mental health divisions; to provide for training requirements for behavioral health co-responders; to provide for co-responder programs; to provide for continued exploration of strategies for individuals with mental illnesses; to authorize the Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission to collaborate and provide advisement on certain programs, coordinate certain initiatives, and convene certain groups and advisory committees; to extend the sunset date for the Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission; to provide for an annual unified report by the administrator of the Georgia Data Analytic Center relating to complaints filed for suspected violations of mental health parity laws; to provide coverage for medications for the treatment of certain disorders under Medicaid; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

PART I Hospital and Short-Term Care Facilities
SECTION 1-1.

This part shall be known and may be cited as the "Georgia Mental Health Parity Act."

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SECTION 1-2. Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance, is amended by adding a new Code section to Chapter 1, relating to general provisions of insurance, as follows:
"33-1-27. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Addictive disease' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (2) 'Generally accepted standards of mental health or substance use disorder care' means evidence based independent standards of care and clinical practice that are generally recognized by health care providers practicing in relevant clinical specialties such as psychiatry, psychology, clinical sociology, addiction medicine and counseling, and behavioral health treatment. Valid, evidence based sources reflecting generally accepted standards of mental health or substance use disorder care may include peer reviewed scientific studies and medical literature, consensus guidelines and recommendations of nonprofit health care provider professional associations and specialty societies, and nationally recognized clinical practice guidelines, including, but not limited to, patient placement criteria and clinical practice guidelines; guidelines or recommendations of federal government agencies; and drug labeling approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. (3) 'Health care plan' means any hospital or medical insurance policy or certificate, health care plan contract or certificate, qualified higher deductible health plan, or health maintenance organization or other managed care subscriber contract. (4) 'Health insurer' means an entity subject to the insurance laws and regulations of this state, or subject to the jurisdiction of the Commissioner, that contracts, offers to contract, or enters into an agreement to provide, deliver, arrange for, pay for, or reimburse any of the costs of health care services, including those of an accident and sickness insurance company, a health maintenance organization, a health care plan, a managed care plan, or any other entity providing a health insurance plan, a health benefit plan, or a health care plan. (5) 'Medically necessary' means, with respect to the treatment of a mental health or substance use disorder, a service or product addressing the specific needs of that patient for the purpose of screening, preventing, diagnosing, managing or treating an illness, injury, condition, or its symptoms, including minimizing the progression of an illness, injury, condition, or its symptoms, in a manner that is:
(A) In accordance with the generally accepted standards of mental health or substance use disorder care; (B) Clinically appropriate in terms of type, frequency, extent, site, and duration; and (C) Not primarily for the economic benefit of the insurer, purchaser, or for the convenience of the patient, treating physician, or other health care provider. (6) 'Mental health or substance use disorder' means a mental illness or addictive disease. (7) 'Mental illness' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1.

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(8) 'Nonquantitative treatment limitation' or 'NQTL' means limitations that are not expressed numerically, but otherwise limit the scope or duration of benefits for treatment. NQTLs include, but are not limited to, the following:
(A) Medical management standards limiting or excluding benefits based on whether the treatment is medically necessary or whether the treatment is experimental or investigative; (B) Formulary design for prescription drugs; (C) Standards for provider admission to participate in a network, including average time to obtain, verify, and assess the qualifications of a health practitioner for purposes of credentialing; (D) Criteria utilized for determining usual, customary, and reasonable charges for out-of-network services, including the threshold percentile utilized and any industry software or other billing, charges, and claims tools utilized; (E) Restrictions based on geographic location, facility type, provider specialty, and other criteria that limit the scope or duration of benefits for in-network and out-of-network services; (F) Standards for providing access to out-of-network providers; (G) Provider reimbursement rates, including rates of reimbursement for mental health or substance use services in primary care; and (H) Such other limitations as identified by the commissioner. (b) Every health insurer that provides coverage for mental health or substance use disorders as part of a health care plan shall provide coverage for the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders in accordance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, 42 U.S.C. Section 300gg-26, and its implementing and related regulations in any such health care plan it offers and shall: (1) Provide such coverage for children, adolescents, and adults; (2) In addition to the requirements of Chapter 46 of this title, apply the definitions of 'generally accepted standards of mental health or substance use disorder care,' 'medically necessary,' and 'mental health or substance use disorder' contained in subsection (a) of this Code section in making any medical necessity, prior authorization, or utilization review determinations under such coverage; (3) Ensure that any subcontractor or affiliate responsible for management of mental health and substance use disorder care on behalf of the health insurer complies with the requirements of this Code section; and (4) No later than January 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, submit a report to the Commissioner that contains the designated comparative analyses and other information designated by the Commissioner for that reporting year for insurers under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, 42 U.S.C. Section 300gg-26(a)(8)(A) and which delineates the comparative analysis and written processes and strategies used to apply benefits for children, adolescents, and adults. No later than January 1, 2024, and annually thereafter, the Commissioner shall publish on the department's website in a

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prominent location the reports submitted to the Commissioner pursuant to this paragraph and a list of the designated NQTLs, comparative analyses, and other information required by the Commissioner to be reported in the upcoming reporting year. (c) The Commissioner shall:
(1)(A) Conduct an annual data call no later than May 15, 2023, and every May 15 thereafter, of health insurers to ensure compliance with mental health parity requirements, including, but not limited to, compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, 42 U.S.C. Section 300gg-26. Such data calls shall include a focus on the use of nonquantitative treatment limitations. In the event that information collected from a data call indicates or suggests a potential violation of any mental health parity requirement by a health insurer, the department shall initiate a market conduct examination of such health insurer to determine whether such health insurer is in compliance with mental health parity requirements. All health insurers shall timely respond to and provide to the department any and all sufficient data requested by the department; and (B) Submit an annual report to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the House of Representatives no later than August 15, 2023, and every August 15 thereafter, regarding the data call conducted pursuant to this paragraph, including details regarding any market conduct examinations initiated by the department pursuant to any such data call; and (2) Include mental health parity compliance by health insurers in the examination conducted pursuant to Code Section 33-2-11 by the Commissioner. (d) No health insurer shall implement any prohibition on same-day reimbursement for a patient who sees a mental health provider and a primary care provider in the same day. (e) The Commissioner shall implement and maintain a streamlined process for accepting, evaluating, and responding to complaints from consumers and health care providers regarding suspected mental health parity violations. Such process shall be posted on the department's website in a prominent location and clearly distinguished from other types of complaints and shall include information on the rights of consumers under Article 2 of Chapter 20A of Title 33, the 'Patient's Right to Independent Review Act,' and other applicable law. To the extent practicable, the Commissioner shall undertake reasonable efforts to make culturally and linguistically sensitive materials available for consumers accessing the complaint process established pursuant to this subsection. (f) No later than January 1, 2023, the department shall create a repository for tracking, analyzing, and reporting information resulting from complaints received from consumers and health care providers regarding suspected mental health parity violations. Such repository shall include complaints, department reviews, mitigation efforts, and outcomes, among other criteria established by the department. (g) Beginning January 15, 2024, and no later than January 15 annually thereafter, the Commissioner shall submit a report to the administrator of the Georgia Data Analytic

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Center and the General Assembly with information regarding the previous year's complaints and all elements contained in the repository. (h) The Commissioner shall appoint a mental health parity officer within the department to ensure implementation of the requirements of this Code section.
(i)(1) If the Commissioner determines that a health insurer failed to submit a timely or sufficient report required under paragraph (4) of subsection (b) of this Code section or failed to submit timely and sufficient data pursuant to a data call conducted pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (c) of this Code section, the Commissioner may impose a monetary penalty of up to $2,000.00 for each and every act in violation, unless the insurer knew or reasonably should have known that he or she was in violation, in which case the monetary penalty may be increased to an amount of up to $5,000.00 for each and every act in violation. (2) If the Commissioner determines that an insurer failed to comply with any provision of this Code section, the Commissioner may take any action authorized, including, but not limited to, issuing an administrative order imposing monetary penalties, imposing a compliance plan, ordering the insurer to develop a compliance plan, or ordering the insurer to reprocess claims. (j) Nothing contained in this Code section shall abrogate the protections afforded by federal conscience and antidiscrimination laws as further delineated in 45 C.F.R. Part 88 in effect as of June 30, 2022, all of which shall apply to patients, health care providers, and purchasers of health care plans."

SECTION 1-3. Said title is further amended in Code Section 33-20A-31, relating to definitions relative to the "Patient's Right to Independent Review Act," by revising paragraphs (1), (7), and (8) and adding new paragraphs to read as follows:
"(1) 'Addictive disease' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (1.1) 'Department' means the Department of Insurance." "(2.1) 'Generally accepted standards of mental health or substance use disorder care' means evidence based independent standards of care and clinical practice that are generally recognized by health care providers practicing in relevant clinical specialties such as psychiatry, psychology, clinical sociology, addiction medicine and counseling, and behavioral health treatment. Valid, evidence based sources reflecting generally accepted standards of mental health or substance use disorder care may include peer reviewed scientific studies and medical literature, consensus guidelines and recommendations of nonprofit health care provider professional associations and specialty societies, and nationally recognized clinical practice guidelines, including, but not limited to, patient placement criteria and clinical practice guidelines; guidelines or recommendations of federal government agencies; and drug labeling approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration."

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"(7) 'Medical necessity,' 'medically necessary care,' or 'medically necessary and appropriate' means:
(A) Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, care based upon generally accepted medical practices in light of conditions at the time of treatment which is:
(i) Appropriate and consistent with the diagnosis and the omission of which could adversely affect or fail to improve the eligible enrollee's condition; (ii) Compatible with the standards of acceptable medical practice in the United States; (iii) Provided in a safe and appropriate setting given the nature of the diagnosis and the severity of the symptoms; (iv) Not provided solely for the convenience of the eligible enrollee or the convenience of the health care provider or hospital; and (v) Not primarily custodial care, unless custodial care is a covered service or benefit under the eligible enrollee's evidence of coverage; or (B) With respect to the treatment of a mental health or substance use disorder, a service or product addressing the specific needs of that patient for the purpose of screening, preventing, diagnosing, managing or treating an illness, injury, condition, or its symptoms, including minimizing the progression of an illness, injury, condition, or its symptoms, in a manner that is: (i) In accordance with the generally accepted standards of mental health or substance use disorder care; (ii) Clinically appropriate in terms of type, frequency, extent, site, and duration; and (iii) Not primarily for the economic benefit of the insurer, purchaser, or for the convenience of the patient, treating physician, or other health care provider. (7.1) 'Mental health or substance use disorder' means a mental illness or addictive disease. (7.2) 'Mental illness' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (8) 'Treatment' means a medical or mental health or substance use disorder service, diagnosis, procedure, therapy, drug, or device."

SECTION 1-4. Said title is further amended in Chapter 21A, relating to the "Medicaid Care Management Organizations Act," by adding two new Code sections to read as follows:
"33-21A-13. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Addictive disease' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (2) 'Generally accepted standards of mental health or substance use disorder care' means evidence based independent standards of care and clinical practice that are generally recognized by health care providers practicing in relevant clinical specialties such as psychiatry, psychology, clinical sociology, addiction medicine and counseling, and

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behavioral health treatment. Valid, evidence based sources reflecting generally accepted standards of mental health or substance use disorder care may include peer reviewed scientific studies and medical literature, consensus guidelines and recommendations of nonprofit health care provider professional associations and specialty societies, and nationally recognized clinical practice guidelines, including, but not limited to, patient placement criteria and clinical practice guidelines; guidelines or recommendations of federal government agencies; and drug labeling approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. (3) 'Medically necessary' means, with respect to the treatment of a mental health or substance use disorder, a service or product addressing the specific needs of that patient for the purpose of screening, preventing, diagnosing, managing or treating an illness, injury, condition, or its symptoms, including minimizing the progression of an illness, injury, condition, or its symptoms, in a manner that is:
(A) In accordance with the generally accepted standards of mental health or substance use disorder care; (B) Clinically appropriate in terms of type, frequency, extent, site, and duration; and (C) Not primarily for the economic benefit of the insurer, purchaser, or for the convenience of the patient, treating physician, or other health care provider. (4) 'Mental health or substance use disorder' means a mental illness or addictive disease. (5) 'Mental illness' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (6) 'Nonquantitative treatment limitation' or 'NQTL' means limitations that are not expressed numerically, but otherwise limit the scope or duration of benefits for treatment. NQTLs include, but are not limited to, the following: (A) Medical management standards limiting or excluding benefits based on whether the treatment is medically necessary or whether the treatment is experimental or investigative; (B) Formulary design for prescription drugs; (C) Standards for provider admission to participate in a network, including average time to obtain, verify, and assess the qualifications of a health practitioner for purposes of credentialing; (D) Criteria utilized for determining usual, customary, and reasonable charges for out-of-network services, including the threshold percentile utilized and any industry software or other billing, charges, and claims tools utilized; (E) Restrictions based on geographic location, facility type, provider specialty, and other criteria that limit the scope or duration of benefits for in-network and out-of-network services; (F) Standards for providing access to out-of-network providers; (G) Provider reimbursement rates, including rates of reimbursement for mental health or substance use services in primary care; provided, however, that any proprietary information collected shall not be subject to disclosure; and (H) Such other limitation identified by the commissioner.

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(7) 'State health care entity' means any entity that provides or arranges health care for a state health plan on a prepaid, capitated, or fee for service basis to enrollees or recipients of Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids, including any insurer, care management organization, administrative services organization, utilization management organization, or other entity. (8) 'State health plan' means any health care benefits provided pursuant to Subpart 2 of Part 6 of Article 17 of Chapter 2 of Title 20, Subpart 3 of Part 6 of Article 17 of Chapter 2 of Title 20, Article 1 of Chapter 18 of Title 45, Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49, or Article 13 of Chapter 5 of Title 49. (b) Every state health care entity shall provide coverage for the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders in accordance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, 42 U.S.C. Section 300gg-26, and its implementing and related regulations, which shall be at least as extensive and provide at least the same degree of coverage as that provided by the entity for the treatment of other types of physical illnesses. Such coverage shall also cover the spouse and the dependents of the insured if such insured's spouse and dependents are covered under such benefit plan, policy, or contract. Such coverage shall not contain any exclusions, reductions, or other limitations as to coverages, deductibles, or coinsurance provisions which apply to the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders unless such provisions apply generally to other similar benefits provided or paid for under the state health plan. Every such entity shall: (1) Provide such coverage for children, adolescents, and adults; (2) Apply the definitions of 'generally accepted standards of mental health or substance use disorder care,' 'medically necessary,' and 'mental health or substance use disorder' contained in subsection (a) of this Code section in making any medical necessity, prior authorization, or utilization review determinations under such coverage; (3) Ensure that any subcontractor or affiliate responsible for management of mental health and substance use disorder care on behalf of the state health care entity complies with the requirements of this Code section; (4) Process hospital claims for emergency health care services for mental health or substance use disorders in accordance with this Code section regardless of whether a member is treated in an emergency department; and (5) No later than January 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, submit a report to the commissioner of community health that contains the comparative analysis and other information required of insurers under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, 42 U.S.C. Section 300gg-26(a)(8)(A) and which delineates the comparative analysis and written processes and strategies used to apply benefits for children, adolescents, and adults. No later than January 1, 2024, and annually thereafter, the commissioner of community health shall publish on the Department of Community Health's website in a prominent location the reports submitted to the commissioner of community health pursuant to this paragraph. (c) The commissioner of community health shall annually:

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(1) Perform parity compliance reviews of all state health care entities to ensure compliance with mental health parity requirements, including, but not limited to, compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, 42 U.S.C. Section 300gg-26. Such parity compliance reviews shall include a focus on the use of nonquantitative treatment limitations; and (2) Publish on the Department of Community Health's website in a prominent location a status report of the parity compliance reviews performed pursuant to this subsection, including the results of the reviews and any corrective actions taken. (d) No state health care entity shall implement any prohibition on same-day reimbursement for a patient who sees a mental health provider and a primary care provider in the same day. (e) The commissioner of community health shall establish a process for accepting, evaluating, and responding to complaints from consumers and health care providers regarding suspected mental health parity violations. Such process shall be posted on the Department of Community Health's website in a prominent location and shall include information on the rights of consumers under Article 2 of Chapter 20A of Title 33, the 'Patient's Right to Independent Review Act,' and rights of care management organizations under Code Section 49-4-153. To the extent practicable, the commissioner of community health shall undertake reasonable efforts to make culturally and linguistically sensitive materials available for consumers accessing the complaint process established pursuant to this subsection. (f) No later than July 1, 2023, the Department of Community Health shall create a repository for tracking, analyzing, and reporting information resulting from complaints received from consumers and health care providers regarding suspected mental health parity violations. Such repository shall include complaints, department reviews, mitigation efforts, and outcomes, among other criteria established by the department. (g) Beginning January 15, 2024, and no later than January 15 annually thereafter, the commissioner of community health shall submit a report to the administrator of the Georgia Data Analytic Center and the General Assembly with information regarding the previous year's complaints and all elements contained in the repository. (h) Nothing contained in this Code section shall abrogate the protections afforded by federal conscience and antidiscrimination laws as further delineated in 45 C.F.R. Part 88 in effect as of June 30, 2022, all of which shall apply to patients, health care providers, and purchasers or recipients of state health plans."

33-21A-14. (a) The intent of this Code section is to implement the state option in subdivision (j) of 42 C.F.R. Section 438.8. (b) As used in this Code section, the term 'medical loss ratio reporting year' or 'MLR reporting year' shall have the same meaning as that term is defined in 42 C.F.R. Section 438.8.

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(c) Beginning July 1, 2023, care management organizations shall comply with a minimum 85 percent medical loss ratio or such higher minimum percentage as may be set out in a contract between the department and a care management organization consistent with 42 C.F.R. Section 438.8. The ratio shall be calculated and reported for each MLR reporting year by each care management organization consistent with 42 C.F.R. Section 438.8.
(d)(1) Effective for contract rating periods beginning on and after July 1, 2023, each care management organization shall provide a remittance for an MLR reporting year if the ratio for that MLR reporting year does not meet the minimum MLR standard of 85 percent. The department shall determine the remittance amount on a plan-specific basis for each rating region of the plan and shall calculate the federal and nonfederal share amounts associated with each remittance. (2) After the department returns the requisite federal share amounts associated with any remittance funds collected in any applicable fiscal year to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the remaining amounts remitted by care management organizations pursuant to this section shall be transferred to the general fund. (e) Except as otherwise required under this Code section, the requirements under this Code section shall not apply to a health care service plan under a subcontract with a care management organization to provide covered health care services to Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids members. (f) The department shall post on its website the following information: (1) The aggregate MLR of all care management organizations; (2) The MLR of each care management organization; and (3) Any required remittances owed by each care management organization. (g) The department shall seek any federal approvals it deems necessary to implement this Code section."

SECTION 1-5. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 33-24-28.1, relating to coverage of treatment of mental disorders, as follows:
"33-24-28.1. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract' means: (A) An individual accident and sickness insurance policy or contract, as defined in Chapter 29 of this title; or (B) Any similar individual accident and sickness benefit plan, policy, or contract.
(2) 'Addictive disease' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (3) 'Mental health or substance use disorder' means a mental illness or addictive disease. (4) 'Mental illness' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (b) Every insurer authorized to issue accident and sickness insurance benefit plans, policies, or contracts shall be required to make available, either as a part of or as an

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optional endorsement to all such policies providing major medical insurance coverage which are issued, delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed coverage for the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders for children, adolescents, and adults, which coverage shall be at least as extensive and provide at least the same degree of coverage as that provided by the respective plan, policy, or contract for the treatment of other types of physical illnesses. Such an optional endorsement shall also provide that the coverage required to be made available pursuant to this Code section shall also cover the spouse and the dependents of the insured if such insured's spouse and dependents are covered under such benefit plan, policy, or contract. (c) The optional endorsement required to be made available under subsection (b) of this Code section shall not contain any exclusions, reductions, or other limitations as to coverages, deductibles, or coinsurance provisions which apply to the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders unless such provisions apply generally to other similar benefits provided or paid for under the accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract. (d) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prohibit an insurer, health care plan, health maintenance organization, or other person issuing any similar accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract from issuing or continuing to issue an accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract which provides benefits greater than the minimum benefits required to be made available under this Code section or from issuing any such plans, policies, or contracts which provide benefits which are generally more favorable to the insured than those required to be made available under this Code section. (e) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prohibit the inclusion of coverage for the treatment of mental disorders that differs from the coverage provided in the same insurance plan, policy, or contract for physical illnesses if the policyholder does not purchase the optional coverage made available pursuant to this Code section. (f) In the event that an insurer under this Code section is also subject to Code Section 33-1-27 and the federal Mental Health Parity Addiction Equity Act of 2008, 42 U.S.C. Section 300gg-26, then such Code section and federal act shall take precedence to the extent of any conflicting requirements contained in this Code section."

SECTION 1-6. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 33-24-29, relating to coverage for treatment of mental disorders under accident and sickness insurance benefit plans providing major medical benefits covering small groups, as follows:
"33-24-29. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract' means: (A) A group or blanket accident and sickness insurance policy or contract, as defined in Chapter 30 of this title;

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(B) A group contract of the type issued by a health care plan established under Chapter 20 of this title; (C) A group contract of the type issued by a health maintenance organization established under Chapter 21 of this title; or (D) Any similar group accident and sickness benefit plan, policy, or contract. (2) 'Addictive disease' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (3) 'Mental health or substance use disorder' means a mental illness or addictive disease. (4) 'Mental illness' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (b) This Code section shall apply only to accident and sickness insurance benefit plans, policies, or contracts, certificates evidencing coverage under a policy of insurance, or any other evidence of insurance issued by an insurer, delivered, or issued for delivery in this state, except for policies issued to an employer in another state which provide coverage for employees in this state who are employed by such employer policyholder, providing major medical benefits covering small groups as defined in subsection (a) of Code Section 33-30-12. (c) Every insurer authorized to issue accident and sickness insurance benefit plans, policies, or contracts shall be required to make available, either as a part of or as an optional endorsement to all such policies providing major medical insurance coverage which are issued, delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed coverage for the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders for children, adolescents, and adults, which coverage shall be at least as extensive and provide at least the same degree of coverage and the same annual and lifetime dollar limits, but which may provide for different limits on the number of inpatient treatment days and outpatient treatment visits, as that provided by the respective plan, policy, or contract for the treatment of other types of physical illnesses. Such an optional endorsement shall also provide that the coverage required to be made available pursuant to this Code section shall also cover the spouse and the dependents of the insured if the insured's spouse and dependents are covered under such benefit plan, policy, or contract. (d)(1) The optional endorsement required to be made available under subsection (c) of this Code section shall not contain any exclusions, reductions, or other limitations as to coverages which apply to the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders unless such provisions apply generally to other similar benefits provided or paid for under the accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract, except for any differing limits on inpatient treatment days and outpatient treatment visits as provided under subsection (c) of this Code section and as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection. (2) The optional endorsement required to be made available under subsection (c) of this Code section may contain deductibles or coinsurance provisions which apply to the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders, and such deductibles or coinsurance provisions need not apply generally to other similar benefits provided or paid for under the accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract; provided,

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however, that if a separate deductible applies to the treatment of mental disorders, it shall not exceed the deductible for medical or surgical coverages. A separate out-of-pocket limit may be applied to the treatment of mental disorders, which limit, in the case of an indemnity type plan, shall not exceed the maximum out-of-pocket limit for medical or surgical coverages and which, in the case of a health maintenance organization plan, shall not exceed the maximum out-of-pocket limit for medical or surgical coverages or the amount of $2,000.00 in 1998 and as annually adjusted thereafter according to the Consumer Price Index for health care, whichever is greater. (e)(1) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prohibit an insurer, nonprofit corporation, health care plan, health maintenance organization, or other person issuing any similar accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract from issuing or continuing to issue an accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract which provides benefits greater than the minimum benefits required to be made available under this Code section or from issuing any such plans, policies, or contracts which provide benefits which are generally more favorable to the insured than those required to be made available under this Code section. (2) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prohibit any person issuing an accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract from providing the coverage required to be made available under subsection (c) of this Code section through an indemnity plan with or without designating preferred providers of services or from arranging for or providing services instead of indemnifying against the cost of such services, without regard to whether such method of providing coverage for treatment of mental health or substance use disorders applies generally to other similar benefits provided or paid for under the accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract. (f) The requirements of this Code section with respect to a group or blanket accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract shall be satisfied if the coverage specified in subsections (c) and (d) of this Code section is made available to the master policyholder of such plan, policy, or contract. Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to require the group insurer, nonprofit corporation, health care plan, health maintenance organization, or master policyholder to provide or make available such coverage to any insured under such group or blanket plan, policy, or contract. (g) This Code section is neither enacted pursuant to nor intended to implement the provisions of any federal law. (h) In the event that an insurer under this Code section is also subject to Code Section 33-1-27 and the federal Mental Health Parity Addiction Equity Act of 2008, 42 U.S.C. Section 300gg-26, then such Code section and federal act shall take precedence to the extent of any conflicting requirements contained in this Code section."

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SECTION 1-7. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 33-24-29.1, relating to coverage for treatment of mental disorders under accident and sickness insurance benefit plans providing major medical benefits covering all groups except small groups, as follows:
"33-24-29.1. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract' means: (A) A group or blanket accident and sickness insurance policy or contract, as defined in Chapter 30 of this title; (B) A group contract of the type issued by a health care plan established under Chapter 20 of this title; (C) A group contract of the type issued by a health maintenance organization established under Chapter 21 of this title; or (D) Any similar group accident and sickness benefit plan, policy, or contract.
(2) 'Addictive disease' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (3) 'Mental health or substance use disorder' means a mental illness or addictive disease. (4) 'Mental illness' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (b) This Code section shall apply only to accident and sickness insurance benefit plans, policies, or contracts, certificates evidencing coverage under a policy of insurance, or any other evidence of insurance issued by an insurer, delivered, or issued for delivery in this state, except for policies issued to an employer in another state which provide coverage for employees in this state who are employed by such employer policyholder, providing major medical benefits covering all groups except small groups as defined in subsection (a) of Code Section 33-30-12. (c) Every insurer authorized to issue accident and sickness insurance benefit plans, policies, or contracts shall be required to make available, either as a part of or as an optional endorsement to all such policies providing major medical insurance coverage which are issued, delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed coverage for the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders for children, adolescents, and adults, which coverage shall be at least as extensive and provide at least the same degree of coverage and the same annual and lifetime dollar limits as that provided by the respective plan, policy, or contract for the treatment of other types of physical illnesses. Such an optional endorsement shall also provide that the coverage required to be made available pursuant to this Code section shall also cover the spouse and the dependents of the insured if the insured's spouse and dependents are covered under such benefit plan, policy, or contract. (d)(1) The optional endorsement required to be made available under subsection (c) of this Code section shall not contain any exclusions, reductions, or other limitations as to coverages, including without limitation limits on the number of inpatient treatment days and outpatient treatment visits, which apply to the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders unless such provisions apply generally to other similar benefits provided

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or paid for under the accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection. (2) The optional endorsement required to be made available under subsection (c) of this Code section may contain deductibles or coinsurance provisions which apply to the treatment of mental health or substance use disorders. (e)(1) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prohibit an insurer, nonprofit corporation, health care plan, health maintenance organization, or other person issuing any similar accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract from issuing or continuing to issue an accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract which provides benefits greater than the minimum benefits required to be made available under this Code section or from issuing any such plans, policies, or contracts which provide benefits which are generally more favorable to the insured than those required to be made available under this Code section. (2) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prohibit any person issuing an accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract from providing the coverage required to be made available under subsection (c) of this Code section through an indemnity plan with or without designating preferred providers of services or from arranging for or providing services instead of indemnifying against the cost of such services, without regard to whether such method of providing coverage for treatment of mental health or substance use disorders applies generally to other similar benefits provided or paid for under the accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract. (f) The requirements of this Code section with respect to a group or blanket accident and sickness insurance benefit plan, policy, or contract shall be satisfied if the coverage specified in subsections (c) and (d) of this Code section is made available to the master policyholder of such plan, policy, or contract. Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to require the group insurer, nonprofit corporation, health care plan, health maintenance organization, or master policyholder to provide or make available such coverage to any insured under such group or blanket plan, policy, or contract."

SECTION 1-8. Code Section 49-4-153 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to administrative hearings and appeals under Medicaid, judicial review, and contested cases involving imposition of remedial or punitive measure against a nursing facility, is amended by revising paragraph (1) of subsection (b) as follows:
"(b)(1) Any applicant for medical assistance whose application is denied or is not acted upon with reasonable promptness and any recipient of medical assistance aggrieved by the action or inaction of the Department of Community Health as to any medical or remedial care or service which such recipient alleges should be reimbursed under the terms of the state plan which was in effect on the date on which such care or service was rendered or is sought to be rendered shall be entitled to a hearing upon his or her request

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for such in writing and in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations of the department and the Office of State Administrative Hearings. With respect to appeals regarding whether a treatment for a mental health or substance abuse disorder is medically necessary, the administrative law judge shall make such determination using the definitions provided in Code Section 33-21A-13. As a result of the written request for hearing, a written recommendation shall be rendered in writing by the administrative law judge assigned to hear the matter. Should a decision be adverse to a party and should a party desire to appeal that decision, the party must file a request in writing to the commissioner or the commissioner's designated representative within 30 days of his or her receipt of the hearing decision. The commissioner, or the commissioner's designated representative, has 30 days from the receipt of the request for appeal to affirm, modify, or reverse the decision appealed from. A final decision or order adverse to a party, other than the agency, in a contested case shall be in writing or stated in the record. A final decision shall include findings of fact and conclusions of law, separately stated, and the effective date of the decision or order. Findings of fact shall be accompanied by a concise and explicit statement of the underlying facts supporting the findings. Each agency shall maintain a properly indexed file of all decisions in contested cases, which file shall be open for public inspection except those expressly made confidential or privileged by statute. If the commissioner fails to issue a decision, the initial recommended decision shall become the final administrative decision of the commissioner."

SECTION 1-9. If necessary to implement any of the provisions of this part relating to the Medicaid program, the Department of Community Health shall submit a Medicaid state plan amendment or waiver request to the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

SECTION 1-10. Nothing in this part shall be construed to impair any contracts in effect on June 30, 2022.

PART II Workforce and System Development
SECTION 2-1.

Code Section 20-3-374 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to service cancelable loan fund and authorized types of service cancelable educational loans financed by state funds and issued by the Georgia Student Finance Authority, is amended by revising subsection (b) as follows:
"(b) State funds appropriated for service cancelable loans shall be used by the authority to the greatest extent possible for the purposes designated in this subpart in accordance with the following:

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(1) Paramedical and other medical related professional and educational fields of study.
(A) The authority is authorized to make service cancelable educational loans to residents of Georgia enrolled in paramedical and other medical related professional and educational fields of study, including selected degree programs in gerontology, geriatrics, and primary care medicine. A student enrolled in a program leading to the degree of doctor of medicine shall not qualify for a loan under this paragraph unless the area of specialization is psychiatry or primary care medicine. The authority shall, from time to time, by regulation designate the subfields of study that qualify for service cancelable loans under this paragraph. In determining the qualified subfields, the authority shall give preference to those subfields in which the State of Georgia is experiencing a shortage of trained personnel. Loans made under this paragraph need not be limited to students attending a school located within the state. However, any and all loans made under this paragraph shall be conditioned upon the student agreeing that the loan shall be repaid by the student either:
(i) Practicing in the designated qualified field in a geographical area in the State of Georgia approved by the authority. For service repayment, the loan shall be repaid at a rate of one year of service for each academic year of study or its equivalent for which a loan is made to the student under this paragraph; or (ii) In cash repayment with assessed interest thereon in accordance with the terms and conditions of a promissory note that shall be executed by the student. (B) The authority is authorized to make service cancelable loans to residents of this state enrolled in a course of study leading to a degree in an educational field that will permit the student to be employed as either a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse. Service cancelable loans can also be made available under this paragraph for students seeking an advanced degree in the field of nursing. The maximum loan amount that a full-time student may borrow under this paragraph shall not exceed $10,000.00 per academic year. Any and all loans made under this paragraph shall be conditional upon the student agreeing that the loan shall be repaid by the student either: (i) Practicing as a licensed practical or registered nurse in a geographical area in the State of Georgia that has been approved by the authority. For service repayment, the loan shall be repaid at a rate of one year of service for each academic year of study or its equivalent for which a loan is made to the student under this paragraph; or (ii) In cash repayment with assessed interest thereon in accordance with the terms and conditions of a promissory note that shall be executed by the student; (2) Georgia National Guard members. (A) The authority is authorized to make service cancelable educational loans to eligible members of the Georgia National Guard enrolled in a degree program at an eligible postsecondary institution, eligible private postsecondary institution, or eligible public postsecondary institution, as those terms are defined in Code Section 20-3-519.

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Members of the Georgia National Guard who are in good standing according to applicable regulations of the National Guard shall be eligible to apply for a loan. (B) Prior to making application for the service cancelable educational loan, an applicant shall complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid and make application for all other available grants, scholarships, tuition assistance, and United States Department of Veterans Affairs educational benefits that have not been transferred to dependents. (C) Such loans shall be on the terms and conditions set by the authority in consultation with the Department of Defense, provided that any such loan, when combined with any other available grants, scholarships, tuition assistance, and United States Department of Veterans Affairs educational benefits, shall not exceed an amount equal to the actual tuition charged to the recipient for the period of enrollment in an educational institution or the highest undergraduate in-state tuition charged by a postsecondary institution governed by the board of regents for the period of enrollment at the postsecondary institution, whichever is less. A loan recipient shall be eligible to receive loan assistance provided for in this paragraph for not more than 120 semester hours of study. Educational loans may be made to full-time and part-time students. (D) Upon the recipient's attainment of a graduate degree from an institution or cessation of status as an active member of the Georgia National Guard, whichever occurs first, eligibility to apply for the loan provided by this paragraph shall be discontinued. (E) The loan provided by this paragraph shall be suspended by the authority for a recipient's failure to maintain good military standing as an active member for the period required in subparagraph (F) of this paragraph or failure to maintain sufficient academic standing and good academic progress and program pursuit. If the recipient fails to maintain good standing as an active member of the Georgia National Guard for the required period or fails to maintain sufficient academic standing and good academic progress and program pursuit, loans made under this paragraph shall be repayable in cash, with interest thereon. (F) Upon satisfactory completion of a quarter, semester, year, or other period of study as determined by the authority; graduation; termination of enrollment in school; or termination of this assistance with approval of the authority, the loan shall be canceled in consideration of the student's retaining membership in good standing in the Georgia National Guard for a period of two years following the last period of study for which the loan is applicable. This two-year service requirement may be waived by the adjutant general of Georgia for good cause according to applicable regulations of the Georgia National Guard. (G) The adjutant general of Georgia shall certify eligibility and termination of eligibility of students for educational loans and eligibility for cancellation of educational loans by members of the Georgia National Guard in accordance with regulations of the authority;

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(3) Mental health or substance use professionals. (A) The authority is authorized to make service cancelable educational loans to residents of the State of Georgia enrolled in educational programs, training programs, or courses of study for mental health or substance use professionals. Loans made under this paragraph need not be limited to students attending programs or schools located within the State of Georgia; provided, however, that priority shall be given to: (i) Programs and schools with an emphasis and history of providing care to underserved youth; and (ii) Students with ties to and agreeing to serve underserved geographic areas or communities which are disproportionately impacted by social determinants of health. (B) Any and all loans made under this paragraph shall be conditional upon the student agreeing that the loan shall be repaid by the student either: (i) Practicing as a mental health or substance use professional in a geographical area in the State of Georgia approved by the authority. For service repayment, the loan shall be repaid at a rate of one year of service for each academic year of study or its equivalent for which a loan is made to the student under this paragraph; or (ii) In cash repayment with assessed interest thereon in accordance with the terms and conditions of a promissory note that shall be executed by the student. (C) As used in this paragraph, the term 'mental health or substance use professional' means a psychiatrist, psychologist, professional counselor, social worker, marriage and family therapist, clinical nurse specialist in psychiatric/mental health, or other licensed mental or behavioral health clinician or specialist; and
(4) Critical shortage fields. The authority is authorized to make service cancelable educational loans to residents of the State of Georgia enrolled in any field of study that the authority, from time to time, designates by regulation as a field in which a critical shortage of trained personnel exists in the State of Georgia. Loans made under this paragraph need not be limited to students attending schools located within the State of Georgia. However, any and all loans made under this paragraph shall be conditional upon the student agreeing that the loan shall be repaid by the student either:
(A) Practicing in the designated field in a geographical area in the State of Georgia approved by the authority. For service repayment, the loan shall be repaid at a rate of one year of service for each academic year of study or its equivalent for which a loan is made to the student under this paragraph; or (B) In cash repayment with assessed interest thereon in accordance with the terms and conditions of a promissory note that shall be executed by the student. The authority is authorized to place other conditions and limitations on loans made under this paragraph as it may deem necessary to fill the void that has created the critical shortage in the field."

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SECTION 2-2. Chapter 10 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"49-10-5. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Addictive disease' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (2) 'Behavioral health care provider' means any health care provider regulated by a licensing board who primarily provides treatment or diagnosis of mental health or substance use disorders. (3) 'Licensing board' means:
(A) Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists; (B) Georgia Board of Nursing; (C) Georgia Composite Medical Board; (D) State Board of Examiners of Psychologists; and (E) State Board of Pharmacy. (4) 'Mental health or substance use disorder' means a mental illness or addictive disease. (5) 'Mental illness' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (b) The board shall create and maintain the Behavioral Health Care Workforce Data Base for the purposes of collecting and analyzing minimum data set surveys for behavioral health care professionals. To facilitate such data base, the board shall: (1) Enter into agreements with entities to create, house, and provide information to the Governor, the General Assembly, state agencies, and the public regarding the state's behavioral health care work force; (2) Seek federal or other sources of funding necessary to support the creation and maintenance of a Behavioral Health Care Workforce Data Base, including any necessary staffing; (3) Create and maintain an online dashboard accessible on the board's website to provide access to the Behavioral Health Care Workforce Data Base; and (4) Establish a minimum data set survey to be utilized by licensing boards to collect demographic and other data from behavioral health care providers which are licensed by such boards. (c) Licensing boards shall be authorized to and shall require that each applicant and licensee complete the minimum data set survey established by the board pursuant to this Code section at the time of application for licensure or renewal of such applicant or licensee to his or her licensing board. Licensing boards shall provide the board with the results of such minimum data set surveys in accordance with rules and regulations established by the board regarding the manner, form, and content for the reporting of such data sets.

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(d) To the extent allowed by law, the minimum data set established by the board shall include, but shall not be limited to:
(1) Demographics, including race, ethnicity, and primary and other languages spoken; (2) Practice status, including, but not limited to:
(A) Active practices in Georgia and other locations; (B) Practice type and age range of individuals served; and (C) Practice settings, such as a hospital; clinic; school; in-home services, including telehealth services; or other clinical setting; (3) Education, training, and primary and secondary specialties; (4) Average hours worked per week and average number of weeks worked per year in the licensed profession; (5) Percentage of practice engaged in direct patient care and in other activities, such as teaching, research, and administration in the licensed profession; (6) Year of expected retirement, as applicable, within the next five years; (7) Whether the applicant or licensee has specialized training in treating children and adolescents, and if so, the proportion of his or her practice that comprises the treatment of children and adolescents; (8) Whether the applicant or licensee is or will be accepting new patients and the location or locations new patients are being or will be accepted; (9) Types of insurance accepted and whether the provider accepts Medicaid and Medicare; and (10) Other data determined by the board."

PART III Involuntary Commitment
SECTION 3-1.

Title 37 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to mental health, is amended in Chapter 1, relating to the governing and regulation of mental health, by adding a new article to read as follows:

"ARTICLE 7

37-1-120. As used in this article, the term:
(1) 'Addictive disease' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1. (2) 'Assisted outpatient treatment' means involuntary outpatient care, pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 3 of this title, provided in the context of a formalized, systematic effort led by a community service board or private provider in collaboration with other community partners, endeavoring to:

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(A) Identify residents of the community service board's or private provider's service area who qualify as outpatients pursuant to Code Section 37-3-1; (B) Establish procedures such that upon the identification of an individual believed to be an outpatient, a petition seeking involuntary outpatient care for the individual is filed in the probate court of the appropriate county; (C) Provide evidence based treatment, rehabilitation, and case management services under an individualized service plan to each patient receiving involuntary outpatient care, focused on helping the patient maintain stability and safety in the community; (D) Safeguard, at all stages of proceedings, the due process rights of respondents alleged to require involuntary outpatient care and patients who have been ordered to undergo involuntary outpatient care; (E) Establish routine communications between the probate court and providers of treatment and case management such that for each patient receiving involuntary outpatient care, the court receives the clinical information it needs to exercise its authority appropriately and providers can leverage all available resources in motivating the patient to engage with treatment; (F) Continually evaluate the appropriateness of each patient's individualized service plan throughout the period of involuntary outpatient care, and adjust the plan as warranted; (G) Employ specific protocols to respond appropriately and lawfully in the event of a failure of or noncompliance with involuntary outpatient care; (H) Partner with law enforcement agencies to provide an alternative to arrest, incarceration, and prosecution for individuals suspected or accused of criminal conduct who appear to qualify as outpatients pursuant to Code Section 37-3-1; (I) Clinically evaluate each patient receiving involuntary outpatient care at the end of the treatment period to determine whether it is appropriate to seek an additional period of involuntary outpatient care or assist the patient in transitioning to voluntary care; and (J) Ensure that upon transitioning to voluntary outpatient care at an appropriate juncture, each patient remains connected to the treatment services he or she continues to need to maintain stability and safety in the community. (3) 'Mental health or substance use disorder' means a mental illness or addictive disease. (4) 'Mental illness' has the same meaning as in Code Section 37-1-1.

37-1-121. The department shall establish and operate a grant program for the purpose of fostering the implementation and practice of assisted outpatient treatment in this state. The grant program shall aim to provide three years of funding, technical support, and oversight to five grantees, each comprising a collaboration between a community service board or private provider, a probate court or courts with jurisdiction in the corresponding service area, and a sheriff's office or offices with jurisdiction in the corresponding service area, which have demonstrated the ability with grant assistance to practice assisted outpatient treatment.

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Subject to appropriations, the funding, technical support, and oversight pursuant to the grant program shall commence no later than January 1, 2023, and shall terminate on December 31, 2025, or subject to the department's annual review of each grantee, whichever event shall first occur.

37-1-122. (a) No later than October 1, 2022, the department shall issue a funding opportunity announcement inviting any community service board or private provider, in partnership with a court or courts holding jurisdiction over probate matters in the corresponding service area, to submit a written application for funding pursuant to the assisted outpatient treatment grant program. (b) The department shall develop and disclose in the funding opportunity announcement:
(1) A numerical scoring rubric to evaluate applications, which shall include a minimum score an application must receive to be potentially eligible for funding; (2) A formula for determining the amount of funding for which a grantee shall be eligible, based on the size of the population to be served, consideration of existing resources, or both; (3) A minimum percentage of a grant award that must be directed, and a maximum percentage of a grant award that may be directed, for purposes of enhancing the community based mental health services and supports provided to recipients of assisted outpatient treatment; and (4) A minimum percentage of the total program budget that must be independently sourced by the applicant. (c) The funding opportunity announcement shall require each application to include, in addition to any other information the department may choose to require: (1) A detailed three-year program budget, including identification of the source or sources of the applicant's independent budget contribution; (2) A plan to identify and serve a population composed of persons meeting the following criteria, including the number of patients anticipated to participate in the program over the course of each year of grant support:
(A) The person is 18 years of age or older; (B) The person is suffering from a mental health or substance use disorder which has been clinically documented by a health care provider licensed to practice in Georgia; (C) There has been a clinical determination by a physician or psychologist that the person is unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision; (D) The person has a history of lack of compliance with treatment for his or her mental health or substance use disorder, in that at least one of the following is true:
(i) The person's mental health or substance use disorder has, at least twice within the previous 36 months, been a substantial factor in necessitating hospitalization or the receipt of services in a forensic or other mental health unit of a correctional facility,

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not including any period during which such person was hospitalized or incarcerated immediately preceding the filing of the petition; or (ii) The person's mental health or substance use disorder has resulted in one or more acts of serious and violent behavior toward himself or herself or others or threatens or attempts to cause serious physical injury to himself or herself or others within the preceding 48 months, not including any period in which such person was hospitalized or incarcerated immediately preceding the filing of the petition; (E) The person has been offered an opportunity to participate in a treatment plan by the department, a state mental health facility, a community service board, or a private provider under contract with the department and such person continues to fail to engage in treatment; (F) The person's condition is substantially deteriorating; (G) Participation in the assisted outpatient treatment program would be the least restrictive placement necessary to ensure such person's recovery and stability; (H) In view of the person's treatment history and current behavior, such person is in need of assisted outpatient treatment in order to prevent a relapse or deterioration that would likely result in grave disability or serious harm to himself or herself or others; and (I) It is likely that the person may benefit from assisted outpatient treatment. (3) For each element of assisted outpatient treatment, a statement of how the applicant proposes to incorporate such element into its own practice of assisted outpatient treatment; (4) A commitment by the applicant that it shall honor the provisions of any legally enforceable psychiatric advance directive of any person receiving involuntary outpatient treatment; (5) A description of the evidence based treatment services and case management model or models that the applicant proposes to utilize; (6) A description of any dedicated staff positions the applicant proposes to establish; (7) A letter of support from the sheriff of any county where the applicant proposes to provide assisted outpatient treatment; (8) A flowchart representing the proposed assisted outpatient treatment process, from initial case referral to transition to voluntary care; and (9) A description of the applicant's plans to establish a stakeholder workgroup, consisting of representatives of each of the agencies, entities, and communities deemed essential to the functioning of the assisted outpatient treatment program, for purposes of internal oversight and program improvement. (d) The department shall not provide direct assistance or direct guidance to any potential applicant in developing the content of an application. Any questions directed to the department from potential applicants concerning the grant application process or interpretation of the funding opportunity announcement may only be entertained at a live webinar announced in advance in the funding opportunity announcement and open to all

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potential applicants, or may be submitted in writing and answered on a webpage disclosed in the funding opportunity announcement and freely accessible to any potential applicant. (e) No later than December 31, 2022, the department shall publicly announce awards for funding support, subject to annual review, to the five applicants whose applications received the highest scores under the scoring rubric, provided that:
(1) The department shall seek to ensure, to the extent practical and consistent with other objectives, that at least three of the regions designated pursuant to Code Section 37-2-3 are represented among the five grantees. In pursuit of this goal, the department may in its discretion award a grant to a lower-scoring applicant over a higher-scoring applicant or may resolve a tie score in favor of an applicant that would increase regional diversity among the grantees; and (2) In no case shall a grant be awarded to an applicant whose application has failed to attain the minimum required score as stated in the funding opportunity announcement. This requirement shall take precedence in the event that it comes into conflict with the requirement that a total of five grants be awarded.

37-1-123. Throughout the term of the assisted outpatient treatment grant program, the department shall contract on an annual basis with an organization, entity, or consultant possessing expertise in the practice of assisted outpatient treatment to serve as a technical assistance provider to the grantees. Prior to the conclusion of each of the first two years of the assisted outpatient treatment grant program, the department, in consultation with the grantees, shall review the performance of the technical assistance provider and determine whether it is appropriate to seek to contract with the same technical assistance provider for the following year.

37-1-124. (a) Prior to the commencement of funding under the assisted outpatient grant program, the department shall contract with an independent organization, entity, or consultant possessing expertise in the evaluation of community based mental health programs and policy to evaluate:
(1) The effectiveness of the assisted outpatient grant program in reducing hospitalization and criminal justice interactions among vulnerable individuals with mental health or substance use disorders; (2) The cost-effectiveness of the assisted outpatient grant program, including its impact on spending within the public mental health system on the treatment of individuals receiving assisted outpatient treatment and spending within the criminal justice system on the arrest, incarceration, and prosecution of such individuals; (3) Differences in implementation of the assisted outpatient treatment model among the grantees and the impact of such differences on program outcomes;

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(4) The impact of the assisted outpatient grant program on the mental health system at large, including any unintended impacts; and (5) The perceptions of assisted outpatient treatment and its effectiveness among participating individuals, family members of participating individuals, mental health providers and program staff, and participating probate court judges. (b) As a condition for participation in the grant program, the department shall require each grantee to agree to share such program information and data with the contracted research organization, entity, or consultant as the department may require, and to make reasonable accommodations for such organization, entity, or consultant to have access to the grant site and individuals. The department shall further ensure that the contracted research organization, entity, or consultant is able to perform its functions consistent with all state and federal restrictions on the privacy of personal health information. (c) In contracting with the research organization, entity, or consultant, the department shall require such organization, entity, or consultant to submit a final report on the effectiveness of the assisted outpatient grant program to the Governor, the chairpersons of the House Committee on Health and Human Services and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination no later than December 31, 2025. The department may also require the organization, entity, or consultant to report interim or provisional findings to the department at earlier dates.

37-1-125. The department shall adopt and prescribe such rules and regulations as it deems necessary or appropriate to administer and carry out the grant program provided for in this article."

SECTION 3-2. Said title is further amended in Code Section 37-3-1, relating to definitions relative to examination and treatment for mental illness, by revising paragraph (12.1) as follows:
"(12.1) 'Outpatient' means a person who is mentally ill and: (A) Who is capable of surviving safely in the community with available resources or supervision from family, friends, or others; (B) Who, based on their psychiatric condition or history, is in need of treatment in order to prevent further disability or deterioration that would predictably result in dangerousness to self or others; and (C) Whose current mental status or the nature of their illness limits or negates their ability to make an informed decision to seek voluntarily or to comply with recommended treatment."

SECTION 3-3. Said title is further amended in Code Section 37-3-42, relating to emergency admission of persons arrested for penal offenses, report by officer, and entry of report into clinical record, by revising subsection (a) as follows:

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"(a)(1) A peace officer may take any person to a physician within the county or an adjoining county for emergency examination by the physician, as provided in Code Section 37-3-41, or directly to an emergency receiving facility if (i) the person is committing a penal offense, and (ii) the peace officer has probable cause for believing that the person is a mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment. The peace officer need not formally tender charges against the individual prior to taking the individual to a physician or an emergency receiving facility under this Code section. The peace officer shall execute a written report detailing the circumstances under which the person was taken into custody; and this report shall be made a part of the patient's clinical record. (2) A peace officer may take any person to an emergency receiving facility if: (i) the peace officer has probable cause to believe that the person is a mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment; and (ii) the peace officer has consulted either in-person or via telephone or telehealth with a physician, as provided in Code Section 37-3-41, and the physician authorizes the peace officer to transport the individual for an evaluation. To authorize transport for evaluation, the physician shall determine, based on facts available regarding the person's condition, including the report of the peace officer and the physician's communications with the person or witnesses, that there is probable cause to believe that the person needs an examination to determine if the person requires involuntary treatment. The peace officer shall execute a written report detailing the circumstances under which the person detained; and this report shall be made a part of the patient's clinical record."

SECTION 3-4. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 37-3-101, relating to transportation of patients generally, as follows:
"37-3-101. (a) The governing authority of the county where the patient is found or located shall arrange for initial emergency transport of a patient to an emergency receiving facility. Except as otherwise authorized under subsection (b) of this Code section, the governing authority of the county of the patient's residence shall arrange for all required transportation for mental health purposes subsequent to the initial transport. The type of vehicle employed shall be in the discretion of the governing authority of the county, provided that, whenever possible, marked vehicles normally used for the transportation of criminals or those accused of crimes shall not be used for the transportation of patients. The court shall, upon the request of the community mental health center, order the sheriff to transport the patient in such manner as the patient's condition demands. At any time the community mental health center is satisfied that the patient can be transported safely by family members or friends, such private transportation shall be encouraged and authorized. In nonemergency situations, no female patient shall be transported at any time without another female in attendance who is not a patient, unless such female patient is accompanied by her husband, father, adult brother, or adult son.

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(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section, when a patient is under the care of a facility, the facility shall have the discretion to determine the type of vehicle to safely transport the patient and to arrange for such transportation without the need to obtain the prior approval of the governing authority of the county of the patient's residence, the court, or the community mental health center. This subsection shall not prevent the facility from requesting and receiving transportation services from the governing authority of the county of the patient's residence and shall not relieve the county sheriff of the duty of providing transportation. Persons providing transportation are authorized to transport a patient from a sending facility to a receiving facility but shall not release the patient under any circumstances except into the custody of the receiving facility. The use of physical restraints to ensure the safe transport of the patient shall comply with the requirements of Code Section 37-3-165. When transportation is not provided by the county sheriff, the expense of such transportation shall not be billed to the county governing authority but may be billed to the patient and, unless agreed to in writing by the facility, shall not be billed to or considered an obligation of the facility. (c) Notwithstanding subsections (a) or (b) of this Code section, for initial transports to an emergency receiving facility initiated by a peace officer pursuant to Code Section 37-3-42, the emergency receiving facility shall coordinate all subsequent transports with the law enforcement agency employing such peace officer or a qualified private nonemergency transport provider or ambulance service."

SECTION 3-5. Said title is further amended in Code Section 37-7-1, relating to definitions relative to hospitalization and treatment of alcoholics, drug dependent individuals, and drug abusers, by revising paragraph (15.1) as follows:
"(15.1) 'Outpatient' means a person who is an alcoholic, drug dependent individual, or drug abuser and:
(A) Who is capable of surviving safely in the community with available resources or supervision from family, friends, or others; (B) Who, based on their mental condition or behavioral history, is in need of treatment in order to prevent further disability or deterioration that would predictably result in dangerousness to self or others; and (C) Whose current mental status or the nature of their addictive disease limits or negates their ability to make an informed decision to seek voluntarily or to comply with recommended treatment."

SECTION 3-6. Said title is further amended in Code Section 37-7-42, relating to emergency admission of persons arrested for penal offenses, report by officer, and entry of report into clinical record, by revising subsection (a) as follows:

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"(a)(1) A peace officer may take any person to a physician within the county or an adjoining county for emergency examination by the physician, as provided in Code Section 37-7-41, or directly to an emergency receiving facility if the person is committing a penal offense and the peace officer has probable cause for believing that the person is an alcoholic, a drug dependent individual, or a drug abuser requiring involuntary treatment. The peace officer need not formally tender charges against the individual prior to taking the individual to a physician or an emergency receiving facility under this Code section. The peace officer shall execute a written report detailing the circumstances under which the person was taken into custody; and this report shall be made a part of the patient's clinical record. (2) A peace officer may take any person to an emergency receiving facility if: (i) the peace officer has probable cause to believe that the person is an alcoholic, a drug dependent individual, or a drug abuser requiring involuntary treatment; and (ii) the peace officer has consulted either in-person or via telephone or telehealth with a physician, as provided in Code Section 37-7-41, and the physician authorizes the peace officer to transport the individual for an evaluation. To authorize transport for evaluation, the physician shall determine, based on facts available regarding the person's condition, including the report of the peace officer and the physician's communications with the person or witnesses, that there is probable cause to believe that the person needs an examination to determine if the person requires involuntary treatment. The peace officer shall execute a written report detailing the circumstances under which the person detained; and this report shall be made a part of the patient's clinical record."

SECTION 3-7. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 37-7-101, relating to transportation of patients generally, as follows:
"37-7-101. (a) The governing authority of the county where the patient is found or located shall arrange for initial emergency transport of the patient to an emergency receiving facility. Except as otherwise authorized under subsection (b) of this Code section, the governing authority of the county of the patient's residence shall arrange for all required transportation for mental health purposes subsequent to the initial transport. The type of vehicle employed shall be in the discretion of the governing authority of the county, provided that, whenever possible, marked vehicles normally used for the transportation of criminals or those accused of crimes shall not be used for the transportation of patients. The court shall, upon the request of the community mental health center, order the sheriff to transport the patient in such manner as the patient's condition demands. At any time the community mental health center is satisfied that the patient can be transported safely by family members or friends, such private transportation shall be encouraged and authorized. In nonemergency situations, no female patient shall be transported at any time without another

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female in attendance who is not a patient, unless such female patient is accompanied by her husband, father, adult brother, or adult son. (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section, when a patient is under the care of a facility, the facility shall have the discretion to determine the type of vehicle to safely transport the patient and to arrange for such transportation without the need to obtain the prior approval of the governing authority of the county of the patient's residence, the court, or the community mental health center. This subsection shall not prevent the facility from requesting and receiving transportation services from the governing authority of the county of the patient's residence and shall not relieve the county sheriff of the duty of providing transportation. Persons providing transportation are authorized to transport a patient from a sending facility to a receiving facility but shall not release the patient under any circumstances except into the custody of the receiving facility. The use of physical restraints to ensure the safe transport of the patient shall comply with Code Section 37-7-165. When transportation is not provided by the county sheriff, the expense of such transportation shall not be billed to the county governing authority but may be billed to the patient and, unless agreed to in writing by the facility, shall not be billed to or considered an obligation of the facility. (c) Notwithstanding subsections (a) or (b) of this Code section, for initial transports to an emergency receiving facility initiated by a peace officer pursuant to Code Section 37-7-42, the emergency receiving facility shall coordinate all subsequent transports with the law enforcement agency employing such peace officer or a qualified private nonemergency transport provider or ambulance service."

PART IV Mental Health Courts and Corrections
SECTION 4-1.

Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to courts, is amended by adding a new Code section to Chapter 1, relating to general provisions, to read as follows:
"15-1-23. (a) As used in this Code section, the term 'accountability court' has the same meaning as in Code Section 15-1-18. (b) Subject to appropriations, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council shall establish a grant program for the provision of funds to accountability courts that serve the mental health and co-occurring substance use disorder population to facilitate the implementation of trauma-informed treatment. (c) The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council shall designate an employee to provide technical assistance to accountability courts. Such technical assistance shall include, but not be limited to, assistance interpreting data analysis reports to better identify and serve the mental health population."

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SECTION 4-2. Said title is further amended by revising subsection (b) of Code Section 15-21-101, relating to collection of fines and authorized expenditures of funds from County Drug Abuse Treatment and Education Fund, as follows:
"(b) Moneys collected pursuant to this article and placed in the 'County Drug Abuse Treatment and Education Fund' shall be expended by the governing authority of the county for which the fund is established solely and exclusively:
(1) For drug abuse treatment and education programs relating to controlled substances, alcohol, and marijuana for adults and children; (2) If a drug court division has been established in the county under Code Section 15-1-15, for purposes of the drug court division; (3) If an operating under the influence court division has been established in the county under Code Section 15-1-19, for the purposes of the operating under the influence court division; (4) If a family treatment court division has been established in the county under Code Section 15-11-70, for the purposes of the family treatment court division; and (5) If a mental health court division has been established in the county under Code Section 15-1-16 that also serves participants with co-occurring substance use disorders, for the purposes of the mental health court division."

SECTION 4-3. Article 1 of Chapter 53 of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions regarding the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination, is amended by revising Code Section 31-53-3, relating to the establishment of the office and its powers and duties, as follows:
"31-53-3. (a) There is established within the office of the Governor the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination. The objective of the office shall be to strengthen and support the health care infrastructure of the state through interconnecting health functions and sharing resources across multiple state agencies and overcoming barriers to the coordination of health functions, including overseeing coordination of mental health policy and behavioral health services across state agencies. To this end, all affected state agencies shall cooperate with the office in its efforts to meet such objective. This shall not be construed to authorize the office to perform any function currently performed by an affected state agency. (b) The office shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) Bring together experts from academic institutions and industries as well as state elected and appointed leaders to provide a forum to share information, coordinate the major functions of the state's health care system, and develop innovative approaches for lowering costs while improving access to quality care;

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(2) Serve as a forum for identifying Georgia's specific health issues of greatest concern and promote cooperation from both public and private agencies to test new and innovative ideas; (3) Evaluate the effectiveness of previously enacted and ongoing health programs and determine how best to achieve the goals of promoting innovation, competition, cost reduction, and access to care, and improving Georgia's health care system, attracting new providers, and expanding access to services by existing providers; (4) Facilitate collaboration and coordination between state agencies, including, but not limited to, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Community Health, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Education, the Department of Early Care and Learning, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Community Supervision; (5) Evaluate prescription costs and make recommendations to public employee insurance programs, departments, and governmental entities for prescription formulary design and cost reduction strategies and create a comprehensive unified formulary for mental health and substance use disorder prescriptions under Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids, and a comprehensive unified formulary for mental health and substance use disorder prescriptions for the state health benefit plan no later than December 1, 2022; (6) Maximize the effectiveness of existing resources, expertise, and opportunities for improvement; (7) Review existing State Health Benefit Plan contracts, Medicaid care management organization contracts, and other contracts entered into by the state for health related services, evaluate proposed revisions to the State Health Benefit Plan, and make recommendations to the Department of Community Health prior to renewing or entering into new contracts; (8) Coordinate state health care functions and programs and identify opportunities to maximize federal funds for health care programs; (9) Oversee collaborative health efforts to ensure efficient use of funds secured at the federal, state, regional, and local levels; (10) Evaluate community proposals that identify local needs and formulate local or regional solutions that address state, local, or regional health care gaps; (11) Monitor established agency pilot programs for effectiveness; (12) Identify nationally recognized effective evidence based strategies; (13) Propose cost reduction measures; (14) Provide a platform for data distribution compiled by the boards, commissions, committees, councils, and offices listed in Code Section 31-53-7; (15) Assess the health metrics of the state and recommend models for improvement which may include healthy behavior and social determinant models;

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(16) Develop solutions to the systemic barriers or problems impeding the delivery of behavioral health services by making recommendations that address funding, policy changes, practice changes; establish specific goals designed to improve the delivery of behavioral health services, increase behavioral health access and outcome for individuals, including children, adolescents, and adults served by various state agencies; (17) Focus on specific goals designed to resolve issues relative to the provision of behavioral health services that negatively impact individuals, including children, adolescents, and adults served by various state agencies; (18) Monitor and evaluate the implementation of established goals and recommendations to improve behavioral health access across prevention, intervention, and treatment; (19) Establish common outcome measures that are to be utilized for and represented in evaluation and progress of various state agencies that manage and oversee mental health services; (20) Partner with the Department of Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice to provide ongoing evaluation of mental health wraparound services and connectivity to local mental health resources to meet the needs of clients in the state reentry plan; (21) Partner with the Department of Community Supervision to evaluate the ability to share mental health data between state and local agencies, such as community service boards and the Department of Community Supervision, to assist state and local agencies in identifying and treating those under community supervision who are also receiving community based mental health services; (22) Partner with community service boards to ensure that behavioral health services are made available and provided to children, adolescents, and adults through direct services, contracted services, or collaboration with state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and colleges and universities, as appropriate, utilizing any available state and federal funds or grants; and (23) Centralizing the ongoing and comprehensive planning, policy, and strategy development across state agencies, Medicaid care management organizations and fee for service providers, and private insurance partners. (c)(1) The office shall examine methods to increase access to certified peer specialists in rural and other underserved or unserved communities and identify any impediments to such access. Such examination shall include strategies to expand training for certified peer specialists to promote long-term recovery for individuals with substance use disorder. (2) The office shall examine the option of fully implementing certain requirements under the federal SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, P.L. 115-271, regarding youth in the juvenile justice system to allow for successful transition to community services upon release. (d)(1) The office shall conduct a survey or study on the transport of individuals to and from emergency receiving, evaluation, and treatment facilities pursuant to Chapters 3 and 7 of Title 37. Such survey or study shall identify what method of transport is used

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in each county of the state, such as the sheriff, a law enforcement agency, a private nonemergency transport provider, or an ambulance service. Such survey or study shall be completed, compiled into a report, and provided to the General Assembly and the Governor no later than January 1, 2023. (2) This subsection shall stand repealed by operation of law on January 1, 2023."

SECTION 4-4. Title 35 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to law enforcement officers and agencies, is amended in Code Section 35-5-2, relating to board authorized to establish, operate, and maintain center and powers of board as to selection and compensation of administrator, by revising paragraph (1) of subsection (a) as follows:
"(1) To establish, operate, and maintain the Georgia Public Safety Training Center for the purpose of providing facilities and programs for the training of state and local law enforcement officers, firefighters, correctional personnel, emergency medical personnel, behavioral health co-responders, and others; and"

SECTION 4-5. Said title is further amended in Code Section 35-5-5, relating to center available for use by certain personnel, fees, enrollment, authorization for expenditure of funds, and powers and duties, by revising subsection (d) as follows:
"(d) Subject to such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by the board, the Georgia Public Safety Training Center shall have the following powers and duties in connection with the training of peace officers, emergency medical personnel, behavioral health co-responders, and law enforcement support personnel:
(1) To train instructors authorized to conduct training of peace officers, emergency medical personnel, behavioral health co-responders, and law enforcement support personnel; (2) To reimburse or provide for certain costs incurred in training peace officers, emergency medical personnel, behavioral health co-responders, and law enforcement support personnel employed or appointed by each agency, organ, or department of this state, counties, and municipalities to the extent that funds are appropriated for such purpose by the General Assembly. In the event sufficient funds are not appropriated for a fiscal year to fund the full cost provided for in this paragraph, then the amount which would otherwise be payable shall be reduced pro rata on the basis of the funds actually appropriated. As used in this paragraph, the terms 'cost' and 'costs' shall not include travel or salaries of personnel undergoing training and shall be limited exclusively to the cost of tuition, meals, and lodging which are incurred in connection with such training; (3) To expend funds appropriated or otherwise available to the center for paying the costs of training provided under subsection (a) of Code Section 35-8-20, other than travel expenses and salaries of police chiefs or department heads of law enforcement units and wardens of state institutions undergoing training, and shall expend such funds

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for purposes of compensating a training officer to administer the course of training and conduct any business associated with the training provisions of said Code Section 35-8-20; (4) To expend funds appropriated or otherwise available to the center for paying the costs of training provided for under subsection (a) of Code Section 35-8-20.1, other than travel expenses and salaries of police chiefs or department heads of law enforcement units undergoing training, and shall expend such funds for purposes of compensating a training officer to administer the course of training and conduct any business associated with the training provisions of said Code Section 35-8-20.1; (5) To expend funds appropriated or otherwise available to the center for paying the costs of training provided for under Chapter 11 of Title 31 for the initial certification training and continued training as needed by emergency medical personnel and shall expend such funds for purposes of compensating a training officer to administer the course of training and conduct any business associated with the training provisions of said chapter; and (6) To administer and coordinate the training for communications officers with respect to the requirements of Code Section 35-8-23. The board shall be authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to facilitate the administration and coordination of training consistent with the provisions of said Code Section 35-8-23. The tuition costs of the training of communications officers shall be paid from funds appropriated to the center."

SECTION 4-6. Said title is further amended by adding a new Code section to Chapter 6A, relating to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, to read as follows:
"35-6A-15. Subject to appropriations, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council shall establish a grant program for the provision of funds to units of local government to be used for costs associated with transporting individuals to and from emergency receiving, evaluating, and treatment facilities as such terms are defined in Chapters 3 and 7 of Title 37."

SECTION 4-7. Title 37 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to mental health, is amended by adding a new Code section to Chapter 1, relating to governing and regulation of mental health, to read as follows:
"37-1-7. The state shall provide funding for a minimum of five new co-responder programs established pursuant to Title 37. Each such program shall have a minimum of one co-responder team."

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SECTION 4-8. Said title is further amended by adding a new Code section to Article 6 of Chapter 1, relating to the Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission, to read as follows:
"37-1-115.1. The Mental Health Courts and Corrections Subcommittee of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission shall continue its exploration of community supervision strategies for individuals with mental illnesses, including:
(1) Exploring opportunities to expand access to mental health specialized caseloads to reach a larger share of the supervision population with mental health needs, including prioritizing equitable access to specialized caseloads; (2) Assessing the quality of mental health supervision and adherence to evidence based standards to determine how mental health supervision could be improved and identifying services, supports, and training that could equip law enforcement officers to more successfully engage with and reduce recidivism for individuals on community supervision; (3) Assessing the availability of mental health treatment providers by supervision region to estimate accessability to treatment across the state; and (4) Tracking qualitative and quantitative metrics on the outcomes of any changes made to community supervision strategies for individuals with mental illness to determine the effectiveness of such strategies."

SECTION 4-9. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 37-2-4, relating to the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council, membership, meetings, and obligations, as follows:
"37-2-4. (a) There is created the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council. The council shall consist of the commissioner of behavioral health and developmental disabilities; the commissioner of early care and learning; the commissioner of community health; the commissioner of public health; the commissioner of human services; the commissioner of juvenile justice; the commissioner of corrections; the commissioner of community supervision; the commissioner of community affairs; the commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia; the Commissioner of Labor; the State School Superintendent; the chairperson of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles; a behavioral health expert employed by the University System of Georgia, designated by the chancellor of the university system; two members, appointed by the Governor; the ombudsman appointed pursuant to Code Section 37-2-32; the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children; an expert on early childhood mental health, appointed by the Governor; an expert on child and adolescent health, appointed by the Governor; a pediatrician, appointed by the Governor; an adult consumer of public behavioral health services, appointed by the Governor; a family member of a consumer of public behavioral health services, appointed by the Governor; a parent of a child receiving public behavioral health services, appointed by the Governor;

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a member of the House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and a member of the Senate, appointed by the Lieutenant Governor. (b) The commissioner of behavioral health and developmental disabilities shall be the chairperson of the council. A vice chairperson and a secretary shall be selected by the members of the council from among its members as prescribed in the council's bylaws. (c) Meetings of the council shall be held quarterly, or more frequently, on the call of the chairperson. Meetings of the council shall be held with no less than five days' public notice for regular meetings and with such notice as the bylaws may prescribe for special meetings. Each member shall be given written or electronic notice of all meetings. All meetings of the council shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 14 of Title 50. Minutes or transcripts shall be kept of all meetings of the council and shall include a record of the votes of each member, specifying the yea or nay vote or absence of each member, on all questions and matters coming before the council, and minutes or transcripts of each meeting shall be posted on the state agency website of each council member designee. No member may abstain from a vote other than for reasons constituting disqualification to the satisfaction of a majority of a quorum of the council on a recorded vote. No member of the council shall be represented by a delegate or agent. Any member who misses three duly posted meetings of the council over the course of a calendar year shall be replaced by an appointee of the Governor unless the council chairperson officially excuses each such absence. (d) Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, a majority of the members of the council then in office shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. No vacancy on the council shall impair the right of the quorum to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the council. The vote of a majority of the members of the council present at the time of the vote, if a quorum is present at such time, shall be the act of the council unless the vote of a greater number is required by law or by the bylaws of the council. (e) The council shall:
(1) Develop solutions to the systemic barriers or problems to the delivery of behavioral health services by making recommendations in writing and publicly available that implement funding, policy changes, practice changes, and evaluation of specific goals designed to improve delivery of behavioral health services, increase access to behavioral health services, and improve outcome for individuals, including children, adolescents, and adults, served by the various departments; (2) Focus on specific goals designed to resolve issues for provision of behavioral health services that negatively impact individuals, including children, adolescents, and adults, serviced by the various departments; (3) Monitor and evaluate the implementation of established goals and recommendations; and (4) Establish common outcome measures that are to be utilized for and represented in the annual report to the council.

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(f)(1) The council shall consult with various entities, including state agencies, councils, and advisory committees and other advisory groups as deemed appropriate by the council. (2) All state departments, agencies, boards, bureaus, commissions, and authorities are authorized and required to make available to the council access to records or data which are available in electronic format or, if electronic format is unavailable, in whatever format is available. The judicial and legislative branches are authorized to likewise provide such access to the council. (g) The council shall be attached to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities for administrative purposes only as provided by Code Section 50-4-3. (h)(1) The council shall submit annual reports no later than October 1 of its recommendations and evaluation of its implementation and any recommendations for funding to the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination, the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Lieutenant Governor. (2) The recommendations developed by the council and the annual reports of the council shall be presented to the board of each member department for approval or review at least annually at a publicly scheduled meeting. (i) For purposes of this Code section, the term 'behavioral health services' has the same meaning as 'disability services' as defined in Code Section 37-1-1."

PART V Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health
SECTION 5-1.

Title 37 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to mental health, is amended by revising Code Section 37-1-20, relating to obligations of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, as follows:
"37-1-20. The department shall:
(1) Establish, administer, and supervise the state programs for mental health, developmental disabilities, and addictive diseases; (2) Direct, supervise, and control the medical and physical care and treatment; recovery; and social, employment, housing, and community supports and services based on single or co-occurring diagnoses provided by the institutions, contractors, and programs under its control, management, or supervision; (3) Plan for and implement the coordination of mental health, developmental disability, and addictive disease services with physical health services, and the prevention of any of these diseases or conditions, and develop and promulgate rules and regulations to require that all health services be coordinated and that the public and private providers of any of these services that receive state support notify other providers of services to the same

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patients of the conditions, treatment, and medication regimens each provider is prescribing and delivering; (4) Ensure that providers of mental health, developmental disability, or addictive disease services coordinate with providers of primary and specialty health care so that treatment of conditions of the brain and the body can be integrated to promote recovery, health, and well-being; (5) Have authority to contract, including performance based contracts which may include financial incentives or consequences based on the results achieved by a contractor as measured by output, quality, or outcome measures, for services with community service boards, private agencies, and other public entities for the provision of services within a service area so as to provide an adequate array of services and choice of providers for consumers and to comply with the applicable federal laws and rules and regulations related to public or private hospitals; hospital authorities; medical schools and training and educational institutions; departments and agencies of this state; county or municipal governments; any person, partnership, corporation, or association, whether public or private; and the United States government or the government of any other state; (6) Establish and support programs for the training of professional and technical personnel as well as regional advisory councils and community service boards; (7) Have authority to conduct research into the causes and treatment of disability and into the means of effectively promoting mental health and addictive disease recovery; (8) Assign specific responsibility to one or more units of the department for the development of a disability prevention program. The objectives of such program shall include, but are not limited to, monitoring of completed and ongoing research related to the prevention of disability, implementation of programs known to be preventive, and testing, where practical, of those measures having a substantive potential for the prevention of disability; (9) Establish a system for local administration of mental health, developmental disability, and addictive disease services in institutions and in the community; (10) Make and administer budget allocations to fund the operation of mental health, developmental disabilities, and addictive diseases facilities and programs; (11) Coordinate in consultation with providers, professionals, and other experts the development of appropriate outcome measures for client centered service delivery systems; (12) Establish, operate, supervise, and staff programs and facilities for the treatment of disabilities throughout this state; (13) Disseminate information about available services and the facilities through which such services may be obtained; (14) Supervise the local office's exercise of its responsibility concerning funding and delivery of disability services;

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(15) Supervise the local offices concerning the administration of grants, gifts, moneys, and donations for purposes pertaining to mental health, developmental disabilities, and addictive diseases; (16) Supervise the administration of contracts with any hospital, community service board, or any public or private providers without regard to regional or state boundaries for the provision of disability services and in making and entering into all contracts necessary or incidental to the performance of the duties and functions of the department and the local offices; (17) Regulate the delivery of care, including behavioral interventions and medication administration by licensed staff, or certified staff as determined by the department, within residential settings serving only persons who are receiving services authorized or financed, in whole or in part, by the department; (18) Classify host homes for persons whose services are financially supported, in whole or in part, by funds authorized through the department. As used in this Code section, the term 'host home' means a private residence in a residential area in which the occupant owner or lessee provides housing and provides or arranges for the provision of food, one or more personal services, supports, care, or treatment exclusively for one or two persons who are not related to the occupant owner or lessee by blood or marriage. A host home shall be occupied by the owner or lessee, who shall not be an employee of the same community provider which provides the host home services by contract with the department. The department shall approve and enter into agreements with community providers which, in turn, contract with host homes. The occupant owner or lessee shall not be the guardian of any person served or of their property nor the agent in such person's advance directive for health care. The placement determination for each person placed in a host home shall be made according to such person's choice as well as the individual needs of such person in accordance with the requirements of Code Section 37-3-162, 37-4-122, or 37-7-162, as applicable to such person; (19) Provide guidelines for and oversight of host homes, which may include, but not be limited to, criteria to become a host home, requirements relating to physical plants and supports, placement procedures, and ongoing oversight requirements; (20) Supervise the regular visitation of disability services facilities and programs in order to assure contracted providers are licensed and accredited by the designated agencies prescribed by the department, and in order to evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the services, as such services relate to the health, safety, and welfare of service recipients, and to provide technical assistance to programs in delivering services; (21) Establish a unit of the department which shall receive and consider complaints from individuals receiving services, make recommendations to the commissioner regarding such complaints, and ensure that the rights of individuals receiving services are fully protected. No later than October 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, such unit shall provide

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to the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination annual reports regarding such complaints; (22) With respect to housing opportunities for persons with mental illness and co-occurring disorders:
(A) Coordinate the department's programs and services with other state agencies and housing providers; (B) Facilitate partnerships with local communities; (C) Educate the public on the need for supportive housing; (D) Collect information on the need for supportive housing and monitor the benefit of such housing; (E) Identify and determine best practices for the provision of services connected to housing; and (F) No later than October 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, provide to the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination an annual status report regarding successful housing placements and unmet housing needs for the previous year and anticipated housing needs for the upcoming year; (23) Exercise all powers and duties provided for in this title or which may be deemed necessary to effectuate the purposes of this title; (24) Assign specific responsibility to one or more units of the department for the development of programs designed to serve disabled infants, children, and youth. To the extent permitted by law, such units shall cooperate with the Georgia Department of Education, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Early Care and Learning, the Department of Public Health, and community service boards in developing such programs. No later than October 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, such department shall provide to the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination annual reports regarding such programs; (25) Have the right to designate private institutions as state institutions; to contract with such private institutions for such activities, in carrying out this title, as the department may deem necessary from time to time; and to exercise such supervision and cooperation in the operation of such designated private institutions as the department may deem necessary; (26) Establish policies and procedures governing fiscal standards and practices of community service boards and their respective governing boards and no later than October 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, provide to the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination annual reports regarding the performance and fiscal status of each community service board; (27) Coordinate the establishment and operation of a data base and network to serve as a comprehensive management information system for behavioral health, addictive diseases, and disability services and programs; and

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(28) Establish the Multi-Agency Treatment for Children (MATCH) team within the department. The state MATCH team shall be composed of representatives from the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Services; the Department of Juvenile Justice; the Department of Early Care and Learning; the Department of Public Health; the Department of Community Health; the department; the Department of Education; the Office of the Child Advocate, and the Department of Corrections. The chairperson of the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council or his or her designee shall serve as the chairperson of the state MATCH team. The state MATCH team shall facilitate collaboration across state agencies to explore resources and solutions for complex and unmet treatment needs for children in this state and to provide for solutions, including both public and private providers, as necessary. The state MATCH team will accept referrals from local interagency children's committees throughout Georgia for children with complex treatment needs not met through the resources of their local community and custodians. The state agencies and entities represented on the state MATCH team shall coordinate with each other and take all reasonable steps necessary to provide for collaboration and coordination to facilitate the purpose of the state MATCH team."

SECTION 5-2. Said title is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 37-2-6, relating to community service board creation, membership, participation of counties, transfer of powers and duties, alternate method of establishment, bylaws, and reprisals prohibited, as follows:
"(a) Community service boards in existence on June 30, 2014, are re-created effective July 1, 2014, to provide mental health, developmental disabilities, and addictive diseases services to children and adults. Such community service boards may enroll and contract with the department, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Public Health, or the Department of Community Health to become a provider of mental health, developmental disabilities, and addictive diseases services or health, recovery, housing, or other supportive services for children and adults. Such boards shall be considered public agencies. Each community service board shall be a public corporation and an instrumentality of the state; provided, however, that the liabilities, debts, and obligations of a community service board shall not constitute liabilities, debts, or obligations of the state or any county or municipal corporation and neither the state nor any county or municipal corporation shall be liable for any liability, debt, or obligation of a community service board. Each community service board re-created pursuant to this Code section is created for nonprofit and public purposes to exercise essential governmental functions. The re-creation of community service boards pursuant to this Code section shall not alter the provisions of Code Section 37-2-6.2 which shall apply to those re-created community service boards and their employees covered by that Code section and those employees' rights are retained."

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SECTION 5-3. Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to social services, is amended in Article 7 of Chapter 4, relating to medical assistance generally, by revising subsection (b) of Code Section 49-5-24, relating to interagency efforts to gather and share comprehensive data, legislative findings, state-wide system for sharing data regarding care and protection of children, interagency data protocol; interagency agreements, and waivers from certain federal regulations, as follows:
"(b) No later than October 1, 2024, the department, working with the following agencies, shall develop and implement a workable state-wide system for sharing data relating to the care and protection of children between such agencies, utilizing existing state-wide data bases and data delivery systems to the greatest extent possible, to streamline access to such data:
(1) Division of Family and Children Services of the department; (2) Department of Early Care and Learning; (3) Department of Community Health; (4) Department of Public Health; (5) Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities; (6) Department of Juvenile Justice; (7) Department of Education; and (8) Georgia Crime Information Center. Each such agency shall provide information in written or electronic format as may be requested by the department."

PART VI Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission
SECTION 6-1.

Chapter 2 of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Department of Community Health, is amended by adding new Code sections to read as follows:
"31-2-17. (a) The department shall undertake a study of the following:
(1) Comparison of reimbursement rates for mental health services under Medicaid, PeachCare for Kids, and the state health benefit plan with other states; (2) Reimbursement for health care providers providing mental health care services under Medicaid, PeachCare for Kids, and the state health benefit plan and comparison with other states; (3) Reimbursement for hospitals caring for uninsured patients with mental health and substance abuse disorders in the emergency department for extended periods of time while the patient is waiting on placement and transfer to a behavioral health facility for evaluation and treatment;

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(4) An accurate accounting of mental health fund distribution across state agencies, including, but not limited to, the department, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Juvenile Justice; (5) Medical necessity denials for adolescent mental and behavioral health services; and (6) Implementation of coordinated health care for any child who enters foster care such that Medicaid claims data shall be shared immediately with the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Services. (b) The department shall complete such study and submit its findings and recommendations to the Governor, General Assembly, the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination, and the Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission no later than December 31, 2022. (c) This Code section shall stand repealed in its entirety by operation of law on December 31, 2022."

SECTION 6-2. Title 37 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to mental health, is amended by adding a new Code section to Article 6 of Chapter 1, relating to the Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission, to read as follows:
"37-1-114.1. The commission shall be authorized to:
(1) Collaborate with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities regarding the assisted outpatient treatment program to develop fidelity protocols for grantees and a training and education program for use by the grantees to train and educate staff, community partners, and others; and provide consultation to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities in the selection of an organization, entity, or consultant to perform research pursuant to Code Section 37-1-126 and in the development of rules and regulations pursuant to Code Section 37-1-127; (2) Coordinate initiatives to assist local communities in keeping people with serious mental illness out of county and municipal jails and detention facilities, including juvenile detention and, facilitated by nationally recognized experts, to improve outcomes for individuals who have frequent contact with criminal justice, homeless, and behavioral health systems, termed 'familiar faces,' including, but not limited to:
(A) Serving as liaison to state and local leaders to inform policy and funding priorities; (B) Developing a shared definition of 'serious mental illness' in consultation with relevant mental health, judicial, and law enforcement officials and experts; (C) Exploring funding options to implement universal screening upon admission into a county or municipal jail or detention facility; (D) Developing proposed state guidelines, tools, and templates to facilitate sharing of information among state and local entities compliant with state and federal privacy laws;

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(E) Adopting recommendations to promote the use of pre-arrest diversion strategies that reduce revocations and reduce unnecessary contact with the justice system; (F) Developing a shared definition for 'high utilization' in consultation with relevant behavioral health and criminal justice experts; (G) Implementing improvements to data sharing across and between local and state agencies; (H) Improving strategies to refer and connect individuals to needed community based health and social services, including addressing gaps in continuity of care; (I) Expanding the use of and support for forensic peer monitors; and (J) Analyzing best practices to address and ameliorate the increase in chronic homelessness among persons with behavioral health and substance abuse disorder, particularly the challenges of unsheltered homelessness, and formulating recommendations for policies and funding to address such issues, considering the best practices of other states and the permissible use of all available funding sources; (3) Convene representatives from care management organizations, pediatric primary care physicians, family medicine physicians, pediatric hospitals, pharmacy benefits managers, other insurers, experts on early childhood mental health, and pediatric mental health and substance use disorder care professionals to examine: (A) How to develop and implement a mechanism for Georgia's managed care program for children, youth, and young adults in foster care, children and youth receiving adoption assistance, and select youth involved in the juvenile justice system to meet the mental and behavioral health needs of such children, youth, and young adults; (B) How to develop and implement a mechanism to provide adoptive caregivers with the support necessary to meet the mental and behavioral health needs of children and adolescents for the first 12 months after finalization of adoption; (C) Best practices, potential cost savings, decreased administrative burdens, increased transparency regarding prescription drug costs, and impact on turnover on the mental health and substance use disorder professionals workforce; and (D) Best practices for community mental health and substance use disorder services reimbursement, including payment structures and rates that cover the cost of service provision for outpatient care, high-fidelity wraparound services, and therapeutic foster care homes, within the bounds of federal regulatory guidance; and (4) Establish advisory committees to evaluate specific issues, including: (A) Identifying methods to create pathways of care, including physical, behavioral, and dental health care, for children and adolescents, regardless of an individual's specific insurance carrier or insurance coverage; and (B) Developing and recommending a solution to ensure appropriate health care services and supports, including better care coordination, for pediatric patients residing in this state who have mental health or substance use disorders and who have had high utilization of emergency departments, crisis services, or psychiatric residential treatment facilities, for the purpose of streamlining care, improving outcomes, reducing

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return visits to emergency departments, and assisting case managers and clinicians in providing safe treatment while reducing fragmentation."

SECTION 6-3. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 37-1-116, relating to abolishment and
termination of the Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission, as follows: "37-1-116. The commission shall be abolished and this article shall stand repealed on June 30, 2025."

SECTION 6-4. Part 3 of Article 4 of Chapter 12 of Title 45 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Georgia Data Analytic Center, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"45-12-154.1. The administrator of the GDAC Project shall prepare an annual unified report regarding complaints filed for suspected violations of mental health parity laws. Such annual unified report shall comprise data received from the Department of Insurance pursuant to subsection (g) of Code Section 33-1-27 and data received from the Department of Community Health pursuant to subsection (g) of Code Section 33-21A-13. Such annual unified report shall be completed and made publicly available beginning April 1, 2024, and annually thereafter."

SECTION 6-5. Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to social services, is amended in Article 7 of Chapter 4, relating to medical assistance generally, by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"49-4-152.6. (a) The department shall provide Medicaid coverage for any prescription drug prescribed to an adult patient and determined by a duly licensed practitioner in this state to be medically necessary for the treatment and prevention of mood disorders with psychotic symptoms, including, but not limited to, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and schizotypal, or delusion disorders if:
(1) During the preceding year, the patient was prescribed and unsuccessfully treated with a preferred or generic drug; or (2) The patient has previously been prescribed and obtained prior approval for the nonpreferred prescribed drug. (b) If necessary to implement the provisions of this Code section, the department shall submit a Medicaid state plan amendment or waiver request to the United States Department of Health and Human Services."

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PART VII Repealer SECTION 7-1.

All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 4, 2022.

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GENERAL PROVISIONS GEORGIA PUBLIC SAFETY WEEK.

No. 588 (House Bill No. 1335).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 4 of Title 1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to holidays and observances, so as to revise the public and legal holidays recognized and observed by the State of Georgia; to provide for Public Safety Week; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 4 of Title 1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to holidays and observances, is amended by revising subsections (a) and (b) of Code Section 1-4-1, relating to public and legal holidays and leave for observance of religious holidays not specifically provided for, as follows:
"(a) The State of Georgia shall recognize and observe as public and legal holidays: (1) All days which have been designated as of January 1, 2022, as public and legal holidays by the federal government; and (2) All other days designated and proclaimed by the Governor as public and legal holidays or as days of fasting and prayer or other religious observance. In such designation, the Governor shall include at least one of the following dates: January 19, April 26, or June 3, or a suitable date in lieu thereof to commemorate the event or events now observed by such dates.
(b) The Governor shall close all state offices and facilities a minimum of 13 days throughout the year and not more than 13 days in observance of the public and legal holidays and other days set forth in subsection (a) of this Code section and shall specify the days state offices and facilities shall be closed for such observances."

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SECTION 2.
Said chapter is further amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows: "1-4-25. The week in September during which September 11 falls every year is designated 'Public Safety Week' in Georgia."

SECTION 3. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 4, 2022.

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CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES CRIMES AND OFFENSES GAME AND FISH MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC REVISES
PROVISIONS REGARDING USE OR POSSESSION OF HANDGUN IN PARK, HISTORIC SITE, OR RECREATIONAL AREA; REVISES PROVISIONS REGARDING CARRYING OF FIREARMS AND APPLICATION FOR WEAPONS CARRY LICENSE.

No. 596 (Senate Bill No. 319).

AN ACT

To amend Article 1 of Chapter 3 of Title 12 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions regarding parks, historic areas, memorials, and recreation, so as to revise provisions of law regarding the use or possession of any handgun in a park, historic site, or recreational area; to amend Part 3 of Article 4 of Chapter 11 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to carrying and possession of firearms, so as to provide a definition; to revise provisions of law regarding the carrying of firearms; to provide for applications for a weapons carry license or renewal of such license; to amend Part 2 of Article 4 of Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to transportation passenger safety, so as to revise provisions of law regarding the carrying of firearms; to amend Title 27 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to game and fish, so as to revise certain laws regarding the carrying of firearms; to amend Part 2 of Article 10 of Chapter 6 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to parking for persons with disabilities, so as to revise certain laws regarding the

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carrying of firearms; to provide for a short title; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the "Chairman John Meadows Act."

SECTION 2. The General Assembly finds and determines that:
(1) The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution recognizes the right of the people to keep and bear arms and that such right shall not be infringed; and (2) The people of this state, to perpetuate the principles of free government, insure justice to all, preserve peace, promote the interest and happiness of the citizen and of the family, and transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty, provided that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed but that the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.

SECTION 3. Article 1 of Chapter 3 of Title 12 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions regarding parks, historic areas, memorials, and recreation, is amended in Code Section 12-3-10, relating to directing persons to leave parks, historic sites, or recreational areas upon their refusal to observe rules and regulations and prohibited acts generally, by revising subsection (o) as follows:
"(o)(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to use or possess in any park, historic site, or recreational area any fireworks, explosives, or firecrackers, unless stored so as not to be readily accessible or unless such use has been approved by prior written permission of the commissioner of natural resources or his or her authorized representative. (2) It shall be unlawful for any person to use or possess in any park, historic site, or recreational area any weapon or long gun unless such person is a lawful weapons carrier. As used in this paragraph, the terms 'weapon,' 'long gun,' and 'lawful weapons carrier' shall have the same meanings as provided for in Code Section 16-11-125.1. (3) It shall be unlawful for any person to use or possess in any park, historic site, or recreational area any bows and arrows, spring guns, air rifles, slingshots, or any other device which discharges projectiles by any means, unless the device is unloaded and stored so as not to be readily accessible or unless such use has been approved within restricted areas by prior written permission of the commissioner of natural resources or his or her authorized representative."

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SECTION 4. Part 3 of Article 4 of Chapter 11 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to carrying and possession of firearms, is amended by revising Code Section 16-11-125.1, relating to definitions, as follows:
"16-11-125.1. As used in this part, the term:
(1) 'Handgun' means a firearm of any description, loaded or unloaded, from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged by an action of an explosive where the length of the barrel, not including any revolving, detachable, or magazine breech, does not exceed 12 inches; provided, however, that the term 'handgun' shall not include a gun which discharges a single shot of 0.46 centimeter or less in diameter. (2) 'Knife' means a cutting instrument designed for the purpose of offense and defense consisting of a blade that is greater than 12 inches in length which is fastened to a handle. (2.1) 'Lawful weapons carrier' means any person who is licensed or eligible for a license pursuant to Code Section 16-11-129 and who is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a weapon or long gun, any resident of any other state who would otherwise be eligible to obtain a license pursuant to such Code section but for the residency requirement, and any person licensed to carry a weapon in any other state. (3) 'License holder' means a person who holds a valid weapons carry license. (4) 'Long gun' means a firearm with a barrel length of at least 18 inches and overall length of at least 26 inches designed or made and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or made to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed:
(A) Shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger or from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged; or (B) Metallic cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifle bore for each single pull of the trigger; provided, however, that the term 'long gun' shall not include a gun which discharges a single shot of 0.46 centimeter or less in diameter. (5) 'Weapon' means a knife or handgun. (6) 'Weapons carry license' or 'license' means a license issued pursuant to Code Section 16-11-129."

SECTION 5. Said part is further amended by revising Code Section 16-11-126, relating to having or carrying handguns, long guns, or other weapons, license requirement, and exceptions for homes, motor vehicles, private property, and other locations and conditions, as follows:
"16-11-126. (a) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or long gun on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle, or place of business.

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(b) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a long gun. (c) Any person who is a lawful weapons carrier may transport a handgun or long gun in any private passenger motor vehicle; provided, however, that private property owners or persons in legal control of private property through a lease, rental agreement, licensing agreement, contract, or any other agreement to control access to such private property shall have the right to exclude or eject a person who is in possession of a weapon or long gun on their private property in accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-7-21, except as provided in Code Section 16-11-135.
(d)(1) Any person licensed to carry a weapon in any other state whose laws recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part shall be authorized to carry a weapon in this state; provided, however, that:
(A) Such licensee licensed to carry a weapon in any other state shall carry the weapon in compliance with the laws of this state; and (B) No other state shall be required to recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part that is held by a person who is younger than 21 years of age. (2) The Attorney General shall create and maintain on the Department of Law's website a list of states whose laws recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part. (e)(1) Any person with a valid hunting or fishing license on his or her person, or any person not required by law to have a hunting or fishing license, who is engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting when the person has the permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or long gun while hunting, fishing, or engaging in sport shooting. (2) Any person with a valid hunting or fishing license on his or her person, or any person not required by law to have a hunting or fishing license, who is otherwise engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting on recreational or wildlife management areas owned by this state may have or carry on his or her person a knife while engaging in such hunting, fishing, or sport shooting. (f) Notwithstanding Code Sections 12-3-10, 27-3-1.1, 27-3-6, and 16-12-122 through 16-12-127, any lawful weapons carrier may carry a weapon in all parks, historic sites, or recreational areas, as such term is defined in Code Section 12-3-10, including all publicly owned buildings located in such parks, historic sites, and recreational areas, in wildlife management areas, and on public transportation; provided, however, that a person shall not carry a handgun into a place where it is prohibited by federal law. (g)(1) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (a) through (f) of this Code section, no person shall carry a weapon unless he or she is a lawful weapons carrier. (2) A person commits the offense of unlawful carrying of a weapon when he or she violates the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection. (h) Upon conviction of the offense of unlawful carrying of a weapon, a person shall be punished as follows:

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(1) For the first offense, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; and (2) For the second offense within five years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained, and for any subsequent offense, he or she shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than two years and not more than five years. (i) Nothing in this Code section shall in any way operate or be construed to affect, repeal, or limit the exemptions provided for under Code Section 16-11-130."

SECTION 6. Said part is further amended by revising Code Section 16-11-127, relating to carrying weapons in unauthorized locations, as follows:
"16-11-127. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Courthouse' means a building occupied by judicial courts and containing rooms in which judicial proceedings are held. (2) 'Government building' means:
(A) The building in which a government entity is housed; (B) The building where a government entity meets in its official capacity; provided, however, that if such building is not a publicly owned building, such building shall be considered a government building for the purposes of this Code section only during the time such government entity is meeting at such building; or (C) The portion of any building that is not a publicly owned building that is occupied by a government entity. (3) 'Government entity' means an office, agency, authority, department, commission, board, body, division, instrumentality, or institution of the state or any county, municipal corporation, consolidated government, or local board of education within this state. (4) 'Parking facility' means real property owned or leased by a government entity, courthouse, jail, prison, or place of worship that has been designated by such government entity, courthouse, jail, prison, or place of worship for the parking of motor vehicles at a government building or at such courthouse, jail, prison, or place of worship. (b) Except as provided in Code Section 16-11-127.1 and subsection (d) or (e) of this Code section, a person shall be guilty of carrying a weapon or long gun in an unauthorized location and punished as for a misdemeanor when he or she carries a weapon or long gun while: (1) In a government building without being a lawful weapons carrier; (2) In a courthouse; (3) In a jail or prison; (4) In a place of worship, unless the governing body or authority of the place of worship permits the carrying of weapons or long guns by persons who are lawful weapons carriers;

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(5) In a state mental health facility as defined in Code Section 37-1-1 which admits individuals on an involuntary basis for treatment of mental illness, developmental disability, or addictive disease; provided, however, that carrying a weapon or long gun in such location in a manner in compliance with paragraph (3) of subsection (d) of this Code section shall not constitute a violation of this subsection; (6) On the premises of a nuclear power facility, except as provided in Code Section 16-11-127.2, and the punishment provisions of Code Section 16-11-127.2 shall supersede the punishment provisions of this Code section; or (7) Within 150 feet of any polling place when elections are being conducted and such polling place is being used as a polling place as provided for in paragraph (27) of Code Section 21-2-2, except as provided in subsection (i) of Code Section 21-2-413. (c) Any lawful weapons carrier shall be authorized to carry a weapon as provided in Code Section 16-11-135 and in every location in this state not listed in subsection (b) or prohibited by subsection (e) of this Code section; provided, however, that private property owners or persons in legal control of private property through a lease, rental agreement, licensing agreement, contract, or any other agreement to control access to such private property shall have the right to exclude or eject a person who is in possession of a weapon or long gun on his or her private property in accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-7-21, except as provided in Code Section 16-11-135. A violation of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not create or give rise to a civil action for damages. (d) Subsection (b) of this Code section shall not apply: (1) To the use of weapons or long guns as exhibits in a legal proceeding, provided that such weapons or long guns are secured and handled as directed by the personnel providing courtroom security or the judge hearing the case; (2) To a lawful weapons carrier who approaches security or management personnel upon arrival at a location described in subsection (b) of this Code section and notifies such security or management personnel of the presence of the weapon or long gun and explicitly follows the security or management personnel's direction for removing, securing, storing, or temporarily surrendering such weapon or long gun; and (3) To a weapon or long gun possessed by a lawful weapons carrier which is under the possessor's control in a motor vehicle or is in a locked compartment of a motor vehicle or one which is in a locked container in or a locked firearms rack which is on a motor vehicle and such vehicle is parked in a parking facility. (e)(1) A lawful weapons carrier shall be authorized to carry a weapon in a government building when the government building is open for business and where ingress into such building is not restricted or screened by security personnel. A lawful weapons carrier who enters or attempts to enter a government building carrying a weapon where ingress is restricted or screened by security personnel shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if at least one member of such security personnel is certified as a peace officer pursuant to Chapter 8 of Title 35; provided, however, that a lawful weapons carrier who immediately

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exits such building or immediately leaves such location upon notification of his or her failure to clear security due to the carrying of a weapon shall not be guilty of violating this subsection or paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section. A person who is not a lawful weapons carrier and who attempts to enter a government building carrying a weapon shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (2) Any lawful weapons carrier who violates subsection (b) of this Code section in a place of worship shall not be arrested but shall be fined not more than $100.00. Any person who is not a lawful weapons carrier who violates subsection (b) of this Code section in a place of worship shall be punished as for a misdemeanor. (f) Nothing in this Code section shall in any way operate or be construed to affect, repeal, or limit the exemptions provided for under Code Section 16-11-130."

SECTION 7. Said part is further amended in Code Section 16-11-127.1, relating to carrying weapons within school safety zones, at school functions, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school, by revising paragraph (2) of subsection (b) and paragraphs (7), (8), and (20) of subsection (c) as follows:
"(2) Except as provided for in paragraph (20) of subsection (c) of this Code section, any lawful weapons carrier who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person who is not a lawful weapons carrier who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than ten years, or both." "(7) A lawful weapons carrier when such person carries or picks up a student within a school safety zone, at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school or a lawful weapons carrier when he or she has any weapon legally kept within a vehicle when such vehicle is parked within a school safety zone or is in transit through a designated school safety zone; (8) A weapon possessed by a lawful weapons carrier which is under the possessor's control in a motor vehicle or which is in a locked compartment of a motor vehicle or one which is in a locked container in or a locked firearms rack which is on a motor vehicle which is being used by an adult over 21 years of age to bring to or pick up a student within a school safety zone, at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school, or when such vehicle is used to transport someone to an activity being conducted within a school safety zone which has been authorized by a duly authorized official or local board of education as provided by paragraph (6) of this subsection; provided, however, that this exception shall not apply to a student attending a public or private elementary or secondary school;"
"(20)(A) Any lawful weapons carrier when he or she is in any building or on real property owned by or leased to any public technical school, vocational school, college, or university, or other public institution of postsecondary education; provided, however, that such exception shall:

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(i) Not apply to buildings or property used for athletic sporting events or student housing, including, but not limited to, fraternity and sorority houses; (ii) Not apply to any preschool or childcare space located within such buildings or real property; (iii) Not apply to any room or space being used for classes related to a college and career academy or other specialized school as provided for under Code Section 20-4-37; (iv) Not apply to any room or space being used for classes in which high school students are enrolled through a dual enrollment program, including, but not limited to, classes related to the 'Dual Enrollment Act' as provided for under Code Section 20-2-161.3; (v) Not apply to faculty, staff, or administrative offices or rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted; and (vi) Only apply to the carrying of handguns which are concealed. (B) Any lawful weapons carrier who carries a handgun in a manner or in a building, property, room, or space in violation of this paragraph shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, that for a conviction of a first offense, such lawful weapons carrier shall be punished by a fine of $25.00 and not be sentenced to serve any term of confinement. (C) As used in this paragraph, the term: (i) 'Concealed' means carried in such a fashion that does not actively solicit the attention of others and is not prominently, openly, and intentionally displayed except for purposes of defense of self or others. Such term shall include, but not be limited to, carrying on one's person while such handgun is substantially, but not necessarily completely, covered by an article of clothing which is worn by such person, carrying within a bag of a nondescript nature which is being carried about by such person, or carrying in any other fashion as to not be clearly discernible by the passive observation of others. (ii) 'Preschool or childcare space' means any room or continuous collection of rooms or any enclosed outdoor facilities which are separated from other spaces by an electronic mechanism or human-staffed point of controlled access and designated for the provision of preschool or childcare services, including, but not limited to, preschool or childcare services licensed or regulated under Article 1 of Chapter 1A of Title 20."

SECTION 8. Said part is further amended in Code Section 16-11-129, relating to weapons carry license, gun safety information, temporary renewal permit, mandamus, and verification of license, by revising paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (a) and subparagraph (b)(2)(H) as follows:
"(2)(A) As used in this paragraph, the term 'service member' means an active duty member of the regular or reserve component of the United States Army, United States

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Navy, United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard, United States Air Force, United States National Guard, Georgia Army National Guard, or Georgia Air National Guard. (B) Applicants shall submit the application for a weapons carry license or renewal license to the judge of the probate court on forms prescribed and furnished free of charge to persons wishing to apply for the license or renewal license.
(C)(i) An application shall be considered to be for a renewal license if the applicant has a weapons carry license or renewal license with 90 or fewer days remaining before the expiration of such weapons carry license or renewal license or 30 or fewer days since the expiration of such weapons carry license or renewal license regardless of the county of issuance of the applicant's expired or expiring weapons carry license or renewal license. (ii) An application of any service member whose weapons carry license or renewal license expired while such service member was serving on active duty outside this state shall be considered to be for a renewal license if such service member applies within six months from the date of his or her discharge from active duty or reassignment to a location within this state as provided for in a copy of such service member's official military orders or a written verification signed by such service member's commanding officer as provided by the service member. (iii) An applicant who is not a United States citizen shall provide sufficient personal identifying data, including without limitation his or her place of birth and United States issued alien or admission number, as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation may prescribe by rule or regulation. An applicant who is in nonimmigrant status shall provide proof of his or her qualifications for an exception to the federal firearm prohibition pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 922(y). Forms shall be designed to elicit information from the applicant pertinent to his or her eligibility under this Code section, including citizenship, but shall not require data which is nonpertinent or irrelevant, such as serial numbers or other identification capable of being used as a de facto registration of firearms owned by the applicant. The Department of Public Safety shall furnish application forms and license forms required by this Code section. The forms shall be furnished to each judge of each probate court within this state at no cost." "(H) Any person who has been convicted of carrying a weapon or long gun in an unauthorized location in violation of Code Section 16-11-127 and has not been free of all restraint or supervision in connection therewith and free of any other conviction for at least five years immediately preceding the date of the application;"

SECTION 9. Said part is further amended in Code Section 16-11-130, relating to exemptions from Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-127.2, by revising paragraph (11) of subsection (a) as follows:

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"(11) Explosive ordnance disposal technicians, as such term is defined by Code Section 16-7-80, and persons certified as provided in Code Section 35-8-25 to handle animals trained to detect explosives, while in the performance of their duties;"

SECTION 10. Said part is further amended in Code Section 16-11-135, relating to public or private employer's parking lots, right of privacy in vehicles in employer's parking lot or invited guests on lot, severability, and rights of action, by revising subsection (b) as follows:
"(b) Except as provided in this Code section, no private or public employer, including the state and its political subdivisions, shall condition employment upon any agreement by a prospective employee that prohibits an employee from entering the parking lot and access thereto when the employee's privately owned motor vehicle contains a firearm or ammunition, or both, that is locked out of sight within the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment or area within such privately owned motor vehicle, provided that any such prospective employee is a lawful weapons carrier."

SECTION 11. Said part is further amended by revising Code Section 16-11-137, relating to required possession of weapons carry license or proof of exemption when carrying a weapon and detention for investigation of carrying permit, as follows:
"16-11-137. A person carrying a weapon shall not be subject to detention for the sole purpose of investigating whether such person has a weapons carry license, whether such person is exempt from having a weapons carry license pursuant to Code Section 16-11-130 or subsection (c) of Code Section 16-11-127.1, or whether such person is a lawful weapons carrier as defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1."

SECTION 12. Part 2 of Article 4 of Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to transportation passenger safety, is amended in Code Section 16-12-123, relating to bus or rail vehicle hijacking, boarding with concealed weapon, and company use of reasonable security measures, by revising subsection (b) as follows:
"(b) Any person who boards or attempts to board an aircraft, bus, or rail vehicle with any explosive, destructive device, or hoax device as such terms are defined in Code Section 16-7-80; weapon or long gun as such terms are defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1 if such person is not a lawful weapons carrier as defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1; hazardous substance as defined by Code Section 12-8-92; or other device designed or modified for the purpose of offense and defense concealed on or about his or her person or property which is or would be accessible to such person while on the aircraft, bus, or rail vehicle shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years. The

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prohibition of this subsection shall not apply to any law enforcement officer, peace officer retired from a state or federal law enforcement agency, person in the military service of the state or of the United States, or commercial security personnel employed by the transportation company who is in possession of weapons used within the course and scope of employment; nor shall the prohibition apply to persons transporting weapons contained in baggage which is not accessible to passengers if the presence of such weapons has been declared to the transportation company and such weapons have been secured in a manner prescribed by state or federal law or regulation for the purpose of transportation or shipment. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any privately owned aircraft, bus, or rail vehicle if the owner of such aircraft or vehicle has given his or her express permission to board the aircraft or vehicle with the item."

SECTION 13. Said part is further amended in Code Section 16-12-127, relating to prohibition on firearms, hazardous substances, knives, or other devices, penalty, and affirmative defenses, by revising subsection (a) as follows:
"(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, with the intention of avoiding or interfering with a security measure or of introducing into a terminal any explosive, destructive device, or hoax device as such terms are defined in Code Section 16-7-80; weapon or long gun if such person is not a lawful weapons carrier as such terms are defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1; hazardous substance as defined by Code Section 12-8-92; or other device designed or modified for the purpose of offense and defense, to:
(1) Have any such item on or about his or her person; or (2) Place or cause to be placed or attempt to place or cause to be placed any such item:
(A) In a container or freight of a transportation company; (B) In the baggage or possessions of any person or any transportation company without the knowledge of the passenger or transportation company; or (C) Aboard such aircraft, bus, or rail vehicle."

SECTION 14. Title 27 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to game and fish, is amended in Code Section 27-3-1.1, relating to acts prohibited on wildlife management areas, by revising paragraphs (1) and (2) as follows:
"(1) To possess a firearm other than a handgun, as such term is defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1, during a closed hunting season for that area unless such firearm is unloaded and stored in a motor vehicle so as not to be readily accessible or to possess a handgun during a closed hunting season for that area unless such person is a lawful weapons carrier as defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1; (2) To possess a loaded firearm other than a handgun, as such term is defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1, in a motor vehicle during a legal open hunting season for that area or to possess a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle during a legal open hunting season for

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that area unless such person is a lawful weapons carrier as defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1;"

SECTION 15. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 27-3-6, relating to possession of firearm while hunting with bow and arrow, as follows:
"27-3-6. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any center-fire or rimfire firearm other than a handgun, as such term is defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1, while hunting with a bow and arrow during archery or primitive weapons season for deer or while hunting with a muzzleloading firearm during a primitive weapons season for deer or to possess a loaded handgun while hunting with a bow and arrow during archery or primitive weapons season for deer or while hunting with a muzzleloading firearm during primitive weapons season for deer unless such person is a lawful weapons carrier as defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1."

SECTION 16. Said title is further amended in Code Section 27-4-11.1, relating to possession of firearms and intoxication on public fishing areas, fishing in closed fishing areas, and other restrictions in public fishing areas, by revising paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a) as follows:
"(1) To possess a firearm other than a handgun, as such term is defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1, during a closed hunting season for that area unless such firearm is unloaded and stored in a motor vehicle so as not to be readily accessible or to possess a handgun during a closed hunting season for that area unless such person is a lawful weapons carrier as defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1; (2) To possess a loaded firearm other than a handgun, as such term is defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1, in a motor vehicle during a legal open hunting season for that area or to possess a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle during a legal open hunting season for that area unless such person is a lawful weapons carrier as defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1; or"

SECTION 17. Part 2 of Article 10 of Chapter 6 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to parking for persons with disabilities, is amended in Code Section 40-6-228, relating to enforcement of parking for persons with disabilities, by revising paragraph (4) of subsection (b) as follows:
"(4) Have the power to possess and carry firearms and other weapons for the purpose of enforcing the parking laws for persons with disabilities; provided, however, that a person who is a lawful weapons carrier as defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1 shall not be in violation of this paragraph; or"

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SECTION 18. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 19. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 12, 2022.

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CRIMES AND OFFENSES CARRYING OF WEAPONS RECIPROCITY.

No. 597 (House Bill No. 218).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 16-11-126 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to having or carrying handguns, long guns, or other weapons, license requirement, and exceptions for homes, motor vehicles, private property, and other locations and conditions, so as to expand weapons carry license reciprocity in this state; to provide that persons who are not residents of this state shall be authorized to carry a weapon in this state if licensed to carry in any other state; to provide that the Attorney General shall enter into an agreement with any state that requires an agreement to recognize and give effect to weapons carry licenses for reciprocity; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 16-11-126 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to having or carrying handguns, long guns, or other weapons, license requirement, and exceptions for homes, motor vehicles, private property, and other locations and conditions, is amended by revising subsection (e) as follows:
"(e)(1)(A) Any person licensed to carry a weapon in any other state shall be authorized to carry a weapon in this state, but only while the licensee is not a resident of this state; provided, however, that:
(i) Such licensee licensed to carry a weapon in any other state shall carry the weapon in compliance with the laws of this state; and (ii) No other state shall be required to recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part that is held by a person who is younger than 21 years of age.

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(B)(i) The Attorney General shall create and maintain on the Department of Law's website a list of states whose laws recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part. (ii) The Attorney General shall enter into an agreement with any state that requires an agreement to recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part. (2) Any person who is not a weapons carry license holder in this state and who is licensed to carry a weapon in any other state shall be authorized to carry a weapon in this state for 90 days after he or she becomes a resident of this state; provided, however, that such person shall carry the weapon in compliance with the laws of this state, shall as soon as practicable submit a weapons carry license application as provided for under Code Section 16-11-129, and shall remain licensed in such other state for the duration of time that he or she is a resident of this state but not a weapons carry license holder in this state."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 12, 2022.

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NUISANCES LIMITS CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH AGRICULTURAL FACILITIES AND OPERATIONS MAY BE SUED FOR NUISANCE.
No. 598 (House Bill No. 1150).
AN ACT
To amend Code Section 41-1-7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to treatment of agricultural facilities and operations and forest land as nuisances, so as to provide for legislative intent; to provide for and remove definitions; to limit the circumstances under which agricultural facilities and operations may be sued for a nuisance; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
SECTION 1. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the "Freedom to Farm Act."

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SECTION 2. Code Section 41-1-7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to treatment of agricultural facilities and operations and forest land as nuisances, is amended as follows:
"41-1-7. (a) It is the declared policy of the state to conserve, protect, and encourage the development and improvement of its agricultural and forest land and facilities for the production or distribution of food and other agricultural products, including without limitation forest products. When nonagricultural land uses extend into agricultural or agriculture-supporting industrial or commercial areas or forest land or when there are changed conditions in or around the locality of an agricultural facility or agricultural support facility, such operations often become the subject of nuisance actions. As a result, such facilities are sometimes forced to cease operations. Many others are discouraged from making investments in agricultural support facilities or farm improvements or adopting new related technology or methods. It is the purpose of this Code section to reduce losses of the state's agricultural and forest land resources by limiting the circumstances under which agricultural facilities and operations or agricultural support facilities may be deemed to be a nuisance. (b) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Agricultural facility' includes, but is not limited to, any land, building, structure, pond, impoundment, appurtenance, machinery, or equipment which is used for the commercial production or processing of crops, livestock, animals, poultry, honeybees, honeybee products, livestock products, poultry products, timber, forest products, or products which are used in commercial aquaculture. Such term shall also include any farm labor camp or facilities for migrant farm workers. (2) 'Agricultural operation' means:
(A) The plowing, tilling, or preparation of soil at an agricultural facility; (B) The planting, growing, fertilizing, harvesting, or otherwise maintaining of crops as defined in Code Section 1-3-3 and also timber and trees that are grown for purposes other than for harvest and for sale; (C) The application of pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals, compounds, or substances to crops, weeds, or soil in connection with the production of crops, timber, livestock, animals, or poultry; (D) The breeding, hatching, raising, producing, feeding, keeping, slaughtering, or processing of livestock, hogs, equines, chickens, turkeys, poultry or other fowl normally raised for food, mules, cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, rabbits, or similar farm animals for commercial purposes; (E) The production and keeping of honeybees, the production of honeybee products, and honeybee processing facilities; (F) The production, processing, or packaging of eggs or egg products; (G) The manufacturing of feed for poultry or livestock; (H) The rotation of crops, including without limitation timber production;

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(I) Commercial aquaculture; (J) The application of existing, changed, or new technology, practices, processes, or procedures to any agricultural operation; and (K) The operation of any roadside market. (3) 'Agricultural support facility' means any food processing plant or forest products processing plant together with all related or ancillary activities, including trucking; provided, however, that this term expressly excludes any rendering plant facility or operation. (4) 'Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation,' or 'CAFO,' means the same as that term is used pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of 40 C.F.R. Section 122.23. (5) 'Food processing plant' means a commercial operation that manufactures, packages, labels, distributes, or stores food for human consumption and does not provide food directly to a consumer. (6) 'Forest products processing plant' means a commercial operation that manufactures, packages, labels, distributes, or stores any forest product or that manufactures, packages, labels, distributes, or stores any building material made from gypsum rock. (7) 'Rendering plant' has the meaning provided by Code Section 4-4-40. (c) No private nuisance action shall be filed against any agricultural facility, agricultural operation, any agricultural operation at an agricultural facility, agricultural support facility, or any operation at an agricultural support facility unless the plaintiff legally possesses the real property affected by the conditions alleged to be a nuisance. (d) No agricultural facility, agricultural operation, any agricultural operation at an agricultural facility, agricultural support facility, or any operation at an agricultural support facility shall be or shall become a nuisance, either public or private if the facility or operation has been in operation for two years or more. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply when a nuisance results from the negligent, improper, or illegal operation of any such facility or operation. (e) For purposes of this Code section, the established date of operation is the date on which an agricultural operation or agricultural support facility commenced operation. If the physical facilities of the agricultural operation or the agricultural support facility are subsequently expanded or new technology adopted, the established date of operation for each change is not a separately and independently established date of operation and the commencement of the expanded operation does not divest the agricultural operation or agricultural support facility of a previously established date of operation. (f) For purposes of this Code section, the commencement of operation of a CAFO shall create a separately and independently established date of operation for that portion of the agricultural facility, agricultural operation, any agricultural operation at an agricultural facility, agricultural support facility, or any operation at an agricultural support facility relating to the newly established CAFO.

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(g) Nothing in this Code section shall preempt or override any present or future rule or regulation of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division or the United States Environmental Protection Agency."

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 13, 2022.

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EDUCATION TRANSITIONS ELEMENTARY AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION PILOT PROGRAM TO OPTIONAL ONGOING PROGRAM; REQUIRES PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS TO EMPLOY AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION TEACHER.

No. 599 (House Bill No. 1303).

AN ACT

To amend Part 3 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to educational programs, so as to transition a pilot program for elementary agricultural education to an optional ongoing program; to require participating schools to employ an agricultural education teacher; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Part 3 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to educational programs, is amended by revising Code Section 20-2-154.3, relating to a pilot program for agricultural education in elementary schools and evaluation of program, as follows:
"20-2-154.3. (a) The Department of Education, through its agricultural education program employees described in Code Section 20-2-154.2, is authorized to administer an agricultural education program that local school systems may offer in elementary schools. If a local board of education elects to offer an elementary agricultural education program in an elementary school, the local board of education shall agree to implement and fully fund such program in accordance with this Code section and the practices or standards established by the

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agricultural education program of the Department of Education. The local school system shall employ an agricultural education teacher to provide such program for the elementary school. (b) The Department of Education, through its agricultural education program employees described in Code Section 20-2-154.2, shall establish the curriculum for each elementary agricultural education program. Such curriculum shall be grade-appropriate and include instruction in an organized classroom; collaborative learning experiences through investigation and inquiry, including laboratory and site-based learning activities; and personal and leadership development opportunities. (c) The Department of Education, through its agricultural education program, shall provide for a program evaluation regarding the success and impact of the pilot program in place in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022 school years and shall report in writing the results of such evaluation to the House Committee on Agriculture and Consumer Affairs and the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee and to the House Committee on Education and the Senate Education and Youth Committee, by December 31, 2022."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 13, 2022.

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AGRICULTURE RENAMES GEORGIA STATE NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM; CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS.

No. 600 (Senate Bill No. 396).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 17 of Title 2 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Georgia State Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), so as to rename such program the Georgia Grown Farm to Food Bank Program (F2FB); to require food procured pursuant to such program be Georgia grown; to require annual reporting related to such program to identify Georgia grown farmers who supplied food; to authorize persons who provide services to such program or the Department of Agriculture to receive food from the program if qualified as a recipient; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

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SECTION 1. Chapter 17 of Title 2 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Georgia State Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is amended as follows:

"CHAPTER 17

2-17-1. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the 'Georgia Grown Farm to Food Bank Program (F2FB).'

2-17-2. As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) 'Department' means the Georgia Department of Agriculture. (2) 'Emergency food provider' means a nonprofit, charitable organization that offers groceries or meals to people who are in need of food assistance and who reside in this state. (3) 'Program' means the Georgia Grown Farm to Food Bank Program (F2FB) created by this chapter. (4) 'Program participant' means an individual or household which is in need of short-term food assistance to supplement the diet in order to prevent hunger or malnutrition, or both. (5) 'Regional food bank' means an established nonprofit charitable organization which is qualified as exempt from taxation under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and which, as part of an existing food bank network, maintains a food distribution operation providing food to nonprofit food pantries and feeding centers that offer groceries or meals to people in need of food assistance. (6) 'State nutrition information organization' means an established nonprofit charitable organization which is qualified as exempt from taxation under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and which, as part of its mission, fosters and promotes general health through nutrition education of the public.

2-17-3. (a) The Georgia Grown Farm to Food Bank Program (F2FB) is established to provide grants to regional food banks within this state for the purchase, transportation, storage, and distribution of food to emergency food providers and program participants. Such grants shall be made from funds available to the department for such purpose. Grants made pursuant to the program shall be used only for the purchase of food or agricultural commodities from Georgia grown products, as that term is used in Code Section 2-8-90, purveyors, producers, or processors for repacking or processing, or both, of food for distribution to emergency food providers and program participants. (b) The program shall be administered by the department.

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(c) All food purchases made through the use of program funds shall be made in accordance with the following standards:
(1) All food shall be procured from Georgia grown sources; (2) Food shall be purchased at a level equal to or greater than the seller's input costs plus one-half of the projected appreciation costs; and (3) Food purchased with funds through the program shall not duplicate food available through the federal commodities program of the United States Department of Agriculture. (d) The department shall contract with regional food banks for the operation of the program. The department, in conjunction with regional food banks, is authorized to take appropriate actions, including the entry of subcontracts, to ensure uniform access to the program by needy residents of this state. The department may allow a state nutrition information organization to provide free nutrition education as part of the program to residents of this state. (e) The department shall, by rule or regulation, establish and enforce procedures and guidelines for the determination of eligibility for participation in the program. Such rules, regulations, and procedures shall not limit or affect the established guidelines used by emergency food providers for any of their programs for which no funds are provided through the program established pursuant to this chapter. No person who is eligible for food funded by the program shall be charged for food or encouraged to contribute money in order to receive food under the program.

2-17-4. The program established pursuant to this chapter and any funds granted pursuant to this chapter or expenditures made with such funds are subject to review and audit by the department and the state auditor to determine proper operation of the program and compliance with statutes, regulations, and policies. Contractors, subcontractors, and others receiving funds or commodities under this chapter shall be subject to audit and review by the state auditor at reasonable times.

2-17-5. Within 90 days of the conclusion of the state's fiscal year, any entity with which the department has contracted for the operation of the program shall submit to the department an annual report which shall account fully for and shall specify the expenditure of funds made pursuant to the program, the dollar value of Georgia grown products distributed, the number of people and households served in each county, the type and weight of food purchased, and the names of each Georgia grown product purveyor, producer, or processor from whom the program participant procured food. Within 180 days of the end of the state's fiscal year, the Commissioner shall submit an annual report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, relevant information concerning the operation of the program for the preceding fiscal year, the quantity and dollar value of Georgia products distributed,

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the number of people and households served in each county, and the type and weight of food purchased.

2-17-6. It shall be unlawful for any person providing services to the department or to any regional food bank or emergency food provider which receives funds or food through the program or for any official or employee of the department to receive food for personal use, unless qualified as a recipient through the program, or to provide services for profit pursuant to the program created by this chapter. Any person violating this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 13, 2022.

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REVENUE AND TAXATION STATE INCOME TAX; EXCLUDES CERTAIN MILITARY RETIREMENT INCOME.

No. 641 (House Bill No. 1064).

AN ACT

To amend Article 2 of Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the imposition, rate, computation, exemptions, and credits from state income tax, so as to exclude from Georgia taxable net income certain retirement income received from certain military service; to provide for limitations; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Article 2 of Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the imposition, rate, computation, exemptions, and credits from state income tax, is amended in subsection (a) of Code Section 48-7-27, relating to the computation of taxable net income, by adding a new paragraph to read as follows:
"(5.1)(A) Up to $17,500.00 of income received by an individual who is less than 62 years of age paid to such individual as retirement benefits from military service in the armed forces of the United States or the reserve components thereof and an additional

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amount of up to $17,500.00 of such income, provided that he or she has Georgia earned income otherwise included in his or her Georgia taxable net income in an amount that exceeds $17,500.00. (B) In the case of a married couple filing jointly, each spouse who is otherwise qualified for an exclusion allowed by this paragraph shall be individually entitled to exclude retirement income received by that spouse up to the exclusion amount. (C) The exclusions provided for in this paragraph shall not apply to or affect and shall be in addition to those adjustments to net income provided for under any other paragraph of this subsection;"

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022, and shall be applicable to all taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2022.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 18, 2022.

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REVENUE AND TAXATION INCOME TAX; DONATIONS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS FOR DISABLED VETERANS THROUGH TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM OF GEORGIA.
No. 642 (Senate Bill No. 87).
AN ACT
To amend Article 3 of Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to tax returns and furnishing of information, so as to authorize Georgia taxpayers to make certain voluntary contributions through the income tax payment and refund process to aid and assist service disabled veterans through scholarships to the Technical College System of Georgia; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
SECTION 1. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the "Senator Jack Hill Veterans' Act."

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SECTION 2. Article 3 of Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to tax returns and furnishing of information, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"48-7-64. (a) Each Georgia income tax return form for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2023, shall contain appropriate language, to be determined by the state revenue commissioner, offering the taxpayer the opportunity to contribute to the Technical College System of Georgia Foundation by donating either all or any part of any tax refund due, by authorizing a reduction in the refund check otherwise payable, or by contributing any amount over and above any amount of tax owed by adding that amount to the taxpayer's payment. The instructions accompanying the income tax return form shall contain a description of the purposes for which this fund was established and the intended use of moneys received from the contributions. Each taxpayer required to file a state income tax return who desires to contribute to the foundation may designate such contribution as provided in this Code section on the appropriate income tax return form. (b) The Department of Revenue shall determine annually the total amount so contributed and shall transmit such amount to the Technical College System of Georgia Foundation, which is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation that supports the Technical College System of Georgia through marketing, advocacy, and fundraising to benefit college programs, faculty, and students. All contributions received by such organization pursuant to this Code section shall be used exclusively to award scholarships to the Technical College System of Georgia to veterans with service-connected disabilities as such term is defined in 38 U.S.C. Section 101(16). "

SECTION 3. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval and shall apply to all taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2023.

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 18, 2022.

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PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES PROVIDES THAT IDENTIFICATION OF PERSONS FOR WHOM NOTARIES PERFORM NOTARIAL ACTS SHALL BE EVIDENCED SATISFACTORILY BY VALID VETERANS HEALTH IDENTIFICATION CARD ISSUED BY UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

No. 643 (Senate Bill No. 96).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 17 of Title 45 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to notaries public, so as to provide that the identification of persons for whom notaries perform notarial acts shall be evidenced satisfactorily by a valid Veterans Health Identification Card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 17 of Title 45 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to notaries public, is amended by revising subsection (e) of Code Section 45-17-8, relating to powers and duties generally, as follows:
"(e) In performing any notarial act, a notary public shall confirm the identity of the document signer, oath taker, or affirmant based on personal knowledge or on satisfactory evidence. Such satisfactory evidence shall include, but not be limited to, a valid Veterans Health Identification Card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 18, 2022.

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PROFESSIONS AND BUSINESSES CHANGES PROVISIONS RELATING TO EXPEDITED LICENSE BY ENDORSEMENT
FOR MILITARY SPOUSES.

No. 644 (House Bill No. 884).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 1 of Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions of professions and businesses, so as to change certain provisions relating to expedited license by endorsement for military spouses; to require that such licenses be issued within a time specified; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 1 of Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions of professions and businesses, is amended by revising Code Section 43-1-34.1, relating to expedited license by endorsement for military spouses, as follows:
"43-1-34.1. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'License' shall have the same meaning as provided in Code Section 43-1-34. (2) 'Other board' shall have the same meaning as provided in Code Section 43-1-34. (3) 'Service member' shall have the same meaning as provided in Code Section 43-1-34. (4) 'State' means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. (5) 'Transitioning service member' shall have the same meaning as provided in Code Section 43-1-34. (b) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, a professional licensing board or other board shall issue an expedited license by endorsement to any individual who: (1) Is a spouse of a service member or transitioning service member stationed within the State of Georgia; (2) Holds a current license to practice such occupation or profession issued by another state for which the training, experience, and testing are substantially similar in qualifications and scope to the requirements under this state to obtain a license; (3) Is in good standing in such other state; and (4) Passes any examination that may only be required to demonstrate knowledge of the laws and rules and regulations of this state specific to the practice of the profession, business, or trade for which such expedited license by endorsement is being sought.

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(c) An expedited license by endorsement shall be issued no later than 90 days from the date of receipt of an application and information and documents that show that all of the requirements of subsection (b) of this Code section have been met. Such application shall only require such information and documentation necessary to verify that the applicant meets the requirements set forth in subsection (b) of this Code section. (d) Nothing contained in this Code section shall be construed to invalidate, override, or amend any licensing compact entered into by the State of Georgia."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 18, 2022.

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CRIMES AND OFFENSES CONCURRENT AUTHORITY OF PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS AND ATTORNEY GENERAL
TO PROSECUTE OFFENSES INVOLVING CRIMINAL GANG ACTIVITY.

No. 645 (House Bill No. 1134).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 16-15-4 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to participation in criminal gang activity prohibited, so as to provide for the concurrent authority of prosecuting attorneys and the Attorney General to prosecute offenses involving criminal gang activity; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 16-15-4 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to participation in criminal gang activity prohibited, is amended by adding a new subsection to read as follows:

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"(n) Prosecuting attorneys and the Attorney General shall have concurrent authority to prosecute any criminal cases arising under the provisions of this Code section and to perform any duty that necessarily appertains thereto. For purposes of investigating offenses or criminal cases arising under the provisions of this Code section, the Attorney General shall have the authority to employ peace officers who shall be authorized to execute all powers of a peace officer."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 25, 2022.

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MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC ENHANCED PENALTIES FOR FLEEING OR ATTEMPTING TO ELUDE POLICE OFFICER; PROHIBITS USE OF BLUE LIGHT TO IMPERSONATE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER.

No. 646 (House Bill No. 1216).

AN ACT

To amend Article 15 of Chapter 6 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to serious traffic offenses, so as to provide for enhanced penalties for violations of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer; to provide for enhanced penalties for fleeing or eluding a police officer during the commission of certain crimes or under certain circumstances; to prohibit the use of a blue light to impersonate a law enforcement officer; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Article 15 of Chapter 6 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to serious traffic offenses, is amended by revising Code Section 40-6-395, relating to fleeing or attempting to elude police officer and impersonating law enforcement officer, as follows:
"40-6-395. (a) It shall be unlawful for any driver of a vehicle willfully to fail or refuse to bring his or her vehicle to a stop or otherwise to flee or attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle or

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police officer when given a visual or an audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop. The signal given by the police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren. The officer giving such signal shall be in uniform prominently displaying his or her badge of office, and his or her vehicle shall be appropriately marked showing it to be an official police vehicle.
(b)(1) Any person convicted of violating the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section upon a first, second, or third conviction thereof shall be guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor and upon a fourth or subsequent conviction thereof shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished as follows:
(A) Upon the first conviction shall be fined not less than $1,000.00 nor more than $5,000.00, and the fine shall not be subject to suspension, stay, or probation, and imprisoned for not less than 30 days nor more than 12 months. Any period of such imprisonment in excess of 30 days may, in the sole discretion of the judge, be suspended, stayed, or probated; (B) Upon the second conviction within a ten-year period of time, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained, shall be fined not less than $2,500.00 nor more than $5,000.00, and the fine shall not be subject to suspension, stay, or probation, and imprisoned for not less than 90 days nor more than 12 months. Any period of such imprisonment in excess of 90 days may, in the sole discretion of the judge, be suspended, stayed, or probated; and for purposes of this paragraph, previous pleas of nolo contendere accepted within such ten-year period shall constitute convictions; (C) Upon the third conviction within a ten-year period of time, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained, shall be fined not less than $4,000.00 nor more than $5,000.00, and the fine shall not be subject to suspension, stay, or probation, and imprisoned for not less than 180 days nor more than 12 months. Any period of such imprisonment in excess of 180 days may, in the sole discretion of the judge, be suspended, stayed, or probated; and for purposes of this paragraph, previous pleas of nolo contendere accepted within such ten-year period shall constitute convictions; and (D) Upon the fourth or subsequent conviction within a ten-year period of time, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained, shall be fined not less than $5,000.00 nor more than $10,000.00 and imprisoned for not less than 12 months nor more than ten years. (2) For the purpose of imposing a sentence under this subsection, a plea of nolo contendere shall constitute a conviction. (3) If the payment of the fine required under subparagraphs (A) through (C) of paragraph (1) of this subsection will impose an economic hardship on the defendant, the judge, at his or her sole discretion, may order the defendant to pay such fine in

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installments and such order may be enforced through a contempt proceeding or a revocation of any probation otherwise authorized by this subsection. (4) Notwithstanding the limits set forth in any municipal charter, any municipal court of any municipality shall be authorized to impose the punishments provided for in subparagraphs (A) through (C) of paragraph (1) of this subsection upon a conviction of violating such subparagraphs or upon conviction of violating any ordinance adopting the provisions of such subparagraphs. (c) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section who, while fleeing or attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer: (1) Operates his or her vehicle in excess of 20 miles an hour above the posted speed limit; (2) Strikes or collides with another vehicle or a pedestrian; (3) Is the proximate cause of an accident; (4) Flees in traffic conditions which place the general public at risk of receiving serious injuries; (5) Commits a violation of:
(A) Code Section 40-6-144; (B) Subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-163; (C) Subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-251; (D) Subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-390; (E) Subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-390.1; or (F) Subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-391; or (6) Leaves the state shall be guilty of a felony punishable by a fine of not less than $5,000.00 nor more than $10,000.00 and imprisonment for not less than 12 months nor more than ten years. (d) Following adjudication of guilt or imposition of sentence for a violation of subparagraph (b)(1)(D) or subsection (c) of this Code section, the sentence shall not be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld, and the charge shall not be reduced to a lesser offense, merged with any other offense, or served concurrently with any other offense. (e) It shall be unlawful for a person: (1) To impersonate a sheriff, deputy sheriff, state trooper, agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, police officer, or any other authorized law enforcement officer by using a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or blue light designed, equipped, or marked so as to resemble a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or blue light belonging to any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency; or (2) Otherwise to impersonate any such law enforcement officer in order to direct, stop, or otherwise control traffic."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022, and shall apply to offenses committed on or after that date.

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SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 25, 2022.

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CRIMES AND OFFENSES SPECIFIES THAT EACH FIREARM IN POSSESSION OR ATTEMPTED POSSESSION OF CERTAIN OFFENDERS SHALL BE CHARGED AS SEPARATE OFFENSE.

No. 647 (Senate Bill No. 479).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 16-11-131 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to possession of firearms by convicted felons and first offender probationers, so as to specify that each firearm in the possession or attempted possession of certain offenders shall be charged as a separate offense; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 16-11-131 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to possession of firearms by convicted felons and first offender probationers, is amended by revising subsection (b) and adding a new subsection to read as follows:
"(b) Any person who is on probation as a felony first offender pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42, who is on probation and was sentenced for a felony under subsection (a) or (c) of Code Section 16-13-2, or who has been convicted of a felony by a court of this state or any other state; by a court of the United States including its territories, possessions, and dominions; or by a court of any foreign nation and who receives, possesses, or transports a firearm commits a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than one year nor more than ten years; provided, however, that upon a second or subsequent conviction, such person shall be imprisoned for not less than five nor more than ten years; provided, further, that if the felony for which the person is on probation or has been previously convicted is a forcible felony, then upon conviction of receiving, possessing, or transporting a firearm, such person shall be imprisoned for a period of five years."

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"(g) For any violation of subsection (b) or (b.1) of this Code section involving multiple firearms, each firearm connected to such violation shall constitute a separate offense."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 25, 2022.

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CRIMES AND OFFENSES EACH ACT OF CHILD MOLESTATION CHARGED AS SEPARATE OFFENSE; OFFENDER CAN BE CHARGED AND CONVICTED FOR EACH SEPARATE IMAGE OR DEPICTION; USE OF COMMERCIAL SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES TO COMMIT SEXUAL MISCONDUCT.

No. 648 (House Bill No. 1188).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 16-6-4 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to child molestation and aggravated child molestation, so as to provide that each act of child molestation shall be charged as a separate offense; to amend Code Section 16-12-100 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to sexual exploitation of children, reporting violation, civil forfeiture, and penalties, so as to specify that an offender can be charged and convicted for each separate image or depiction; to amend Article 3 of Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia annotated, relating to obscenity and related offenses, so as to provide definitions, regulations, and penalties involving use of commercial social networking websites to commit sexual misconduct; to provide for severability; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 16-6-4 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to child molestation and aggravated child molestation, is amended by revising subsection (a) and by adding a new subsection to read as follows:
"(a) A person commits the offense of child molestation when such person:

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(1) Does an immoral or indecent act to or in the presence of or with any child under the age of 16 years with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the person; or (2) By means of an electronic device, transmits images of a person engaging in, inducing, or otherwise participating in an immoral or indecent act to a child under the age of 16 years with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the person. (a.1) For purposes of this Code section, when a person does an immoral or indecent act involving touching of any child under the age of 16 years with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of the child or the person, and such person touches such child in multiple areas of such child's body, the touching of each area shall constitute a separate offense of child molestation."

SECTION 2. Code Section 16-12-100 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to sexual exploitation of children, reporting violation, civil forfeiture, and penalties, is amended by revising paragraphs (5), (6), (7), and (8) of subsection (b) and by adding a new subsection to read as follows:
"(5) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to create, reproduce, publish, promote, sell, distribute, give, exhibit, or possess with intent to sell or distribute a visual medium which depicts a minor or a portion of a minor's body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct. (6) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to advertise, sell, purchase, barter, or exchange a medium which provides information as to where any visual medium which depicts a minor or a portion of a minor's body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct can be found or purchased. (7) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to bring or cause to be brought into this state a material which depicts a minor or a portion of a minor's body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct. (8) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to possess or control a material which depicts a minor or a portion of a minor's body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct." "(b.1) For any violation of paragraph (5), (6), (7), or (8) of subsection (b) of this Code section involving multiple visual mediums, mediums, or materials, each visual medium, medium, or material connected to such violation shall constitute a separate offense."

SECTION 3. Article 3 of Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to obscenity and related offenses, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"16-12-100.4. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Commercial social networking website' includes any website, application, portal, or other means of accessing the internet that:

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(A) Is operated by a person that derives revenue from membership fees, advertising, or other sources related to the operation of the website, application, portal, or other means of accessing the internet; (B) Allows users to create personal web pages or profiles that contain the user's name or nickname, photographs of the user, and other personal information; and (C) Provides users or visitors a mechanism by which to communicate with others, such as a message board, chat room, or instant messenger. Such term shall not include a website that is either owned or operated by a local, state, or federal governmental entity or that has as its primary purpose the facilitation of commercial transactions, the dissemination of news, the discussion of political or social issues, or professional networking. (2) 'High-risk sex offender' means any individual who is registered with the State Sexual Offender Registry and who has been classified as a sexually dangerous predator pursuant to Code Section 42-1-14. (b) It shall be unlawful for any high-risk sex offender to access or use any commercial social networking website to: (1) Communicate with a person who the offender believes is under 16 years of age; (2) Contact a person who the offender believes is under 16 years of age; (3) Pose falsely as a person under 16 years of age; or (4) Gather information about a person who the offender believes is under 16 years of age. (c) For purposes of determining jurisdiction, an offense shall be deemed to be committed in this state if the transmission that constitutes the offense either originates in this state or is received in this state. (d) Any person that violates this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years and by a fine of not more than $10,000.00. (e) This Code section shall be severable in accordance with Code Section 1-1-3, relating to severability."

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 25, 2022.

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LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND AGENCIES GEORGIA PUBLIC SAFETY TRAINING CENTER; REIMBURSEMENT OF CERTAIN COSTS
INCURRED BY ACTIVE DUTY, RETIRED, OR HONORABLY DISCHARGED MEMBERS OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES ATTENDING BASIC LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING.

No. 649 (Senate Bill No. 358).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 35-5-5 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Georgia Public Safety Training Center available for use by certain personnel, fees, enrollment, authorization for expenditure of funds, and powers and duties, so as to provide for the reimbursement of certain costs incurred by active duty, retired, or honorably discharged members of the United States armed forces who are attending basic law enforcement training; to provide for limitations on such reimbursements; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 35-5-5 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Georgia Public Safety Training Center available for use by certain personnel, fees, enrollment, authorization for expenditure of funds, and powers and duties, is amended in subsection (d) by revising paragraphs (2) through (6) and adding a new paragraph to read as follows:
"(2) To reimburse or provide for certain costs incurred in training peace officers, emergency medical personnel, and law enforcement support personnel employed or appointed by each agency, organ, or department of this state, counties, and municipalities to the extent that funds are appropriated for such purpose by the General Assembly. In the event sufficient funds are not appropriated for a fiscal year to fund the full cost provided for in this paragraph, then the amount which would otherwise be payable shall be reduced pro rata on the basis of the funds actually appropriated. As used in this paragraph, the terms 'cost' and 'costs' shall not include travel or salaries of personnel undergoing training and shall be limited exclusively to the cost of tuition which is incurred in connection with such training; (3) To reimburse or provide for certain costs incurred in training active duty, retired, or honorably discharged members of the United States armed forces who are attending basic law enforcement training, as outlined in subsection (a) of Code Section 35-8-9, to the extent that funds are appropriated for such purpose by the General Assembly. In the event sufficient funds are not appropriated for a fiscal year to fund the full cost provided

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for in this paragraph, then the amount which would otherwise be payable shall be reduced pro rata on the basis of the funds actually appropriated. As used in this paragraph, the terms 'cost' and 'costs' shall not include travel or salaries of service members undergoing training and shall be limited exclusively to the cost of tuition which is incurred in connection with such training if such cost or costs are not covered by any other resource available to such service member. Each active duty, retired, or honorably discharged service member undergoing this training shall have complied with the requirements set forth in Code Section 35-8-8. (4) To expend funds appropriated or otherwise available to the center for paying the costs of training provided under subsection (a) of Code Section 35-8-20, other than travel expenses and salaries of police chiefs or department heads of law enforcement units and wardens of state institutions undergoing training, and shall expend such funds for purposes of compensating a training officer to administer the course of training and conduct any business associated with the training provisions of said Code Section 35-8-20; (5) To expend funds appropriated or otherwise available to the center for paying the costs of training provided for under subsection (a) of Code Section 35-8-20.1, other than travel expenses and salaries of police chiefs or department heads of law enforcement units undergoing training, and shall expend such funds for purposes of compensating a training officer to administer the course of training and conduct any business associated with the training provisions of said Code Section 35-8-20.1; (6) To expend funds appropriated or otherwise available to the center for paying the costs of training provided for under Chapter 11 of Title 31 for the initial certification training and continued training as needed by emergency medical personnel and shall expend such funds for purposes of compensating a training officer to administer the course of training and conduct any business associated with the training provisions of said chapter; and (7) To administer and coordinate the training for communications officers with respect to the requirements of Code Section 35-8-23. The board shall be authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to facilitate the administration and coordination of training consistent with the provisions of said Code Section 35-8-23. The tuition costs of the training of communications officers shall be paid from funds appropriated to the center."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 25, 2022.

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MILITARY, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, AND VETERANS AFFAIRS RETIREMENT AND PENSIONS REVISES AMOUNTS RETAINED FROM
CHARGES IMPOSED ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELATED TO PROVISION OF 9-1-1 SERVICES AND PROVIDES FOR REMITTANCE TO PEACE OFFICERS' ANNUITY AND BENEFIT FUND; RENDERS CERTAIN CERTIFIED COMMUNICATIONS OFFICERS ELIGIBLE FOR FUND.

No. 650 (Senate Bill No. 84).

AN ACT

To amend Article 12 of Chapter 3 of Title 38 and Chapter 17 of Title 47 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Emergency Communications Authority, and the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund, respectively, so as to revise the amounts retained from charges imposed on certain telecommunications related to the provision of 9-1-1 services; to reduce the amount retained by the state and provide for retention and remittance to the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund; to provide that certain certified communications officers shall be eligible for membership in such fund; to provide for related matters; to provide conditions for an effective date and automatic repeal; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Article 12 of Chapter 3 of Title 38 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Emergency Communications Authority, is amended by revising Code Section 38-3-186, relating to contracting with Department of Revenue for collection and disbursement of charges remitted, and the collection and disbursement of prepaid wireless 9-1-1 charges, as follows:
"38-3-186. (a) The authority shall contract with the Department of Revenue for the collection and disbursement of charges remitted to the authority under subsection (a) of Code Section 38-3-185, other than prepaid wireless 9-1-1 charges under Code Section 46-5-134.2. Under such nonmonetary contract and to defray the cost of administering such collection and disbursement, the Department of Revenue shall receive payment equal to 0.25 percent of the total amount of the gross charges remitted to the authority under subsection (a) of Code Section 38-3-185, other than prepaid wireless 9-1-1 charges under Code Section 46-5-134.2.

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(b) The authority shall also contract with the Department of Revenue for the collection and disbursement of prepaid wireless 9-1-1 charges remitted to counties and municipalities under Code Section 46-5-134.2. Under such nonmonetary contract and to defray the cost of administering such collection and disbursement, the Department of Revenue shall receive payment equal to 0.25 percent of the total amount of the gross charges remitted to the authority or Department of Revenue under Code Section 46-5-134.2."

SECTION 2. Said article is further amended by revising Code Section 38-3-188, relating to retention of funds by the Department of Revenue and payments to local governments, as follows:
"38-3-188. (a) The Department of Revenue shall retain and remit from the total amount of funds collected by it from charges imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 38-3-185 and pursuant to Code Section 46-5-134.2 an amount equal to 1 percent to the authority and an amount equal to 0.75 percent of the total amount to the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund as further provided for in Code Section 47-17-63. (b) Except for the amounts retained by the authority, Department of Revenue, Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund, and service suppliers pursuant to Code Sections 38-3-186 and 46-5-134 and this Code section, the remainder of the charges remitted by service suppliers shall be paid by the Department of Revenue to each local government on a pro rata basis based on the remitted amounts attributable to each such local government reported by service suppliers in the reports required by subsection (b) of Code Section 38-3-185. Such payments shall be made by the Department of Revenue to such local governments not later than 30 days following the date charges must be remitted by service suppliers to the Department of Revenue pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 38-3-185. Under no circumstances shall such payments be, or be deemed to be, revenues of the state and such payments shall not be subject to or available for appropriation by the state for any purpose."

SECTION 3. Chapter 17 of Title 47 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund, is amended in paragraph (5) of Code Section 47-17-1, relating to definitions, by striking "and" at the end of subparagraph (K), by replacing the period and quotation mark with a quotation mark followed by "; and" at the end of subparagraph (L), and by adding the following:
"(M) Each communications officer, as such term is defined in Code Section 35-8-23, who is certified or maintains compliance with rules and regulations prescribed by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council with respect to such position."

SECTION 4. Said chapter is further amended by enacting a new Code section to read as follows:

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"47-17-63. The board, the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority, and the Department of Revenue shall coordinate to the extent necessary to ensure that the fund receives the amounts that it is owed pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 38-3-188."

SECTION 5. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022, only if it is determined to have been concurrently funded as provided in Chapter 20 of Title 47 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, the "Public Retirement Systems Standards Law"; otherwise, this Act shall not become effective and shall be automatically repealed in its entirety on July 1, 2022, as required by subsection (a) of Code Section 47-20-50.

SECTION 6. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 25, 2022.

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PROFESSIONS AND BUSINESSES EXEMPTS CERTIFIED PEACE OFFICERS EMPLOYED BY LICENSED PRIVATE DETECTIVE BUSINESSES OR PRIVATE SECURITY BUSINESS AS INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR FROM CERTAIN REGULATIONS.

No. 651 (House Bill No. 1441).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 38 of Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to operators of private detective businesses and private security businesses, so as to exempt a certified peace officer employed by a licensed private detective businesses or private security business as an independent contractor from requirements of such chapter; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 38 of Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to operators of private detective businesses and private security businesses, is amended by revising Code Section 43-38-7, relating to licensing of armed employees, qualifications, continuing education, fingerprints, license card, and suspension, as follows:

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"43-38-7. (a) Any employer may employ as many agents, guards, watchmen, or patrolmen as he or she deems necessary for the conduct of his or her business, provided that such employees meet the requirements and qualifications for licensure under this chapter.
(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, within 180 days of completing board mandated prelicensure training, potential licensees shall make application to be licensed with the board. (2) Any guard, watchman, or patrolman who will be unarmed and who will be employed in the private security business shall not be required to be licensed by the board but shall be governed by Code Section 43-38-7.1. (c)(1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of this Code section, upon being satisfied of the applicant's character, competency, and eligibility for licensure, the board may license such applicant if he or she:
(A) Is at least 18 years of age; (B) Is a citizen of the United States or a registered resident alien; (C) Is of good moral character; (D) Has not been convicted of a felony or any crime involving the illegal use, carrying, or possession of a dangerous weapon or any crime involving moral turpitude; provided, however, that, if the applicant has been convicted of such crime, or has entered a plea of nolo contendere to such crime, or has entered a plea pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 or otherwise been granted first offender treatment, the board may inquire into the nature of the crime, the date of conviction or plea, and other underlying facts and circumstances surrounding such criminal proceedings and, in its discretion, may allow the applicant to be licensed; (E) Has not committed an act constituting dishonesty or fraud; and (F) Meets such other qualifications as the board may prescribe by rule. (2) The board shall be authorized to require continuing education as a condition of renewal for all persons required to be licensed or registered with the board under this chapter. The board shall be authorized to promulgate rules and regulations addressing the requirement for continuing education and circumstances for which a waiver of this requirement may be granted. (d) The license application shall be made under oath and on a form to be furnished by the division director. The application shall state the applicant's full name, age, and date and place of birth; residences and employment within the past five years; experience in the position applied for or held; the date and place of conviction or arrest for any crime, including the entry of a plea of nolo contendere or the entry of a plea entered pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 or other first offender treatment; and such other information as the board may require. The license application shall be accompanied by two sets of fingerprints and one photograph of the applicant, two inches wide by three inches high, full face, and taken within six months prior to the application. The board shall have

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discretion to deny a license to any individual when the information and supporting documentation required by this subsection are not provided. (e) Upon granting a license pursuant to this Code section, the board shall so notify the licensee. An employer shall notify the board within 30 days of the hiring or termination of employment of any employee licensed under this Code section. (f) Upon receipt of a license card issued by the board pursuant to this chapter, the licensee shall maintain said card on his or her person at all times while on his or her post or at his or her place of employment and at all times when the licensee wears a uniform in the course of his or her employment in the private detective or private security business. (g) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Code section, any person who is to be licensed under this Code section shall agree that if such person makes a false statement in the application or if such person is found to have been convicted of a felony and has not had all his or her civil rights restored pursuant to law, then the board shall be authorized to suspend any license granted to such person without a prior hearing as required in Code Section 43-38-11. Upon request, any such person shall be entitled to a hearing on such matter subsequent to the suspension."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 43-38-14, relating to exceptions to operation of chapter and local regulation, as follows:
"43-38-14. (a) This chapter shall not apply to:
(1) An officer or employee of the United States of America or of this state or a political subdivision thereof while the employee or officer is engaged in the performance of official duties; (2) A person engaged in the business of furnishing information in connection with credit or marketing and a person or firm engaged as a consumer reporting agency, as defined by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act; (3) An attorney at law or a bona fide legal assistant in performing his or her duties; (4) Admitted insurers, agents, and insurance brokers licensed by the state while performing duties in connection with insurance transacted by them; (5) A firm engaged in the business of independent insurance claims adjusting whose employees hold a valid Georgia adjuster's license; (6) The employees of a firm identified in paragraph (5) of this subsection; or (7) Any person with a valid peace officer certification issued pursuant to Chapter 8 of Title 35, the 'Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Act,' who is employed by or works as an independent contractor for a licensed private security business or private detective business. (b) This chapter shall not prevent the local authorities of any municipality or county, by ordinance and within the exercise of the police power of such municipality or county, from imposing local regulations upon any street patrol, special officer, or person furnishing street

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patrol service, including regulations requiring registration with an agency to be designated by such municipality or county. (c) This chapter shall not apply to a person or corporation which employs persons who do private security work in connection with the affairs of such employer only and who have an employer-employee relationship with such employer. Neither such persons or corporations nor their employees shall be required to register or be licensed under this chapter, although such persons or corporations or their employees may elect to be licensed under this chapter."

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 25, 2022.

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REVENUE AND TAXATION GENERAL ASSEMBLY REVISES INCOME TAX RATES OVER TIME; REVISES PERSONAL EXEMPTIONS AND ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS; CREATES 2023 SPECIAL COUNCIL ON TAX REFORM AND FAIRNESS FOR GEORGIANS AND SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE ON GEORGIA REVENUE STRUCTURE.

No. 716 (House Bill No. 1437).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to income taxes, so as to revise the rates of taxation on income; to phase in such tax rate reductions over a period of time subject to certain annual determinations; to require the determination and reporting of certain information; to revise personal exemptions; to revise itemized deductions; to amend Title 28 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the General Assembly, so as to create the 2023 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians and the Special Joint Committee on Georgia Revenue Structure; to state legislative findings and intent; to amend an Act approved March 2, 2018 (Ga. L. 2018, p. 8), which reduced the highest personal and corporate income tax rates, so as to repeal certain contingent provisions; to revise certain effective dates and applicability; to make conforming changes; to provide for related matters; to provide for a short title; to provide for effective dates and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

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PART I SECTION 1-1.

This Act shall be known and may be cited as the "Tax Reduction and Reform Act of 2022."

PART II SECTION 2-1.

Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to income taxes, is amended by revising Code Section 48-7-20, relating to individual income tax rates, credit for withholding and other payments, and applicability to estates and trusts, as follows:
"48-7-20. (a) A tax is imposed upon every resident of this state with respect to the Georgia taxable net income of the taxpayer as defined in Code Section 48-7-27. A tax is imposed upon every nonresident with respect to such nonresident's Georgia taxable net income not otherwise exempted which is received by the taxpayer from services performed, property owned, proceeds of any lottery prize awarded by the Georgia Lottery Corporation, or from business carried on in this state. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the tax imposed by this subsection shall be levied, collected, and paid annually.
(a.1)(1) On and after January 1, 2024, the tax imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section shall be at the rates provided in subsection (a.2) of this Code section for each respective tax year; provided, however, that the actual rates for a given year tax year shall be subject to delays as provided in this subsection. (2) Each prospective change in the tax rates that would otherwise occur as provided in paragraphs (2) through (6) of subsection (a.2) of this Code section shall be delayed by one year for each year that any of the following are true as of December 1:
(A) The Governor's revenue estimate for the succeeding fiscal year is not at least 3 percent above the Governor's revenue estimate for the present fiscal year; (B) The prior fiscal year's net revenue collection was not higher than each of the preceding five fiscal years' net tax revenue collection; or (C) The Revenue Shortfall Reserve provided for in Code Section 45-12-93 does not contain a sum that exceeds the amount of the decrease in state revenue projected to occur as a result of the prospective reduction in the tax rates set to occur the following year. (3) The Office of Planning and Budget shall make the determinations necessary to implement the provisions of paragraph (2) of this subsection and shall report its determinations by December 1 of each year to the department, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, and the chairpersons of the House Appropriations Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee. This paragraph shall not

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be applicable after the final reduction in the rates occurs as provided in paragraph (6) of subsection (a.2) of this Code section. (a.2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (a.1) of this Code section: (1) For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2024, the tax imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section shall be levied at the rate of 5.49 percent; (2) For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2025, the tax imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section shall be levied at the rate of 5.39 percent; (3) For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2026, the tax imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section shall be levied at the rate of 5.29 percent; (4) For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2027, the tax imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section shall be levied at the rate of 5.19 percent; (5) For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2028, the tax imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section shall be levied at the rate of 5.09 percent; and (6) For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2029, the tax imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section shall be levied at the rate of 4.99 percent. (b)(1) Reserved. (2) To facilitate the computation of the tax by those taxpayers whose federal adjusted gross income together with the adjustments set out in Code Section 48-7-27 for use in arriving at Georgia taxable net income is less than $10,000.00, the commissioner may construct tax tables which may be used by the taxpayers at their option. The tax shown to be due by the tables shall be computed on the bases of the standard deduction and the tax rates specified in paragraph (1) of this subsection. Insofar as practicable, the tables shall produce a tax approximately equivalent to the tax imposed by paragraph (1) of this subsection. (c) The amount deducted and withheld by an employer from the wages of an employee pursuant to Article 5 of this chapter, relating to current income tax payments, shall be allowed the employee as a credit against the tax imposed by this Code section. Amounts paid by an individual as estimated tax under Article 5 of this chapter shall constitute payments on account of the tax imposed by this Code section. The amount withheld or paid during any calendar year shall be allowed as a credit or payment for the taxable year beginning in the calendar year in which the amount is withheld or paid. (d) The tax imposed by this Code section applies to the Georgia taxable net income of estates and trusts, which shall be computed in the same manner as in the case of a single individual. The tax shall be computed on the Georgia taxable net income and shall be paid by the fiduciary."

SECTION 2-2. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (b) of Code Section 48-7-26, relating to personal exemptions from income tax, as follows:
"(b) Each taxpayer shall be allowed as a deduction in computing his or her Georgia taxable income a personal exemption in an amount as follows:

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(1) For each married couple filing a joint return: (A) For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2024, $18,500.00; (B) For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2026, $20,000.00; (C) For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2028, $22,000.00; or (D) For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2030, $24,000.00;
(2) For each married taxpayer filing a separate return, one-half of the amount of the personal exemption allowed under paragraph (1) of this subsection for the given year; (3) For each single taxpayer or head of household, $12,000.00; and (4) For each dependent of a taxpayer, $3,000.00."

SECTION 2-3. Said chapter is further amended in subsection (a) of Code Section 48-7-27, relating to computation of state taxable net income, by adding a new paragraph and revising paragraph (1) and subparagraph (E) of paragraph (5) as follows:
"(1) The sum of all itemized nonbusiness deductions used in computing such taxpayer's federal taxable income;"
"(E)(i) For the purposes of this paragraph, retirement income shall include but not be limited to income from military retirement, interest income, dividend income, net income from rental property, capital gains income, income from royalties, income from pensions and annuities, and no more than $5,000.00 of an individual's earned income. Earned income in excess of $5,000.00, including but not limited to net business income earned by an individual from any trade or business carried on by such individual, wages, salaries, tips, and other employer compensation, shall not be regarded as retirement income. The receipt of earned income shall not diminish any taxpayer's eligibility for the retirement income exclusions allowed by this paragraph except to the extent of the express limitation provided in this division. (ii) Any income received by a surviving family member that is based on the service record of a deceased veteran shall be excluded from Georgia taxable net income without regard to the age of the surviving family member."

SECTION 2-4. Said chapter is further amended in said Code section by revising paragraph (3) of subsection (b) as follows:
"(3) There shall be added to taxable income any amount deducted pursuant to Section 164 of the Internal Revenue Code in determining federal taxable income that exceeds the following:
(A) For a single taxpayer, a taxpayer filing as head-of-household, or a married taxpayer filing jointly, $10,000.00; or (B) For a married taxpayer filing separately, $5,000.00."

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PART III SECTION 3-1.

Title 28 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the General Assembly, is amended by adding a new chapter to read as follows:

"CHAPTER 12

28-12-1. On or before May 1, 2023, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Committee on Finance shall jointly undertake a thorough review of any and all state tax credits, deductions, and exemptions. No later than December 1, 2023, said committees shall submit a report of their findings and recommendations to the presiding officers of their respective chambers."

PART IV SECTION 4-1.

An Act approved March 2, 2018 (Ga. L. 2018, p. 8), which reduced the highest personal and corporate income tax rates, is amended by repealing and reserving Sections 1-3 and 1-5 of said Act and by revising Section 3-1 as follows:

"SECTION 3-1. (a)(1) Section 1-1 of this Act shall become effective upon the approval of this Act by the Governor or upon this Act becoming law without such approval and such section shall be applicable to all taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2017; provided, however, that Code Section 48-1-2 as amended by Section 1-1 of this Act shall be amended by revisions contained in Acts approved by the Governor or that became or become law without such approval after March 2, 2018, and became or become applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2017. (2) Section 1-6 of this Act shall become effective upon the approval of this Act by the Governor or upon this Act becoming law without such approval and such section shall be applicable to all taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2017; provided, however, that the revisions to Code Section 48-7-21 made by Section 1-6 of this Act shall be subject to the revisions made by Acts approved by the Governor or that became or become law without such approval after March 2, 2018, and became or become applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2017. (3) Section 1-8 of this Act shall become effective upon the approval of this Act by the Governor or upon this Act becoming law without such approval and such section shall be applicable to all taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2017; provided, however, that the revisions to Code Section 48-7-27 made by Section 1-8 of this Act shall

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be subject to the revisions made by Acts approved by the Governor or that became or become law without such approval after March 2, 2018, and became or become applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2017. (b)(1) Section 1-2 of this Act shall become effective upon the approval of this Act by the Governor or upon this Act becoming law without such approval and shall be applicable to all taxable years beginning on January 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2019; provided, however, that the revisions to Code Section 48-7-20 made by Section 1-2 of this Act shall be subject to the revisions made by Acts approved by the Governor or that became or become law without such approval after March 2, 2018, and became or become applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2020. (2) Section 1-4 of this Act shall become effective upon the approval of this Act by the Governor or upon this Act becoming law without such approval and shall be applicable to all taxable years beginning on January 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2019; provided, however, that the revisions to Code Section 48-7-21 made by Section 1-4 of this Act shall be subject to the revisions made by Acts approved by the Governor or that became or become law without such approval after March 2, 2018, and became or become applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2020. (c) Reserved. (d) Section 1-7 of this Act shall become effective upon the approval of this Act by the Governor or upon this Act becoming law without such approval and shall be applicable to all taxable years beginning on January 1, 2018, and ending December 31, 2019; provided, however, that the revisions to Code Section 48-7-27 made by Section 1-7 of this Act shall be subject to the revisions made by Acts approved by the Governor or that became or become law without such approval after March 2, 2018, and became or become applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2020. (e) Section 1-9 of this Act shall become effective upon the approval of this Act by the Governor or upon this Act becoming law without such approval; provided, however, that: (1) The revisions to subsection (c) of Code Section 48-7-42 contained in Section 1-9 of this Act shall be applicable to tax credits that are assigned in taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2018; provided, however, that such revisions shall be subject to the revisions made by Acts approved by the Governor or that became or become law without such approval after March 2, 2018, and became or become applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2018; and (2) The revisions to subsection (g) of Code Section 48-7-42 contained in Section 1-9 of this Act shall be applicable to sales, mergers, acquisitions, or bankruptcies occurring in taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2018; provided, however, that such revisions shall be subject to the revisions made by Acts approved by the Governor or that became or become law without such approval after March 2, 2018, and became or become applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2018. (f) Part II of this Act shall become effective July 1, 2018; provided, however, that the revisions to Code Section 48-5C-1 made by Part II of this Act shall be subject to the

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revisions made by Acts approved by the Governor or that became or become law without such approval after March 2, 2018. (g) Part III of this Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon becoming law without such approval; provided, however, that Part III of this Act shall be subject to the revisions made by Acts approved by the Governor or that became or become law without such approval after March 2, 2018."

PART V SECTION 5-1.

(a) This Act shall become effective upon the approval of this Act by the Governor or upon this Act becoming law without such approval; provided, however, that Part II of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2024, and shall be applicable to all taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2024. (b) Tax, penalty, and interest liabilities and refund eligibility for prior taxable years shall not be affected by the passage of this Act and shall continue to be governed by the provisions of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated as they existed for such prior taxable years.

SECTION 5-2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 26, 2022.

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COURTS LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND AGENCIES STATE GOVERNMENT REESTABLISHES CRIMINAL CASE DATA EXCHANGE BOARD AS ADVISORY BOARD TO COUNCIL OF SUPERIOR COURT CLERKS OF GEORGIA; PROVIDES FOR DUTIES AND OTHER MATTERS REGARDING COUNCIL; PROVIDES GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION WITH ORIGINAL JURISDICTION TO INVESTIGATE ELECTION FRAUD AND ELECTION CRIMES.

No. 717 (Senate Bill No. 441).

AN ACT

To amend Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to courts in general, so as to provide for the reestablishment of the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board as an advisory board to The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia; to provide for membership, selection of officers, meetings, and duties of such board; to provide for continuation in office of current members; to provide for duties of The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia; to provide for transmission of data to the Georgia Crime Information Center; to provide for definitions; to provide for implementation; to provide that a superior court shall ensure that its operations do not conflict with the uniform standards issued by The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia; to provide for annual reports by the council detailing activities and progress of groups within the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board; to amend Title 35 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to law enforcement officers and agencies, so as to provide the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with original jurisdiction to investigate election fraud and election crimes; to provide the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with subpoena power to further such investigations; to provide for penalty; to provide for compliance with data transmission requirements; to repeal provisions concerning the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board; to provide for required reports; to amend Chapter 25 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Georgia Technology Authority, so as to provide for release of funds from the technology empowerment fund, subject to certain conditions; to provide for legislative findings and intent; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

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SECTION 1. (a) The General Assembly finds that:
(1) The state's current system for sharing criminal case data is not adequate to provide to all appropriately interested parties, including, but not limited to, law enforcement agencies and officers, courts, crime victims and other impacted individuals, housing providers, and employers, complete criminal case data; (2) One recent report indicates there may be as many as 7 million criminal charges without a final disposition indicated, and, of those, as many as 5.4 million criminal charges have languished for years; (3) Georgia's citizens and businesses are harmed by incomplete criminal case data. For example, in thousands of cases, as a result of incomplete criminal case data, citizens' employability and housing opportunities have been negatively impacted; and (4) A more uniform, modern system and framework for handling criminal case data will support the state in meeting its obligations to victims to keep them informed as their perpetrators make their way through the criminal justice system. (b) It is the intent of the General Assembly that criminal case data be complete and accurately reported to the appropriate state data base and be accessible to state and local criminal justice agencies, employers, housing providers, victims, and all citizens.

SECTION 2. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the "Criminal Records Responsibility Act."

SECTION 3. Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to courts in general, is amended in Article 1 of Chapter 6, relating to general provisions for superior courts, by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 15-6-11, relating to electronic filings of pleadings and documents, electronic payments and remittances, access, and public disclosure, as follows:
"(a)(1) Pursuant to rules promulgated by the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board, in effect on June 30, 2022, a superior court shall provide for the filing of pleadings in criminal cases and any other document related thereto and for the acceptance of payments and remittances by electronic means. (2) The Council of Superior Court Clerks shall submit the uniform standards adopted by the board pursuant to paragraph (5) of subsection (h) of Code Section 15-6-50.3 to the Council of Superior Court Judges. The chief superior court judge of each judicial circuit shall assist the superior court clerk with the implementation of such uniform standards. A superior court judge may order any party to provide data needed by the clerk to facilitate transmission of data."

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SECTION 4. Said title is further amended in Article 2 of Chapter 6, relating to clerks of superior courts, by adding new subsections to Code Section 15-6-50.2, relating to The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia, to read as follows:
"(f) The council shall issue uniform standards not inconsistent with the uniform standards promulgated by the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board pursuant to Code Section 15-6-50.3. (g) By January 15 of each year, the council shall prepare a report detailing the activities of the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board and the progress of the represented groups within the board's membership to effect the uniform standards prescribed in paragraph (5) of subsection (h) of Code Section 15-6-50.3 for the previous year. Such report shall be transmitted electronically or mailed to the office of the chairs of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Judiciary and to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia no later than January 15 of each year."

SECTION 5. Said title is further amended in Article 2 of Chapter 6, relating to clerks of superior courts, by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"15-6-50.3. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Board' shall mean the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board. (2) 'Predecessor board' shall mean the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board, which was established as a board to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council in 2018 by an Act of the General Assembly. (b) The Criminal Case Data Exchange Board is reestablished as an advisory board to The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia. (c) The board shall consist of 19 members as follows: (1) The executive director of The Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia, the executive director of The Council of State Court Judges of Georgia, the executive director of The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia, the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council, the chairperson of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, the commissioner of corrections, the commissioner of community supervision, the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the director of the Office of Planning and Budget, the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, the chief information officer of the Georgia Technology Authority, the executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association, and the executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, provided that any such member may allow a designee to represent him or her at a board meeting and vote in his or her stead; and (2) Six members, one of whom is a superior court judge, one of whom is a state court judge, one of whom is a clerk of a superior court, one of whom is a district attorney, one

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of whom is a sheriff of a county, and one of whom is a police chief of a municipality, shall be appointed by the Governor for terms of four years; provided, however, that any person who, as of June 30, 2022, was serving as a member of the predecessor board pursuant to an appointment by the Governor shall continue to serve as a member of the board for the remainder of the term of such appointment; and provided, further, that no person shall serve beyond the time he or she holds the office by reason of which he or she was initially eligible for appointment. (d) In the event of death, resignation, disqualification, or removal of any member of the board for any reason, vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment and successors shall serve for the unexpired term. (e) Membership on the board shall not constitute public office, and no member shall be disqualified from holding public office by reason of his or her membership on the board. (f) The board shall elect a chairperson from among its membership and may elect such other officers and committees as it considers appropriate. (g) Members of the board shall serve without compensation, although each member of the board shall be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in the performance of his or her duties from funds available to The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia. Such reimbursement shall be limited to all travel and other expenses necessarily incurred through service on the board, in compliance with this state's travel rules and regulations; provided, however, that in no case shall a member of the board be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the member's capacity as the representative of another state agency. (h) The board shall: (1) Meet no less than quarterly at such times and places as it shall determine necessary or convenient to perform its duties and also upon the call of the chairperson of the board, a designee of The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia, or the Governor; (2) Maintain minutes of its meetings; (3) Participate in the review and improvement of this state's criminal case data exchange and management system; (4) Using the combined expertise and experience of its members, provide regular advice and counsel to The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia to enable such council and its members to carry out its statutory duties under this article; (5) By January 1, 2023, promulgate uniform standards for the creation and transmission of electronic criminal history data by and between local and state criminal justice agencies. Such data shall include arrests; indictments, accusations, information, and other formal charges; and final dispositions arising therefrom, including, but not limited to, convictions; (6) By September 1, 2022, prepare a report on the board's progress in developing uniform standards pursuant to paragraph (5) of this subsection and an initial draft of such uniform standards. Such report shall be transmitted electronically or mailed to the office of the chairs of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Judiciary; the chairs of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House Committee on

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Appropriations; and to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia no later than September 1, 2022; (7) Make recommendations for the improvement of criminal history data sharing for the benefit of the public, employers, and law enforcement; (8) Carry out such duties that may be required by federal law or regulation so as to enable this state to receive and disburse federal funds for criminal case data exchange and management; and (9) By November 1, 2022, after having conducted a comprehensive review of automated victim notification systems, make a recommendation for adoption of an automated system in Georgia that provides for individualized notification to victims of certain occurrences in each case involving the victim, including, but not limited to, occurrences of arrest, pre-trial release, court hearings, and sentencing. Such system shall also be able to reconcile individuals' criminal data at all steps of the data exchange process. Such recommendation and any accompanying report shall be transmitted to the director of the Georgia Crime Information Center, the executive director of the Georgia Sheriff's Association, and the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council and be available to all members of the board. Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to limit or otherwise prevent criminal justice agencies from improving the organization of their respective data or developing and implementing, individually or collectively, an automated victim notification system for crime victims in this state during or after the time the comprehensive review of automated victim notification systems is being conducted. (i) Public access to data that are collected or transmitted via the criminal case information exchange shall remain the responsibility of the Georgia Crime Information Center. No release of collected data shall be made by or through the Georgia Technology Authority."

SECTION 6. Said title is further amended in Article 2 of Chapter 6, relating to clerks of superior courts, by revising subparagraph (a)(4)(B) and paragraph (18) of subsection (a) of Code Section 15-6-61, relating to duties of clerks generally and computerized record-keeping system, as follows:
"(B) An automated criminal case management system which shall contain a summary record of all criminal indictments in which true bills are rendered and all criminal accusations filed in the office of clerk of superior court in accordance with rules promulgated by The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia. The criminal case management system shall contain entries of other matters of a criminal nature filed with the clerk, including quasi-civil proceedings and entries of cases which are ordered dead docketed. When a case is dead docketed, all witnesses who may have been subpoenaed therein shall be released from further attendance until resubpoenaed; and" "(18) To electronically collect all data elements required pursuant to subsection (g) of Code Section 35-3-36, and such clerk of superior court shall transmit such data to the

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Georgia Crime Information Center, in a form and format required by and consistent with uniform standards issued by The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia, which shall provide the data to the Administrative Office of the Courts for use by the state judicial branch upon request. Public access to said data shall remain the responsibility of only the Georgia Crime Information Center;"

SECTION 7. Said title is further amended in Article 1 of Chapter 7, relating to general provisions for state courts of counties, by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 15-7-5, relating to electronic filings of pleadings and documents, electronic payments and remittances, access, and public disclosure, as follows:
"(a)(1) Pursuant to rules promulgated by the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board in effect on June 30, 2022, a state court shall provide for the filing of pleadings in criminal cases and any other document related thereto and for the acceptance of payments and remittances by electronic means. (2) The Council of Superior Court Clerks shall submit the uniform standards adopted by the board pursuant to paragraph (5) of subsection (h) of Code Section 15-6-50.3 to the Council of State Court Judges. The chief state court judge of each county shall assist the state court clerk with the implementation of such uniform standards. A state court judge may order any party to provide data needed by the clerk to facilitate transmission of data."

SECTION 8. Said title is further amended in Article 1 of Chapter 18, relating to general provisions for prosecuting attorneys, by revising Code Section 15-18-6, relating to duties of district attorney, as follows:
"15-18-6. The duties of the district attorneys within their respective circuits are:
(1) To attend each session of the superior courts unless excused by the judge thereof and to remain until the business of the state is disposed of; (2) To attend on the grand juries, advise them in relation to matters of law, and swear and examine witnesses before them; (3) To administer the oaths the laws require to the grand and trial jurors and to the bailiffs or other officers of the court and otherwise to aid the presiding judge in organizing the courts as he may require; (4) To draw up all indictments or presentments, when requested by the grand jury, and to prosecute all indictable offenses; (5) To prosecute civil actions to enforce any civil penalty set forth in Code Section 40-6-163 and to prosecute or defend any other civil action in the prosecution or defense of which the state is interested, unless otherwise specially provided for;

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(6) To attend before the appellate courts when any criminal case emanating from their respective circuits is tried, to argue the same, and to perform any other duty therein which the interest of the state may require; (7) To advise law enforcement officers concerning the sufficiency of evidence, warrants, and similar matters relating to the investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses; (8) To collect all money due the state in the hands of any escheators and to pay it over to the educational fund, if necessary, compelling payment by rule or order of court or other legal means; (9) To collect all claims of the state which they may be ordered to collect by the state revenue commissioner and to remit the same within 30 days after collection; and on October 1 of every year to report to the state revenue commissioner the condition of the claims in their hands in favor of the state, particularly specifying:
(A) The amounts collected and paid, from what sources received and for what purposes, and to whom paid; (B) What claims are unpaid and why; (C) What judgments have been obtained, when, and in what court; and (D) What actions are instituted, in what courts, and their present progress and future prospects; (10) To ensure disposition information is submitted in accordance with subsection (g) of Code Section 35-3-36 when a final disposition decision is made by a district attorney; (11) To assist victims and witnesses of crimes through the complexities of the criminal justice system and ensure that the victims of crimes are apprised of the rights afforded them under the law; and (12) To perform such other duties as are or may be required by law or which necessarily appertain to their office."

SECTION 9. Said title is further amended in Article 3 of Chapter 18, relating to solicitors-general of the state courts, by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 15-18-66, relating to duties and authority, as follows:
"(a) The duties of the solicitors-general within their respective counties are: (1) To attend each session of the state court when criminal cases are to be heard unless excused by the judge thereof and to remain until the business of the state is disposed of; (2) To administer the oaths required by law to the bailiffs or other officers of the court and otherwise to aid the presiding judge in organizing the court as may be necessary; (3) To file accusations on such criminal cases deemed prosecutable and, subject to paragraph (10) of subsection (b) of this Code section, to prosecute all accused offenses; (4) To ensure disposition information is submitted in accordance with subsection (g) of Code Section 35-3-36 when a final disposition decision is made by a solicitor-general;

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(5) To attend before the appellate courts when any criminal case in which the solicitor-general represents the state is heard, to argue the same, and to perform any other duty therein which the interest of the state may require; and (6) To perform such other duties as are or may be required by law or which necessarily appertain to their office."

SECTION 10. Title 35 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to law enforcement officers and agencies, is amended in Code Section 35-3-4, relating to powers and duties of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation generally, by revising subsection (a) as follows:
"(a) It shall be the duty of the bureau to: (1) Take, receive, and forward fingerprints, photographs, descriptions, and measurements of persons in cooperation with the bureaus and departments of other states and of the United States; (2) Exchange information relating to crime and criminals; (3) Keep permanent files and records of such information procured or received; (4) Provide for the scientific investigation of articles used in committing crimes or articles, fingerprints, or bloodstains found at the scene of a crime; (5) Provide for the testing and identification of weapons and projectiles fired therefrom; (6) Acquire, collect, classify, and preserve any information which would assist in the identification of any deceased individual who has not been identified after the discovery of such deceased individual; (7) Acquire, collect, classify, and preserve immediately any information which would assist in the location of any missing person, including any minor, and provide confirmation as to any entry for such a person to the parent, legal guardian, or next of kin of that person and the bureau shall acquire, collect, classify, and preserve such information from such parent, guardian, or next of kin; (8) Exchange such records and information as provided in paragraphs (6) and (7) of this subsection with, and for the official use of, authorized officials of the federal government, the states, cities, counties, and penal and other institutions. With respect to missing minors, such information shall be transmitted immediately to other law enforcement agencies; (9) Identify and investigate violations of Article 4 of Chapter 7 of Title 16; (10) Identify and investigate violations of Part 2 of Article 3 of Chapter 12 of Title 16, relating to offenses related to minors; (11) Identify and investigate violations of Article 8 of Chapter 9 of Title 16; (12) Identify and investigate violations of Article 5 of Chapter 8 of Title 16; (13) Identify and investigate violations of Code Section 16-5-46; (14) Identify and investigate violations of Article 8 of Chapter 5 of Title 16; (15)(A) Upon request, provide to the board an analysis of criminal history record information to assist the board in determining a sexual offender's risk assessment

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classification in accordance with the board's duties as specified in Code Section 42-1-14. (B) As used in this paragraph, the term:
(I) 'Board' means the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board. (ii) 'Criminal history record information' has the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 35-3-30. (iii) 'Risk assessment classification' means the level into which a sexual offender is placed based on the board's assessment. (iv) 'Sexual offender' has the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 42-1-12; (16) Identify and investigate violations of Chapter 2 of Title 21 involving elections which if established are sufficient to change or place in doubt the results of an election; and (17) Attorneys employed by the Legal Division of the bureau may serve at the request of a district attorney, solicitor-general, or United States Attorney in the prosecution of any civil or criminal case within the jurisdiction of such district attorney, solicitor-general, or United States Attorney and, while providing such assistance to such district attorney, solicitor-general, or United States Attorney, such attorneys shall have the same authority and power as an attorney employed by such district attorney, solicitor-general, or United States Attorney."

SECTION 11. Said title is further amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"35-3-4.5. (a) In any investigation of a violation of Chapter 2 of Title 21 involving elections, the director, assistant director, or deputy director for investigations shall be authorized to issue a subpoena, with the consent of the Attorney General, to compel the production of books, papers, documents, or other tangible items, including records and documents contained within or generated by a computer or any other electronic device, unless such records are wholly owned by the federal government, and to undertake, at the discretion of the bureau, an audit of materials produced in response to such subpoena in a form deemed necessary by the bureau. (b) Upon failure of a person without lawful excuse to obey a subpoena, the director, assistant director, or deputy director for investigations, through the prosecuting attorney, may apply to a superior court having jurisdiction for an order compelling compliance. Such person may object to the subpoena on the grounds that it fails to comply with this Code section or upon any constitutional or other legal right or privilege of such person. The court may issue an order modifying or setting aside such subpoena or directing compliance with the original subpoena. Failure to obey a subpoena issued under this Code section may be punished by the court as contempt of court."

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SECTION 12. Said title is further amended by revising subsection (b) of Code Section 35-3-32, relating to establishment of council, composition, and duties and responsibilities of the Georgia Crime Information Center Council generally, as follows:
"(b) The duties and responsibilities of the council are to: (1) Advise and assist in the establishment of policies under which the center is to be operated; (2) Advise and assist in updating the policies under which the center is to be operated, to the extent that such policies are necessary to comply with the uniform standards promulgated pursuant to paragraph (5) of subsection (h) of Code Section 15-6-50.3 issued by The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia; (3) Ensure that the information obtained pursuant to this article shall be restricted to the items specified in this article and ensure that the center is administered so as not to accumulate any information or distribute any information that is not specifically approved in this article; (4) Ensure that adequate security safeguards are incorporated so that the data available through this system is used only by properly authorized persons and agencies; (5) Establish appropriate disciplinary measures to be taken by the center in the instance of violations of data reporting or dissemination of laws, rules, and regulations by criminal justice agencies or members thereof covered by this article; and (6) Establish other policies which provide for the efficient and effective use and operation of the center under the limitations imposed by the terms of this article."

SECTION 13. Said title is further amended by adding a new paragraph to subsection (a) of Code Section 35-3-33, relating to powers and duties of the Georgia Crime Information Center generally, to read as follows:
"(16.1) Provide at least quarterly to each clerk of superior court in this state, and upon request by any such clerk, a report detailing the number of open criminal charges, time expired restricted charges, and closed criminal charges for each county, respectively. Such report shall also be provided to any judge or prosecuting attorney of this state, upon request. Such report may be transmitted electronically or by mail in the discretion of the director of the center."

SECTION 14. Said title is further amended by revising subsection (g) of Code Section 35-3-36, relating to duties of state criminal justice agencies as to submission of fingerprints, photographs, and other identifying data to center and responsibility for accuracy, as follows:
"(g)(1) Criminal justice agencies within this state, all persons in charge of law enforcement agencies, clerks of court, municipal judges when such judges do not have a clerk, magistrates, persons in charge of community supervision, juvenile probation, or

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Article 6 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 probation offices, and the State Board of Pardons and Paroles shall transmit to the center the information described in Code Section 35-3-33 within 30 days of the creation or receipt of such information, except as provided in subsection (d) of this Code section, on the basis of the forms and instructions to be provided by the center. Such forms and instructions shall not be inconsistent with the uniform standards promulgated pursuant to paragraph (5) of subsection (h) of Code Section 15-6-50.3 issued by The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia. (2) Compliance with the provisions in paragraph (1) of this subsection is mandatory, regardless of whether the center requests the information described in Code Section 35-3-33."

SECTION 15. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 35-6A-2, relating to creation of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, assignment to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and definitions, as follows:
"35-6A-2. (a) There is established the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of the State of Georgia which is assigned to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for administrative purposes only, as prescribed in Code Section 50-4-3. (b) As used in this chapter, the term 'council' means the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council."

SECTION 16. Said title is further amended by repealing Code Section 35-6A-13, relating to the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board, membership, and operation.

SECTION 17. Said title is further amended in Chapter 6A by repealing Code Section 35-6A-14, relating to role of the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board and public access.

SECTION 18. Chapter 25 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Georgia Technology Authority, is amended by adding a new subsection to Code Section 50-25-7.1, relating to technology empowerment fund, appropriations, initiatives, and steering committee, to read as follows:
"(e) Upon enactment of enforceable uniform standards for the submission of electronic records to the Georgia Crime Information Center promulgated by The Council of Superior Court Clerks of Georgia, and subject to the availability of appropriations and moneys otherwise available to the authority, the authority is authorized to release funds from the technology empowerment fund for the purpose of installing or upgrading criminal justice information systems to be used by criminal justice agencies for complying with their

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respective obligations to provide information and data to the Georgia Crime Information Center."

SECTION 19. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 27, 2022.

__________

EDUCATION PARENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS.
No. 718 (House Bill No. 1178).
AN ACT
To amend Part 5 of Article 16 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to review of removal of students in elementary and secondary education, so as to provide for the protection of the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their minor children from undue infringement by a state or local government entity, local board of education or other governing body, or any officer, employee, or agent thereof; to provide for a short title; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for definitions; to require school and school system governing bodies to adopt policies or regulations that promote parental involvement in public schools; to provide for policy or regulation requirements; to provide for a process by which parents shall have access to certain information; to provide for appeals; to provide for construction; to prohibit certain waivers; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
SECTION 1. Part 5 of Article 16 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to review of removal of students in elementary and secondary education, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"20-2-786. (a) This Code section shall be known and may be cited as the 'Parents' Bill of Rights.' (b) The General Assembly finds that it is a fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their minor children. The General Assembly further finds that important information relating to a minor child should not be withheld, either inadvertently

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or purposefully, from his or her parent, including information relating to the minor child's education. (c) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Governing body' shall have the same meaning as provided in subsection (a) of Code Section 20-2-167.1. (2) 'Instructional material' means instructional materials and content, as defined by the State Board of Education pursuant to Code Section 20-2-1010, and locally approved instructional materials and content, as defined in subsection (a) of Code Section 20-2-1017. (3) 'Minor child' means a person who is less than 18 years of age and who has not been emancipated by operation of law or by court order pursuant to Code Section 15-11-727 or as otherwise provided by law. (4) 'Parent' means a person who has legal authority to act on behalf of a minor child as a natural or adoptive parent or a legal guardian. (5) 'Review period' means the first two weeks of each nine-week grading period of the school year; provided, however, that for schools that do not implement nine-week grading periods, the term 'review period' means the first two weeks of each grading period of the school year. (d) No state or local government entity, governing body, or any officer, employee, or agent thereof may infringe on the fundamental right of a parent to direct the upbringing and education of his or her minor child without demonstrating that such action is reasonable and necessary to achieve a compelling state interest and that such action is narrowly tailored and is not otherwise served by less restrictive means. (e)(1) All parental rights are reserved to the parent of a minor child in this state without obstruction or interference from a state or local government entity, governing body, or any officer, employee, or agent thereof, including, but not limited to:
(A) The right to direct the upbringing and the moral or religious training of his or her minor child; (B) The right to review all instructional materials intended for use in the classroom of his or her minor child; (C) The right to apply to enroll his or her minor child in a public school or, as an alternative to public education, a private school, including a religious school, a home study program, or other available options, as authorized by law and subject to applicable enrollment requirements; (D) The right to access and review all records relating to his or her minor child, including, but not limited to, current grade reports and attendance records, unless otherwise prohibited by law; (E) The right to access information relating to promotion and retention policies and high school graduation requirements;

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(F) The right to provide written notice that photographs or video or voice recordings of his or her child are not permitted, subject to applicable public safety and security exceptions; and
(G)(i) The right to request, in writing, from the local school superintendent or school principal the information provided for in this Code section. The local school superintendent or school principal shall produce such information for inspection within a reasonable amount of time not to exceed three business days of receipt of a request. In those instances where some, but not all, information requested is available for inspection within three business days, the local school superintendent or school principal shall make available within that period such information that is available for inspection. In any instance where some or all of such information is unavailable within three business days of receipt of the request, and such information exists, the local school superintendent or school principal shall, within such time period, provide the requester with a description of such information and a timeline for when the information will be available for inspection and shall provide the information or access thereto as soon as practicable but in no case later than 30 days of receipt of the request. (ii) If the local school superintendent or school principal denies a parent's request for information or does not provide existing responsive information within 30 days, the parent may appeal such denial or failure to respond to the governing body. The governing body must place such appeal on the agenda for its next public meeting. If it is too late for such appeal to appear on the next meeting's agenda, the appeal must be included on the agenda for the subsequent meeting. (iii) A parent aggrieved by the decision of the governing body may appeal such decision to the State Board of Education as provided in subsection (b) of Code Section 20-2-1160. (2) Unless such rights have been waived or terminated as provided by law, parents have inalienable rights that are more comprehensive than those listed in paragraph (1) of this subsection. This Code section does not prescribe all rights of parents. Unless otherwise required by law, the rights of a parent of a minor child shall not be limited or denied. (f) Each governing body shall, in consultation with parents, teachers, and administrators, develop and adopt a policy or regulation to promote parental involvement in the public schools. Such policy or regulation shall be posted on each governing body's public website, and a copy of such policy or regulation shall be available for review on site upon request by a parent. Such policy or regulation shall include: (1) Procedures for a parent to review records relating to his or her minor child; (2)(A) Procedures for a parent to learn about his or her minor child's courses of study, including, but not limited to, parental access to instructional materials intended for use in the classroom. Instructional materials intended for use in his or her minor child's classroom shall be made available for parental review during the review period. If such instructional materials are not made available by a school or local school system for

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review online, then they shall be made available for review on site upon a parent's request made during the review period. (B) Procedures for a parent to object to instructional materials intended for use in his or her minor child's classroom or recommended by his or her minor child's teacher; (3) Procedures for a parent to withdraw his or her minor child from the school's prescribed course of study in sex education if the parent provides a written objection to his or her minor child's participation. Such procedures must provide for a parent to be notified in advance of such course content so that he or she may withdraw his or her minor child from the course; and (4) Procedures for a parent to provide written notice that photographs or video or voice recordings of his or her child are not permitted, subject to applicable public safety and security exceptions. (g) This Code section does not and shall not be construed to: (1) Authorize a parent of a minor child in this state to engage in conduct that is unlawful or to abuse or neglect his or her minor child in violation of the law; (2) Prohibit a judge or officer of a court of competent jurisdiction, law enforcement officer, or any agent of a state or local government entity that is responsible for child welfare from acting in his or her official capacity within the reasonable and prudent scope of his or her authority; (3) Prohibit a court of competent jurisdiction from issuing an order that is otherwise permitted by law; or (4) Apply to a parental action or decision that would end life. (h) This Code section shall not be subject to waiver pursuant to Code Section 20-2-82 for a strategic waivers school system, Code Section 20-2-2063.2 for a charter system, Code Section 20-2-2065 for a charter school, or Code Section 20-2-244."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 28, 2022.

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EDUCATION PROTECT STUDENTS FIRST ACT; PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION IN LOCAL SCHOOLS ON BASIS OF RACE
AND REGULATES OTHER ACTIVITIES AND COMMUNICATIONS BASED ON RACE; REQUIRES ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEES.

No. 719 (House Bill No. 1084).

AN ACT

To amend Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to education, so as to prevent the use of and reliance upon curricula or training programs which advocate for certain concepts, with exceptions; to provide for such exceptions; to require local boards of education, local school superintendents, and the governing bodies of charter schools to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race; to require that curricula and training programs shall encourage such employees not to judge others based on race; to provide for statutory construction; to provide for complaint resolution policies and procedures; to provide for promulgation of a model policy by the State Board of Education; to provide for guidance to schools and local school systems by the Department of Education; to provide for a process by which certain individuals shall have access to certain records; to provide for penalties; to prohibit certain waivers; to prohibit basing certification and classification of certain professional personnel upon completion of training programs which advocate for certain concepts; to prohibit certain performance standards and the code of ethics for educators to require completion of training programs which advocate for certain concepts; to provide for definitions; to provide for a short title; to provide for construction; to provide that no high school that receives QBE funds shall participate in, sponsor, or provide coaching staff for interscholastic sports events which are conducted under the authority of, conducted under the rules of, or scheduled by any athletic association unless such athletic association provides for an executive oversight committee; to provide for the appointment, membership, selection of officers, meetings, duties, and authorities of such executive oversight committee; to provide for reimbursement for such executive oversight committee; to provide for noncompliant high schools to forfeit QBE funding; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

PART I SECTION 1-1. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the "Protect Students First Act."

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SECTION 1-2. Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to education, is amended in Article 1 of Chapter 1, relating to general provisions, by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"20-1-11. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Divisive concepts' means any of the following concepts, including views espousing such concepts:
(A) One race is inherently superior to another race; (B) The United States of America is fundamentally racist; (C) An individual, by virtue of his or her race, is inherently or consciously racist or oppressive toward individuals of other races; (D) An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race; (E) An individual's moral character is inherently determined by his or her race; (F) An individual, solely by virtue of his or her race, bears individual responsibility for actions committed in the past by other individuals of the same race; (G) An individual, solely by virtue of his or her race, should feel anguish, guilt, or any other form of psychological distress; (H) Performance-based advancement or the recognition and appreciation of character traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or have been advocated for by individuals of a particular race to oppress individuals of another race; or (I) Any other form of race scapegoating or race stereotyping. (2) 'Espousing personal political beliefs' means an individual, while performing official duties as part of his or her employment or engagement with a school or local school system, intentionally encouraging or attempting to persuade or indoctrinate a student, school community member, or other school personnel to agree with or advocate for such individual's personal beliefs concerning divisive concepts. (3) 'Race scapegoating' means assigning fault or blame to a race, or to an individual of a particular race because of his or her race. Such term includes, but is not limited to, any claim that an individual of a particular race, consciously and by virtue of his or her race, is inherently racist or is inherently inclined to oppress individuals of other races. (4) 'Race stereotyping' means ascribing character traits, values, moral or ethical codes, status, or beliefs to an individual because of his or her race. (b) Each local board of education, local school superintendent, and the governing body of each charter school shall prohibit employees from discriminating against students and other employees based on race. (c)(1) Each local board of education, local school superintendent, and the governing body of each charter school shall ensure that curricula and training programs encourage employees and students to practice tolerance and mutual respect and to refrain from judging others based on race.

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(2) Each school and local school system may provide curricula or training programs that foster learning and workplace environments where all students, employees, and school community members are respected; provided, however, that any curriculum, classroom instruction, or mandatory training program, whether delivered or facilitated by school personnel or a third party engaged by a school or local school system, shall not advocate for divisive concepts. (d) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed or applied to: (1) Inhibit or violate the rights protected by the Constitutions of Georgia and the United States of America or undermine intellectual freedom and free expression; (2) Infringe upon the intellectual vitality of students and employees of local boards of education, local school systems, or other schools; (3) Prohibit a local board of education, local school system, or other school from promoting concepts such as tolerance, mutual respect, cultural sensitivity, or cultural competency; provided, however, that such efforts do not conflict with the requirements of this Code section and other applicable laws; (4) Prohibit a school administrator, teacher, other school personnel, or an individual facilitating a training program from responding in a professionally and academically appropriate manner and without espousing personal political beliefs to questions regarding specific divisive concepts raised by students, school community members, or participants in a training program; (5) Prohibit the discussion of divisive concepts, as part of a larger course of instruction, in a professionally and academically appropriate manner and without espousing personal political beliefs; (6) Prohibit the full and rigorous implementation of curricula, or elements of a curriculum, that are required as part of advanced placement, international baccalaureate, or dual enrollment coursework; provided, however, that such implementation is done in a professionally and academically appropriate manner and without espousing personal political beliefs; (7) Prohibit the use of curricula that addresses the topics of slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation, or racial discrimination, including topics relating to the enactment and enforcement of laws resulting in racial oppression, segregation, and discrimination in a professionally and academically appropriate manner and without espousing personal political beliefs; (8) Create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by any party against a local board of education, local school system, or other school, or the departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees, agents, or any other personnel affiliated with such local board of education, local school system, or other school; or (9) Prohibit a state or federal court or agency of competent jurisdiction from ordering training or other remedial action that discusses divisive concepts due to a finding of discrimination, including discrimination based on race.

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(e)(1) No later than August 1, 2022, each local board of education and the governing body of each charter school shall adopt a complaint resolution policy to address complaints alleging violations of any provision of subsections (b) through (d) of this Code section. The complaint resolution policy shall provide that:
(A) A school or local school system shall not be required to respond to a complaint made pursuant to this subsection unless it is made by:
(i) The parent of a student enrolled at the school where the alleged violation occurred; (ii) A student who has reached the age of majority or is a lawfully emancipated minor and who is enrolled at the school where the alleged violation occurred; or (iii) An individual employed as a school administrator, teacher, or other school personnel at the school where the alleged violation occurred; (B) The complaint shall first be submitted in writing to the principal of the school where the alleged violation occurred; (C) The complaint shall provide a reasonably detailed description of the alleged violation; (D)(i) Within five school days of receiving such written complaint, the school principal or a designee of the charter school or local school system shall review the complaint and take reasonable steps to investigate the allegations in the complaint; (ii) Within ten school days of receiving the complaint, unless another schedule is mutually agreed to by the complainant and the school principal or the designee of the charter school or local school system, the school principal or such designee shall confer with the complainant and inform the complainant whether a violation occurred, in whole or in part, and, if such a violation was found to have occurred, what remedial steps have been or will be taken; provided, however, that the confidentiality of student or personnel information shall not be violated; and (iii) Following such conference, within three school days of a request by the complainant, the school principal or the designee of the charter school or local school system shall provide to the complainant a written summary of the findings of the investigation and a statement of remedial measures, if any; provided, however, that such written response shall not disclose any confidential student or personnel information; (E) The determinations provided for in subparagraph (D) of this paragraph shall be reviewed by the governing body of a state charter school or the local school superintendent or his or her designee, as applicable, within ten school days of receiving a written request for such review by the complainant addressed to the governing body of a state charter school or the local school superintendent, as applicable; provided, however, that confidential student or personnel matters shall not be subject to review pursuant to this subparagraph; and (F)(i) The local school superintendent's decision following the review provided for in subparagraph (E) of this paragraph shall be subject to review by the local board of

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education as provided in Code Section 20-2-1160; provided, however, that confidential student or personnel matters shall not be subject to review pursuant to this division; and (ii) The decision of the governing body of a state charter school following the review provided for in subparagraph (E) of this paragraph shall be subject to review by the State Charter Schools Commission, whereupon the State Charter Schools Commission shall take appropriate remedial measures, including, but not limited to, revocation of a state charter school's charter; provided, however, that confidential student or personnel matters shall not be subject to review pursuant to this division. (2) Following a decision by a local board of education regarding a complaint made pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, any party aggrieved by the decision of the local board of education shall have the right to appeal such decision to the State Board of Education for a hearing as provided in Code Section 20-2-1160. (3) The State Board of Education shall, after hearing an appeal brought pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, make written findings regarding whether any violations of any provision of subsections (b) through (d) of this Code section occurred at a school in such school system. If the State Board of Education finds that one or more such violations occurred, it shall direct the Department of Education to develop a corrective action plan to be provided to the local school system within ten days of such finding, and the local school system shall have 30 days to implement the corrective action plan. If the State Board of Education finds that such local school system has not implemented the corrective action plan: (A)(i) In cases where the local school system at issue has been granted one or more waivers as provided in Article 4 of Chapter 2 of this title, Code Section 20-2-244, or Code Section 20-2-2065, the State Board of Education shall order the immediate suspension of one or more waivers included in the local school system's contract with the State Board of Education providing for such waivers; (ii) The State Board of Education shall exercise discretion in determining which waivers shall be subject to such order of suspension and shall, as may be reasonable and practicable, narrowly tailor such order to address specific violations of provisions of subsections (b) through (d) of this Code section; and (iii) An order suspending a local school system's waivers pursuant to division (i) of this subparagraph shall be in effect for no less than 12 months from the date of such order and, if the remainder of the current term of such local school system's contract with the State Board of Education providing for waivers is greater than 12 months, then no longer than such remainder; and (B) In cases where the local school system at issue has not been granted a waiver as provided in Article 4 of Chapter 2 of this title, Code Section 20-2-244, or Code Section 20-2-2065, the State Board of Education shall refer the matter to the State School Superintendent to determine whether to exercise his or her suspension authority as provided in Code Section 20-2-34.

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(4) No later than July 1, 2022, the State Board of Education shall promulgate a model policy to assist schools and local school systems with establishing a complaint resolution process that meets the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection. The Department of Education shall develop guidance for schools and local school systems for use when determining whether violations of subsections (b) through (d) of this Code section have occurred. The Department of Education shall be authorized to revise such guidance from time to time. (5) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit any cause of action available at law or in equity to a complainant who is aggrieved by a decision of a local board of education, the governing body of a charter school, or the State Charter Schools Commission made pursuant to subparagraph (F) of paragraph (1) of this subsection. (f)(1) Any individual described in divisions (e)(1)(A)(i) through (iii) of this Code section shall have the right at any time, including prior to filing a complaint as provided in subsection (e) of this Code section, to request, in writing, from the local school superintendent or school principal nonconfidential records which he or she reasonably believes may substantiate a complaint under this Code section. The local school superintendent or school principal shall produce such records for inspection within a reasonable amount of time not to exceed three business days of receipt of a request. In those instances where some, but not all, of the records requested are available for inspection within three business days, the local school superintendent or school principal shall make available within that period such records that are available for inspection. In any instance where some or all of such records are unavailable within three business days of receipt of the request, and such information exists, the local school superintendent or school principal shall, within such time period, provide the requester with a description of such records and a timeline for when the records will be available for inspection and shall provide the records or access thereto as soon as practicable but in no case later than 30 days after receipt of the request. (2) If the local school superintendent or school principal denies a parent's request for records or does not provide existing responsive records within 30 days, the parent may appeal such denial or failure to respond to the local board of education or charter school governing board. The local board of education or charter school governing board must place such appeal on the agenda for its next public meeting. If it is too late for such appeal to appear on the next meeting's agenda, the appeal must be included on the agenda for the subsequent meeting. (3) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit any cause of action available at law or in equity to a parent who is aggrieved by a decision of a local board of education or the governing body of a charter school made pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection. (g) This Code section shall not be subject to waivers pursuant to Code Section 20-2-82 for a strategic waivers school system; Code Section 20-2-244 for a local board of education; Code Section 20-2-2063.2 for a charter system; or Code Section 20-2-2065 for a charter

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school established pursuant to Article 31 or Article 31A of this chapter, a charter system, or schools within a charter system."

SECTION 1-3. Said title is further amended in Subpart 1 of Part 6 of Article 6 of Chapter 2, relating to certificated professional personnel in elementary and secondary education, by revising subsection (a) and paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of Code Section 20-2-200, relating to regulation of certificated professional personnel by Professional Standards Commission, rules and regulations, and fees, as follows:
"(a) The Professional Standards Commission shall provide, by regulation, for certifying and classifying all certificated professional personnel employed in the public schools of this state, including personnel who provide virtual instruction to public schools of this state, whether such personnel are located within or outside of this state or whether such personnel are employed by a local unit of administration. Such certification and classification shall not be dependent in whole or in part upon an individual participating in or completing any training program in which divisive concepts, as such term is defined in Code Section 20-1-11, are advocated for. No such personnel shall be employed in the public schools of this state unless they hold certificates issued by the commission certifying their qualifications and classification in accordance with such regulations. The commission shall establish such number of classifications of other certificated professional personnel as it may find reasonably necessary or desirable for the operation of the public schools; provided, however, that such classifications shall be based only upon academic, technical, and professional training, experience, and competency of such personnel. The commission is authorized to provide for denying a certificate to an applicant, suspending or revoking a certificate, or otherwise disciplining the holder of a certificate for good cause after an investigation is held and notice and an opportunity for a hearing are provided the certificate holder or applicant in accordance with subsection (d) of Code Section 20-2-984.5. The commission shall designate and define the various classifications of professional personnel employed in the public schools of this state that shall be required to be certificated under this Code section or under Code Section 20-2-206. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the term 'certificated professional personnel' means all professional personnel certificated by the commission and county or regional librarians.
(b)(1) The Professional Standards Commission shall establish rules and regulations for appropriate requirements and procedures to ensure high-quality certification standards for all Georgia educators while facilitating the interstate mobility of out-of-state certified educators; provided, however, that such rules, regulations, requirements, and procedures shall not require an individual to participate in or complete any training program in which divisive concepts, as such term is defined in Code Section 20-1-11, are advocated for."

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SECTION 1-4. Said title is further amended in Subpart 1A of Part 2 of Article 16 of Chapter 2, relating to improved student learning environment and discipline in elementary and secondary education, by revising Code Section 20-2-739, relating to conflict management and resolution and cultural diversity training programs, as follows:
"20-2-739. On and after July 1, 2000, the Department of Education shall provide training programs in conflict management and resolution and in cultural diversity for voluntary implementation by local boards of education for school employees, parents and guardians, and students; provided, however, that after July 1, 2022, such training programs shall not advocate for divisive concepts, as such term is defined in Code Section 20-1-11."

SECTION 1-5. Said title is further amended in Part 10 of Article 17 of Chapter 2, relating to professional standards in elementary and secondary education, by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 20-2-984, relating to Professional Standards Commission -- authority to create and implement standards and procedures for certifying educational personnel, recommending standards and procedures for certification, continuation of teaching certificates, and restrictions, as follows:
"(a) The commission shall create and implement standards and procedures for certifying educational personnel as qualified for a certificate to practice in the public schools of Georgia; provided, however, that such standards and procedures shall not require an individual to participate in or complete any training program in which divisive concepts, as such term is defined in Code Section 20-1-11, are advocated for; provided, further, that such standards shall include the following:
(1) Procedures for limiting the number and types of certificates to the fewest possible consistent with providing qualified teachers for Georgia's schools; (2) In-service training and related requirements needed to renew or maintain certification; (3) Multiple or alternative routes to professional teacher certification, including, but not limited to, the alternative and nontraditional teacher certification programs provided for in Code Section 20-2-206; and (4) Requirements, including appropriate examinations and assessments, for acquiring and maintaining certification pursuant to Code Section 20-2-200."

SECTION 1-6. Said title is further amended in Part 10 of Article 17 of Chapter 2, relating to professional standards in elementary and secondary education, by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 20-2-984.1, relating to Professional Standards Commission -- adoption of standards of performance and a code of ethics, as follows:

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"(a) It shall be the duty of the commission, by regulation, to adopt standards of performance and a code of ethics for educators. The standards of performance and code of ethics shall represent standards of performance and conduct which are generally accepted by educators of this state. In adopting regulations as provided in this Code section, the commission shall seek the advice of educators of this state. The standards of performance and code of ethics adopted by the commission shall be limited to professional performance and professional ethics. The standards of performance and code of ethics adopted by the commission shall not require an individual to participate in or complete any training program in which divisive concepts, as such term is defined in Code Section 20-1-11, are advocated for."

PART II SECTION 2-1. Said title 20 is further amended in Part 14 of Article 6 of Chapter 2, relating to other educational programs under the Quality Basic Education Act, by adding a new subsection to Code Section 20-2-316, relating to involvement of athletic associations in high school athletics, to read as follows: "(c)(1) No high school which receives funding under this article shall participate in, sponsor, or provide coaching staff for interscholastic sports events which are conducted under the authority of, conducted under the rules of, or scheduled by any athletic association unless the athletic association complies with the provisions of this subsection by having a charter, bylaws, and other governing documents which provide for governance and operational oversight by an executive oversight committee as follows: (A) The executive oversight committee shall comprise ten members as follows: (i) One member to be appointed by the Governor; (ii) One member to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor; (iii) One member to be appointed by Speaker of the House of Representatives; (iv) Two members to be appointed by the Georgia School Superintendents Association, with one such member representing approximately one-half of the athletic association's participating schools with classifications by the athletic association based on lower student enrollment figures and the other such member representing approximately one-half of the athletic association's participating schools with classifications by the athletic association based on higher student enrollment figures; (v) One member to be appointed by the Georgia School Boards Association; (vi) One member to be appointed by a state-wide association of high school athletic coaches with a current membership of not less than 300 Georgia residents and which is recognized by a majority of the executive oversight committee; (vii) One member to be appointed by a state-wide association of high school athletic officials, referees, and umpires with a current membership of not less than 300

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Georgia residents and which is recognized by a majority of the executive oversight committee; and (viii) Two members to be appointed by the governing body of the athletic association, with one such member representing approximately one-half of the athletic association's participating schools with classifications by the athletic association based on lower student enrollment figures and the other such member representing approximately one-half of the athletic association's participating schools with classifications by the athletic association based on higher student enrollment figures; (B) A quorum of the executive oversight committee shall consist of 6 members; (C) The executive oversight committee shall elect a chairperson and vice chairperson from among its members; (D) Members of the executive oversight committee shall serve terms of three years and are eligible to succeed themselves only once. The athletic association's bylaws shall establish a rotation of terms to ensure that a majority of the members' terms do not expire concurrently. The athletic association's bylaws shall provide for successors to such members who vacate office for any reason; (E) The authority and duties of the executive oversight committee shall include: (i) To meet in person or remotely not less than twice each school year; (ii) To meet in person or remotely upon the call of the chairperson or a majority of the executive oversight committee; (iii) To establish policies and procedures for the executive oversight committee; (iv) To conduct any independent audit, review, or investigation the executive oversight committee deems necessary, including, but not limited to, the audit, review, or investigation of the classifications of participating schools and travel-related issues of participating schools; (v) If the athletic association determines that it is necessary and appropriate to prohibit students whose gender is male from participating in athletic events that are designated for students whose gender is female, then the athletic association may adopt a policy to that effect; provided, however, that such policy shall be applied to all of the athletic association's participating public high schools; and (vi) To conduct an annual evaluation of the athletic association as a whole and present a report of its findings, recommendations, and conclusions to the General Assembly's High School Athletics Overview Committee; and (F) Travel and other expenses actually incurred by the executive oversight committee, or any member thereof in the performance of his or her duties, shall be reimbursed by the athletic association. (2) Any high school that participates in, sponsors, or provides coaching staff for interscholastic sports events which are conducted under the authority of, conducted under the rules of, or scheduled by any athletic association that does not comply with the provisions of this Code section shall forfeit its allotted funding provided for under this article."

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PART III SECTION 3-1. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 28, 2022.

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EDUCATION QUALITY BASIC EDUCATION ACT; REQUIRES LOCAL ADOPTION OF COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PROCESSES REGARDING
MATERIAL ALLEGED TO BE HARMFUL TO MINORS; REQUIRES DEVELOPMENT OF MODEL POLICY BY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

No. 720 (Senate Bill No. 226).

AN ACT

To amend Part 15 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to miscellaneous provisions of the "Quality Basic Education Act," so as to require each local board of education to adopt a policy providing for a complaint resolution process to be used by its local school system to address complaints submitted by parents or permanent guardians alleging that material that is harmful to minors has been provided or is currently available to a student; to provide for policy requirements; to require the Department of Education to develop a model policy for use by local school systems; to provide for public review; to provide for a definition; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Part 15 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to miscellaneous provisions of the "Quality Basic Education Act," is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"20-2-324.6. (a) As used in this Code section, 'harmful to minors' means that quality of description or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse, when it:
(1) Taken as a whole, predominantly appeals to the prurient, shameful, or morbid interest of minors;

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(2) Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors; and (3) Is, when taken as a whole, lacking in serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors. (b) No later than January 1, 2023, each local board of education shall adopt a complaint resolution policy for its local school system to be used to address complaints submitted by parents or permanent guardians alleging that material that is harmful to minors has been provided or is currently available to a student enrolled in the local school system who is the child of such parent or permanent guardian. The complaint resolution process shall require that: (1) Complaints be submitted in writing to the principal of the school where the student is enrolled; (2) Complaints shall provide a reasonably detailed description of the material that is alleged to be harmful to minors; (3) Within seven business days of receiving a written complaint, the school principal or his or her designee review the complaint and take reasonable steps to investigate the allegations in the complaint, including, but not limited to, reviewing the material that is alleged to be harmful to minors, if it is available; (4) The school principal or his or her designee shall determine whether the material that is the subject of the complaint is harmful to minors; (5) The school principal or his or her designee shall determine whether student access to the material that is the subject of the complaint shall be removed or restricted; (6) Within ten business days of receiving the complaint, unless another schedule is mutually agreed to by the parent or permanent guardian and the school principal or his or her designee, the school principal or his or her designee shall confer with the parent or permanent guardian and inform him or her whether the material that is the subject of the complaint was determined to be harmful to minors, and whether student access to such material will be removed or restricted; (7) Appeals of the school's principal's or his or her designee's determinations provided for in paragraphs (4) and (5) of this subsection shall be subject to full administrative and substantive review by the local board of education, which shall also include the ability of the parent or permanent guardian to provide input during public comment at a regularly scheduled board meeting. Unless another time frame is mutually agreed upon by the parent or permanent guardian and the local board of education, the review and final disposition of the appeal by the local board of education shall be completed within 30 calendar days of receiving the written appeal; and (8) The title of the material submitted for appeal pursuant to paragraph (7) of this subsection that is determined by the local board of education to be not harmful to minors shall be published on the website of the local board of education within 15 business days from the date of such determination and shall remain on the website for a period of not less than 12 months. A parent or permanent guardian may request access to appealed

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materials that are physical in nature and accessible to their student in the student's school media center. A parent or permanent guardian must abide by the school's policies and procedures when requesting and reviewing such material. (c) No later than September 1, 2022, the Department of Education shall promulgate a model policy for a complaint resolution process that meets the requirements of subsection (b) of this Code section."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 28, 2022.

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EDUCATION LOCAL BOARDS OF EDUCATION; OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS; NOTICE OF MEETINGS; RULES OF CONDUCT; REMOVAL OF INDIVIDUALS FROM MEETINGS.

No. 721 (Senate Bill No. 588).

AN ACT

To amend Article 3 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to local boards of education, so as to provide that meetings of local boards of education shall be open to the public except as otherwise provided by law; to provide for public notice of public meetings of local boards of education; to require local boards of education to annually adopt rules of conduct for public meetings of the local board of education; to provide for the removal of members of the public from public meetings of a local board of education in accordance with rules adopted and published by the local board of education; to provide that visual and sound recording shall be permitted at such public meetings; to provide for construction; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Article 3 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to local boards of education, is amended by revising subsections (a) and (c) of Code Section 20-2-58, relating to regular monthly meetings of local boards of education, adjournment, temporary presiding officer, notice of date, template for financial review, and public comment period, as follows:

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"(a) It shall be the duty of each local board of education to hold a regular meeting during each calendar month for the transaction of business pertaining to the public schools and to review the financial status of the local school system. The local board of education shall provide a public comment period during such regular monthly meetings. Such public comment period shall be included on the agenda required to be made available and posted prior to the meeting pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (e) of Code Section 50-14-1. A local board of education shall not require notice by an individual more than 24 hours prior to the meeting as a condition of addressing the local board during such public comment period. The chairperson of the local board of education shall have the discretion to limit the length of time for individual comments and the number of individuals speaking for or against a specific issue. Any such regular monthly meeting may be adjourned from time to time, and, in the absence of the president or secretary, the members of the local board may appoint one of their own number to serve temporarily. The local board shall annually determine the dates of its regular monthly meetings and shall publish such dates either in the official county organ or, at the option of the local board of education, in a newspaper having a general circulation in said county at least equal to that of the official county organ for two consecutive weeks following the setting of the dates; provided, however, that the dates shall not be changed more often than once in 12 months and, if changed, the new date or dates shall also be published as provided in this Code section. The local board of education shall also publish notice of such regular monthly meetings in a prominent manner on its principal public website."
"(c)(1) Except as otherwise provided by law, including, but not limited to, the provisions of subsection (b) of Code Section 50-14-3, all meetings of a local board of education, including, but not limited to, regular monthly meetings provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section, shall be open to the public. The local board of education shall publish notice of each such public meeting in a prominent manner on its principal public website. (2) Visual and sound recording shall be permitted at all such public meetings. (3) By October 1, 2022, and by August 1 each year thereafter, each local board of education shall adopt rules of conduct for public meetings of the local board of education and shall publish such rules of conduct in a prominent manner on its principal public website. Such rules shall include provisions for the removal of members of the public for actual disruption of a public meeting of the local board of education. (4) A member of the public may be removed from a public meeting of a local board of education for an actual disruption of the proceedings, as determined according to the rules of conduct for meetings open to the public adopted and published by the local board of education. (5) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the authority of any law enforcement officer or the application or enforcement of Chapter 14 of Title 50."

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SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 28, 2022.

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EDUCATION REVENUE AND TAXATION INCLUDES EARNED INTEREST IN CALCULATION OF MINIMUM REVENUE OBLIGATIONS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS AND TUITION GRANTS; REVISES STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP ORGANIZATION
AUDITS; FURTHER REGULATES STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP ORGANIZATIONS; PROVIDES FOR QUALIFIED EDUCATION TAX CREDITS TO BE USED BY INSURANCE COMPANIES AGAINST TAX LIABILITY; REVISES LIMITS; PROVIDES FOR ANNUAL DETERMINATIONS BY OFFICE OF PLANNING AND BUDGET.

No. 722 (House Bill No. 517).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 2A of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to student scholarship organizations, so as to provide for the inclusion of earned interest in the calculation of minimum revenue obligations for scholarships and tuition grants; to require that student scholarship organization audits are conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards; to provide for the expansion of the scope of such audits; to provide for a deadline by which such audits shall be reported to the Department of Revenue; to require that student scholarship organizations immediately notify the Department of Education if the Department of Revenue ceases preapproving contributions to student scholarship organizations; to require student scholarship organizations to annually submit copies of Form 990s to the Department of Revenue; to provide that student scholarship organizations are solely responsible for verifying student eligibility; to provide for expansion of public reporting requirements; to amend Article 2 of Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to imposition, rate, computation, and exemptions from state income taxes, so as to provide for qualified education tax credits to be used by certain insurance companies against certain tax liability; to provide for conditions and limitations; to increase the limit available to individuals, heads of household, married couples filing joint returns, and individuals who are members of certain limited liability companies, shareholders of Subchapter "S" corporations, or partners in a partnership; to revise the aggregate annual

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limits of the tax credit and provide for increases contingent on the Governor's revenue estimates; to provide for annual determinations by the Office of Planning and Budget; to provide for related matters; to provide for effective dates and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

PART I SECTION 1-1.

Chapter 2A of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to student scholarship organizations, is amended by revising Code Section 20-2A-2, relating to requirements for student scholarship organizations, as follows:
"20-2A-2. Each student scholarship organization:
(1) With respect to the first $1.5 million of its annual revenue received from donations for scholarships or tuition grants, including interest earned on deposits and investments of scholarship funds or tuition grants, shall obligate at least 92 percent of such revenue for scholarships or tuition grants; with respect to its annual revenue received from donations for scholarships or tuition grants in excess of $1.5 million and up to and including $10 million, including interest earned on deposits and investments of scholarship funds or tuition grants, shall obligate at least 94 percent of such revenue for scholarships or tuition grants; with respect to its annual revenue received from donations for scholarships or tuition grants in excess of $10 million and up to and including $20 million, including interest earned on deposits and investments of scholarship funds or tuition grants, shall obligate at least 95 percent of such revenue for scholarships or tuition grants; and, with respect to its annual revenue received from donations for scholarships or tuition grants in excess of $20 million, including interest earned on deposits and investments of scholarship funds or tuition grants, shall obligate at least 96 percent of such revenue for scholarships or tuition grants. On or before the end of the calendar year following the calendar year in which a student scholarship organization receives revenues from donations and obligates them for the awarding of scholarships or tuition grants, the student scholarship organization shall designate the obligated revenues for specific student recipients. Once the student scholarship organization designates obligated revenues for specific student recipients, in the case of multiyear scholarships or tuition grants, the student scholarship organization may distribute the entire obligated and designated revenues to a qualified school or program to be held in accordance with Department of Revenue rules for distribution to the specified recipients during the years in which the recipients are projected in writing by the private school to be enrolled at the qualified school or program. In making a multiyear distribution to a qualified school or program, the student scholarship organization shall require that if the designated student

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becomes ineligible or for any other reason the qualified school or program elects not to continue disbursement of the multiyear scholarship or tuition grant to the designated student for all the projected years, then the qualified school or program shall immediately return the remaining funds to the student scholarship organization. Once the student scholarship organization designates obligated revenues for specific student recipients, in the case of multiyear scholarships or tuition grants for which the student scholarship organization distributes the obligated and designated revenues to a qualified school or program annually rather than the entire amount, if the designated student becomes ineligible or for any other reason the student scholarship organization elects not to continue disbursement for all years, then the student scholarship organization shall designate any remaining previously obligated revenues for a new specific student recipient on or before the end of the following calendar year. The maximum scholarship amount given by the student scholarship organization in any given year shall not exceed the average state and local expenditures per student in fall enrollment in public elementary and secondary education for this state. The Department of Education shall determine and publish such amount annually, no later than January 1; (1.1) In awarding scholarships or tuition grants, shall consider financial needs of students based on all sources, including the federal adjusted gross income from the federal income tax return most recently filed by the parents or guardians of such students, as adjusted for family size. If the parents or guardians of a student have not filed a federal income tax return in either of the two calendar years immediately preceding the year of application, the student scholarship organization shall consider the financial need of the student based on proof of employment income of the parents or guardians from the 30 consecutive days closest to when the applicant submitted the scholarship application and on any other sources of income, including, but not limited to, unemployment benefits, social security benefits, and child support benefits; (2) Shall maintain separate accounts for scholarship funds and operating funds. Until obligated revenues are designated for specific student recipients, the student scholarship organization shall hold the obligated revenues in a bank or investment account owned by the student scholarship organization and over which it has complete control; provided, however, that interest earned on deposits and investments of scholarship funds and tuition grants shall be included in the calculation of the minimum obligations provided for in paragraph (1) of this Code section; (3) Shall have an independent board of directors with at least three members; (4) May transfer funds to another student scholarship organization; (5) Within 120 days after the completion of the student scholarship organization's fiscal year, shall conduct an audit of its accounts by an independent certified public accountant in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards verifying that the student scholarship organization has complied with all requirements of this chapter, including, but not limited to, scholarship fund management requirements, operational fund management requirements, other financial requirements, student eligibility requirements,

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school qualification requirements, and other scholarship management requirements. Each student scholarship organization shall also submit with each such audit a signed declaration certifying that it has complied and is in compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements imposed by state or federal law. Within 60 days of completion of such audit, each student scholarship organization shall provide a copy of such audit to the Department of Revenue in accordance with Code Section 20-2A-3. Notwithstanding Code Sections 20-2A-7, 48-2-15, 48-7-60, and 48-7-61, if the copy of the audit submitted fails to verify that the student scholarship organization obligated its annual revenue received from donations for scholarships or tuition grants, including interest earned on deposits and investments of such funds, as required under paragraph (1) of this Code section; that obligated revenues were designated for specific student recipients within the time frame required by paragraph (1) of this Code section; and that all obligated and designated revenue distributed to a qualified school or program for the funding of multiyear scholarships or tuition grants complied with all applicable Department of Revenue rules, then the Department of Revenue shall post on its website the details of such failure to verify. Until any such noncompliant student scholarship organization submits an amended audit, which, to the satisfaction of the Department of Revenue, contains the verifications required under this Code section, the Department of Revenue shall not preapprove any contributions to the noncompliant student scholarship organization; (5.1) In addition to the audit required by paragraph (5) of this Code section, in 2023, the state auditor shall issue an economic analysis report on the performance of this tax credit to the chairpersons of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee. An economic analysis shall include, but not be limited to, a good faith estimate, on both a direct and indirect basis, as to the:
(A) Net change in state revenue; (B) Net change in state expenditures, which shall include, but not be limited to, costs of administering the tax credit; (C) Net change in economic activity; and (D) Net change in public benefit; (6) Shall annually submit notice to the Department of Education in accordance with department guidelines of its participation as a student scholarship organization under this chapter; provided, however, that the student scholarship organization shall immediately notify the Department of Education if the Department of Revenue has temporarily or permanently ceased preapproving contributions to the student scholarship organization in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (5) of this Code section; (7) Shall annually submit to the Department of Revenue a copy of its most recent Form 990 filed with the United States Internal Revenue Service; and (8) Shall be solely responsible for verifying the eligibility of students for participation in the program provided for in this chapter."

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SECTION 1-2. Said chapter is amended further by revising Code Section 20-2A-3, relating to taxation reporting requirements for student scholarship organizations, as follows:
"20-2A-3. (a) Each student scholarship organization shall report annually to the Department of Revenue, on a date determined by the Department of Revenue, subject to the time limits provided for in paragraph (5) of Code Section 20-2A-2, and on a form provided by the Department of Revenue, the following information:
(1) The total number and dollar value of individual contributions and tax credits approved. Individual contributions shall include contributions made by those filing income tax returns as a single individual or head of household and those filing joint returns; (2) The total number and dollar value of corporate contributions and tax credits approved; (3) The total number and dollar value of scholarships awarded to eligible students; (4) The total number of scholarship recipients whose family's adjusted gross income falls:
(A) Under 125 percent of the federal poverty level; (B) Between 125 and 250 percent of the federal poverty level; (C) Between 250 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level; and (D) Above 400 percent of the federal poverty level; (4.1) The total number of scholarship recipients and the average scholarship dollar amount by each county within which any scholarship recipient resides; (5) The average scholarship dollar amount by adjusted gross income category as provided in paragraph (4) of this subsection; and (6) A list of donors, including the dollar value of each donation and the dollar value of each approved tax credit. Such report shall also include a copy of the audit conducted pursuant to paragraph (5) of Code Section 20-2A-2. The Department of Revenue shall post on its website the information received from each student scholarship organization pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (5) of this subsection and the report of the student scholarship organization's most recent audit conducted pursuant to paragraph (5) of Code Section 20-2A-2 , except that no information of confidential taxpayer information contained in such audit report shall be posted or otherwise disclosed to the public by the Department of Revenue. (b) Except for the allowable information included in the report of the audit conducted pursuant to paragraph (5) of Code Section 20-2A-2 and the information reported pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (5) of subsection (a) of this Code section, all information or reports provided by student scholarship organizations to the Department of Revenue shall be confidential taxpayer information, governed by Code Sections 48-2-15, 48-7-60, and 48-7-61, whether it relates to the donor or the student scholarship organization."

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PART II SECTION 2-1.

Article 2 of Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to imposition, rate, computation, and exemptions from state income taxes, is amended by revising Code Section 48-7-29.16, relating to a qualified education tax credit, as follows:
"48-7-29.16. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Business enterprise' means any insurance company or the headquarters of any insurance company required to pay the tax provided for in Code Section 33-8-4. (2) 'Eligible student' shall have the same meaning as in paragraph (1) of Code Section 20-2A-1. (3) 'Qualified education expense' means the expenditure of funds by the taxpayer or business enterprise during the tax year for which a credit under this Code section is claimed and allowed to a student scholarship organization operating pursuant to Chapter 2A of Title 20 which are used for tuition and fees for a qualified school or program. (4) 'Qualified school or program' shall have the same meaning as in paragraph (2) of Code Section 20-2A-1. (5) 'Student scholarship organization' shall have the same meaning as in paragraph (3) of Code Section 20-2A-1. (b) An individual taxpayer shall be allowed a credit against the tax imposed by this chapter for qualified education expenses as follows: (1) In the case of a single individual or a head of household, the actual amount expended or $2,500.00 per tax year, whichever is less; (2) In the case of a married couple filing a joint return, the actual amount expended or $5,000.00 per tax year, whichever is less; or (3) Anything to the contrary contained in paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection notwithstanding, in the case of an individual who is a member of a limited liability company duly formed under state law, a shareholder of a Subchapter 'S' corporation, or a partner in a partnership, the amount expended or $25,000.00 per tax year, whichever is less; provided, however, that tax credits pursuant to this paragraph shall only be allowed for the portion of the income on which such tax was actually paid by such member of the limited liability company, shareholder of a Subchapter 'S' corporation, or partner in a partnership. (c) A corporation or other entity shall be allowed a credit against the tax imposed by this chapter for qualified education expenses in an amount not to exceed the actual amount expended or 75 percent of the corporation's income tax liability, whichever is less. (c.1) A business enterprise shall be allowed a credit against the tax imposed by Code Section 33-8-4 in an amount equal to its qualified education expenses or 75 percent of the business enterprise's state insurance premium tax liability owed pursuant to Code

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Section 33-8-4, whichever is less; provided, however, that the amount of such credit shall not exceed $1 million.
(d)(1) The tax credit shall not be allowed if the taxpayer or business enterprise designates its qualified education expense for the direct benefit of any particular individual, whether or not such individual is a dependent of the taxpayer or business enterprise. (2) In soliciting contributions, a student scholarship organization shall not represent, or direct a qualified private school to represent, that, in exchange for contributing to the student scholarship organization, a taxpayer or business enterprise shall receive a scholarship for the direct benefit of any particular individual, whether or not such individual is a dependent of the taxpayer or business enterprise. The status as a student scholarship organization shall be revoked for any such organization which violates this paragraph. (e) In no event shall the total amount of the tax credit allowed to any taxpayer or business enterprise under this Code section for a taxable year exceed such taxpayer's income tax liability or such business enterprise's state insurance premium tax liability owed pursuant to Code Section 33-8-4, provided that any unused tax credit shall be allowed the taxpayer or business enterprise against up to its succeeding five years' tax liability. No such credit shall be allowed the taxpayer or business enterprise against prior years' tax liability. (f)(1) The aggregate amount of tax credits allowed under this Code section shall not exceed:
(A) Fifty-eight million dollars for the year ending on December 31, 2018; (B) For 2019 through 2022, $100 million per year; and (C) For 2023 and all subsequent years, $120 million per year. (1.1) In no event shall the aggregate amount of tax credits allowed under this Code section to all business enterprises for state insurance premium tax liability owed pursuant to Code Section 33-8-4 exceed $6 million for any year. (2) The commissioner shall allow the tax credits on a first come, first served basis. (3) For the purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection, a student scholarship organization shall notify a potential donor of the requirements of this Code section. Before making a contribution to a student scholarship organization, the taxpayer or business enterprise shall electronically notify the department, in a manner specified by the department, of the total amount of contributions that the taxpayer or business enterprise intends to make to the student scholarship organization. The commissioner shall preapprove, deny, or prorate the requested amount within 30 days after receiving the request from the taxpayer or business enterprise and shall provide notice to the taxpayer or business enterprise and the student scholarship organization of such preapproval, denial, or proration which shall not require any signed release or notarized approval by the taxpayer or business enterprise. In order to receive a tax credit under this Code section, the taxpayer or business enterprise shall make the contribution to the student scholarship organization within 60 days after receiving notice from the department that the requested amount was preapproved. If the taxpayer or business

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enterprise does not comply with this paragraph, the commissioner shall not include this preapproved contribution amount when calculating the limit prescribed in paragraph (1) of this subsection or the additional limitation specific to business enterprises prescribed in paragraph (1.2) of this subsection. The department shall establish a web based donation approval process to implement this subsection. (4) Preapproval of contributions by the commissioner shall be based solely on the availability of tax credits subject to the aggregate total limit established under paragraph (1) of this subsection or the additional limitation specific to business enterprises prescribed in paragraph (1.2) of this subsection. The department shall maintain an ongoing, current list on its website of the amount of tax credits available under this Code section. (5) Notwithstanding any laws to the contrary, the department shall not take any adverse action against donors to student scholarship organizations if the commissioner preapproved a donation for a tax credit prior to the date the student scholarship organization is removed from the Department of Education list pursuant to Code Section 20-2A-7, and all such donations shall remain as preapproved tax credits subject only to the donor's compliance with paragraph (3) of this subsection. (6) In addition to the reporting requirements in Code Section 20-2A-3, each student scholarship organization shall file an annual report with the department showing any fees or assessments retained by the student scholarship organization during the calendar year. (g)(1) In order for the taxpayer to claim the student scholarship organization tax credit under this Code section, a letter of confirmation of donation issued by the student scholarship organization to which the contribution was made shall be attached to the taxpayer's tax return or a business enterprise's tax return provided for in Code Section 33-8-6.
(2)(A) However, in the event the taxpayer files an electronic return permitted by this chapter, such confirmation shall only be required to be electronically attached to the return if the Internal Revenue Service allows such attachments when the data is transmitted to the department. In the event the taxpayer files an electronic return and such confirmation is not attached because the Internal Revenue Service does not, at the time of such electronic filing, allow electronic attachments to the Georgia return, such confirmation shall be maintained by the taxpayer and made available upon request by the commissioner. (B) With respect to a business enterprise's tax return provided for in Code Section 33-8-6, the Commissioner of Insurance is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations regarding the manner in which such letters of confirmation of donations shall be filed in the case of tax returns filed electronically. (3) The letter of confirmation of donation shall contain the taxpayer's or business enterprise's name, address, tax identification number, the amount of the contribution, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the credit.

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(h)(1) No credit shall be allowed under this Code section with respect to any amount deducted from taxable net income by the taxpayer or business enterprise as a charitable contribution to a bona fide charitable organization qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. (2) The amount of any scholarship received by an eligible student or eligible pre-kindergarten student shall be excluded from taxable net income for Georgia income tax purposes. (i) The commissioner shall be authorized to promulgate any rules and regulations necessary to implement and administer the tax provisions of this Code section."

PART III SECTION 3-1.

This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022; provided, however, that Part II of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2023, and shall be applicable to all taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2023.

SECTION 3-2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 28, 2022.

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EDUCATION PROVIDES FOR MANDATORY COURSE OF INSTRUCTION IN FINANCIAL LITERACY FOR STUDENTS IN ELEVENTH OR TWELFTH
GRADE; CREATES GEORGIA COMMISSION ON CIVICS EDUCATION.

No. 723 (Senate Bill No. 220).

AN ACT

To amend Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to education, so as to provide for a mandatory course of instruction in financial literacy for students in eleventh or twelfth grade; to require the State Board of Education to establish content standards for such course; to allow for such course to count toward a mathematics, social studies, or elective unit of credit requirement for graduation; to require the Professional Standards Commission to establish appropriate requirements and procedures to provide for qualifications for teachers of such course; to provide for a financial literacy endorsement by the Professional Standards Commission; to create the Georgia Commission on Civics Education; to provide for membership, filling of vacancies, terms, officers, duties, meetings, and reimbursement

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of members of the commission; to provide for a short title; to provide for legislative intent; to provide for automatic repeal; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

PART I SECTION 1-1.

Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to education, is amended in Part 2 of Article 6 of Chapter 2, relating to competencies and core curriculum under the "Quality Basic Education Act," by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"20-2-149.4. (a) The State Board of Education shall adopt content standards for a minimum course of instruction in financial literacy to be completed by students in eleventh or twelfth grade. (b) Beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, each local board of education shall require all students, as a condition of graduation, during their eleventh or twelfth grade years to complete at least a half-credit course in financial literacy which implements the minimum course of instruction based on the content standards prescribed pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section. Such course of instruction may be provided within the framework of existing coursework offered by a local school system. Such course of instruction shall be eligible to count toward a mathematics, social studies, or elective unit of credit requirement for graduation."

SECTION 1-2. Said chapter is further amended in Subpart 1 of Part 6 of Article 6, relating to certificated professional personnel, by adding a new paragraph to subsection (b) of Code Section 20-2-200, relating to regulation of certificated professional personnel by Professional Standards Commission, rules and regulations, and fees, to read as follows:
"(7) No later than January 1, 2023, the Professional Standards Commission shall establish appropriate requirements and procedures to ensure that educators meeting one or more of the following requirements shall be deemed appropriately licensed to teach financial literacy:
(A) Holds a renewable certificate at the secondary level in business, economics, mathematics, family and consumer science, or marketing; (B) Holds a special education certificate with social science content designations; or (C) Obtains a secondary level teaching endorsement in financial literacy, as designated by the Professional Standards Commission."

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SECTION 1-3. Said chapter is further amended in said subpart by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"20-2-209. (a) No later than December 30, 2023, the Professional Standards Commission shall create a financial literacy endorsement for teachers trained in the content standards for financial literacy adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to Code Section 20-2-149.4. (b) The Professional Standards Commission shall establish measures to assess the fidelity of teacher training and implementation for teachers who receive the financial literacy endorsement."

PART II SECTION 2-1.

Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to education, is amended in Article 2 of Chapter 14, relating to education accountability assessment programs, by adding a new part to read as follows:

"Part 10

20-14-95. (a) This part shall be known and may be cited as the 'The Georgia Civics Renewal Act.' (b) There is created the Georgia Commission on Civics Education. (c) It is the intent of the General Assembly that the commission shall promote and enhance the education of students on the importance of civic involvement in a constitutional republic, the study of state and local government among the state's citizenry, the importance of civic engagement and public service, and communication and collaboration among organizations in the state that conduct civics education.
(d)(1) The commission shall consist of 17 members comprising three members from the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate, with at least one member each from the Senate majority caucus and minority caucus; three members from the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, with at least one member each from the House of Representatives majority caucus and minority caucus; one Justice of the Supreme Court; the Attorney General or his or her designee; the State School Superintendent or his or her designee; one representative from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce; one representative from the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; one representative from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia; one representative from the Georgia Municipal Association; and four members appointed by the Governor, with one representative from the Georgia Center for Civic Engagement, two former or current government or civics teachers, and one other individual. (2) Vacancies in the commission shall be filled the same as the original appointments.

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(3)(A) Legislative members of the commission shall serve two-year terms concurrent with their terms as members of the General Assembly. (B) Nonlegislative members of the commission shall serve two-year terms concurrent with those terms of legislative members of the commission. (e) The Governor shall designate the chairperson of the commission. The chairperson shall serve as such concurrent with his or her term as a member of the commission. (f)(1) The commission shall periodically review the conditions, needs, issues, and problems related to civics education in Georgia schools, including, but not limited to, career, technical, and agricultural education (CTAE) instruction for the government and public administration and the law, public safety, corrections, and security pathways, and shall issue annually a report on the same to the General Assembly, and recommend any action or legislation which the commission deems necessary or appropriate. (2) The commission may conduct such meetings at such places and at such times as it may deem necessary or convenient to enable it to exercise fully and effectively its powers, perform its duties, and accomplish the objectives and purposes of this Code section. The commission shall meet upon the call of the chairperson. The commission shall meet not less than two nor more than four times annually. (3) The legislative members of the commission shall receive the allowances provided for in Code Section 28-1-8. Any citizen members shall receive a daily expense allowance in the amount specified in subsection (b) of Code Section 45-7-21, as well as the mileage or transportation allowance authorized for state employees. Any members of the commission who are state officials, other than legislative members, and state employees shall receive no compensation for their services on the commission, but they shall be reimbursed for expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties as members of the commission in the same manner as they are reimbursed for expenses in their capacities as state officials or employees. The funds necessary for the reimbursement of the expenses of state officials, other than legislative members, and state employees shall come from funds appropriated to the Department of Education for this purpose. All other funds necessary to carry out the provisions of this Code section shall come from funds appropriated to the House of Representatives and the Senate. The expenses and allowances authorized by this paragraph shall not be received by members of the commission for more than four days annually. (g) The head of the social studies program of the Department of Education shall report annually to the commission regarding the conditions, needs, issues, and problems of the program. Such report shall include a statement of efforts undertaken by the Department of Education to inform and encourage local school systems to recruit and utilize supplemental resources from appropriate local and community organizations which promote civics and civics education as among their primary purposes. (h) This part shall stand repealed on December 31, 2028."

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PART III SECTION 3-1.

This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 3-2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 28, 2022.

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RETIREMENT AND PENSIONS TEACHERS RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF GEORGIA; EMPLOYMENT OF CERTAIN BENEFICIARIES BY LOCAL PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEMS.

No. 724 (House Bill No. 385).

AN ACT

To amend Article 7 of Chapter 3 of Title 47 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to retirement allowances, disability benefits, and spouses' benefits, so as to permit public school systems to employ certain beneficiaries of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia as classroom teachers in a full-time capacity in an area of highest need determined for the Regional Education Service Agency to which such public school system is assigned; to require such employers to make employer and employee contributions on behalf of such employed beneficiaries; to provide for conditions and limitations for beneficiaries who return to service full time as teachers; to provide for a performance audit; to provide for related matters; to provide for a definition; to provide conditions for an effective date and automatic repeal; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Article 7 of Chapter 3 of Title 47 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to retirement allowances, disability benefits, and spouses' benefits, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:

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"47-3-127.1. (a) From July 1, 2022, until June 30, 2026, notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 47-3-127, to the extent and under the conditions provided for in this Code section, a public school system may employ a beneficiary who has obtained 30 years of creditable service in this retirement system in a full-time capacity as a certified teacher of pre-kindergarten through grade 12 who has as his or her primary responsibility the academic instruction of students in a classroom in an area of highest need determined for the RESA to which such public school system is assigned, provided that at least one year has expired from the effective date of such beneficiary's retirement and he or she was not restored to service as a teacher pursuant to Code Section 47-3-127 during such period of time.
(b)(1) An individual employed as described in subsection (a) of this Code section shall remain a beneficiary and shall continue to receive his or her retirement allowance and any postretirement benefit adjustments for which he or she is eligible; provided, however, that such service shall not constitute creditable service and shall not entitle such beneficiary to a recomputation of retirement benefits upon cessation of such service. (2) It shall be the duty of each beneficiary to notify an employer of his or her status as a beneficiary prior to accepting employment with such employer. (c)(1) Within 30 days of employing a beneficiary pursuant to this Code section, such employer shall notify the board of trustees of such beneficiary's name, the amount of his or her earnable compensation, a description of any other forms of remuneration to be made, the number of hours to be worked, job responsibilities, and other such information as the board of trustees may prescribe. (2) An employer that employs a beneficiary pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section shall pay to the retirement system an amount equal to the product of:
(A) The combination of the rate required by this chapter for employer contributions and employee contributions; and (B) The earnable compensation of such beneficiary. (3) A beneficiary shall not receive creditable service from or access to contributions made as a result of payments required by paragraph (2) of this subsection, and he or she shall be considered by the retirement system solely as a beneficiary. (4) If an employer that is obligated to make contributions or reimbursements to the retirement system pursuant to this Code section fails to make such contributions, any unpaid amounts shall be deducted from any funds payable to such employer by the state, including without limitation the Department of Education and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and shall be paid to the retirement system. (d)(1) As used in this Code section, 'area of highest need' means one of the three content areas for which there are the greatest percentages of unfilled positions for classroom teachers in a RESA. (2) The areas of highest need shall be determined for each RESA annually by the Department of Education after consultation with the Professional Standards Commission.

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Such determinations shall be based upon a five-year average review of a survey reported by local school systems to the Department of Education. The areas of highest need for each RESA shall be reported to the retirement system on an annual basis beginning July 1, 2022, and ending July 1, 2025. (e) Prior to July 1, 2025, the state auditor shall conduct and publish a performance audit concerning the provisions of this Code section to include a determination of the value and necessity of the full-time employment of beneficiaries as permitted by this Code section, as well the effects of such employment on the local school systems, the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia, and the teacher workforce as a whole for this state. (f) The provisions of this Code section shall not become part of the employment contract and shall be subject to future legislation."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022, only if it is determined to have been concurrently funded as provided in Chapter 20 of Title 47 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, the "Public Retirement Systems Standards Law"; otherwise, this Act shall not become effective and shall be automatically repealed in its entirety on July 1, 2022, as required by subsection (a) of Code Section 47-20-50.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 28, 2022.

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EDUCATION NEEDS BASED FINANCIAL AID PROGRAM; ELIGIBILITY FOR STUDENTS WITH GAP AND PART-TIME STUDENTS; AWARDS LIMITS; UPDATES APPLICATION PROCESS; AUTHORIZES COMPLIANCE EXAMINATIONS BY GEORGIA STUDENT FINANCE COMMISSION; COMMISSION AUTHORIZED TO SUSPEND INSTITUTIONS FROM PROGRAM; REVISES CRIMINAL PENALTY; EVALUATIONS AUTHORIZED.

No. 725 (House Bill No. 1435).

AN ACT

To amend Subpart 2A of Part 3 of Article 7 of Chapter 3 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the needs based financial aid program, so as to include

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eligibility for students with a financial aid gap; to provide for definitions; to limit awards to undergraduate level postsecondary education; to provide for a maximum award amount; to update the application process for the program; to change the authorization to conduct compliance examinations from the state auditor to the Georgia Student Finance Commission; to provide for rules and regulations; to allow for eligibility of part-time students; to authorize the commission to suspend institutions from the program for failure to refund moneys in certain circumstances; to revise the criminal penalty for persons making false statements or misrepresentations in the application process; to provide for evaluation; to provide for related matters; to provide for automatic repeal; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Subpart 2A of Part 3 of Article 7 of Chapter 3 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the needs based financial aid program, is amended by revising Code Section 20-3-360, relating to definitions, as follows:
"20-3-360. As used in this subpart, the term:
(1) 'Eligible student' means a person: (A) Whose family income is considered economically disadvantaged, based on criteria established by the commission, or who has a financial aid gap; (B) Who meets any academic or other standards established by the commission; (C) Who is eligible for a scholarship or grant pursuant to Code Section 20-3-519.1; (D) Who has completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); and (E) Who has completed 80 percent of the credit requirements toward the credential of his or her program of study.
(2) 'Financial aid gap' means the monetary amount remaining after other funding, as determined by the commission, for the cost of attendance certified by a qualified institution. (3) 'Qualified institution' means an institution of the University System of Georgia, an institution of the Technical College System of Georgia, or a nonproprietary institution of higher education eligible for tuition equalization grants in accordance with subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of Code Section 20-3-411."

SECTION 2. Said subpart is further amended by revising Code Section 20-3-361, relating to grants, individualized eligibility criteria, and criteria for retention, as follows:
"20-3-361. Subject to appropriations, the commission shall establish a needs based financial aid program to provide grants to eligible students for undergraduate level postsecondary

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education at qualified institutions. The maximum award amount per eligible student shall be $2,500 in total. The commission may provide for individualized eligibility criteria and grant amounts as determined to be the most appropriate for the particular qualified institution and its student population in accordance with this subpart and the rules and regulations of the commission. The commission shall also establish criteria necessary for eligible students to retain and continue to receive such grants in accordance with this subpart."

SECTION 3. Said subpart is further amended by revising Code Section 20-3-362, relating to application, regulations, and refunds, as follows:
"20-3-362. Each eligible student wishing to receive a grant pursuant to this subpart shall submit a grant application in accordance with the rules, regulations, and procedures prescribed by the commission. The commission is authorized to define such terms and prescribe such rules, regulations, and procedures as may be reasonable and necessary to carry out the purposes of this subpart. In the event a student on whose behalf a grant is paid does not enroll as a full-time or part-time student for the academic semester for which the grant is paid, the qualified institution shall make a refund to the commission in accordance with the rules and regulations of the commission."

SECTION 4. Said subpart is further amended by revising Code Section 20-3-363, relating to examination of qualified institutions and purpose, as follows:
"20-3-363. Each qualified institution shall be subject to examination by the commission for the sole purpose of determining whether the institution has properly certified the cost of attendance, eligibility, and enrollment of students; accurately credited grants paid on behalf of such students; and properly complied with the rules and regulations established pursuant to this subpart; provided, however, that nothing in this subpart shall be construed to interfere with the authority of the institution to determine admissibility of students or to control its own curriculum, philosophy, purpose, or administration. In the event it is determined that a qualified institution knowingly or through error certified an ineligible student to be eligible for a grant under this subpart, the amount of the grant paid to such institution pursuant to such certification shall be refunded by such institution to the commission. The commission may suspend a qualified institution from receiving payments under this subpart if it fails to refund any moneys as required by this subpart."

SECTION 5. Said subpart is further amended by revising Code Section 20-3-364, relating to penalty for false statement or misrepresentation, as follows:

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"20-3-364. Any person applying for a grant under this subpart or assisting a person applying for a grant under this subpart who knowingly makes or furnishes any false statement or misrepresentation for the purpose of enabling an ineligible student to wrongfully obtain a grant under this subpart shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."

SECTION 6. Said subpart is further amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"20-3-365. The commission shall collect and monitor enrollment and student record data for the needs based financial aid program established pursuant to this subpart. The commission shall annually measure and evaluate the program. Such evaluation shall include, but shall not be limited to, the total number of grants dispersed, the total dollar amount of grants dispersed, the total number of grants dispersed per qualified institution, and the total dollar amount of grants dispersed per qualified institution. The Office of Planning and Budget, the Department of Education, and qualified institutions shall cooperate with and provide data as necessary to the commission to facilitate the provisions of this Code section."

SECTION 7.
Said subpart is further amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows: "20-3-366. This subpart shall stand repealed by operation of law on June 30, 2025."

SECTION 8. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022.

SECTION 9. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 29, 2022.

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EDUCATION REPLACES GENERAL EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (GED) DIPLOMAS WITH HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY (HSE) DIPLOMAS; TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM OF GEORGIA TO UPDATE STANDARDS AND REQUIREMENTS FOR DIPLOMAS; REVISES PROVISIONS RELATED TO HOPE GED VOUCHERS.

No. 726 (Senate Bill No. 397).

AN ACT

To amend Titles 15, 20, 25, 40, 42, and 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to courts, education, fire protection and safety, motor vehicles and traffic, penal institutions, and professions and businesses, respectively, so as to update and replace terminology related to general educational development (GED) diplomas; to provide for state approved high school equivalency (HSE) diplomas; to update the minimum standards and requirements for such diplomas to be established by the Technical College System of Georgia; to revise provisions related to HOPE GED vouchers; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, related to courts, is amended by replacing "general educational development (GED)" with "state approved high school equivalency (HSE)" in Code Section 15-10-22, relating to qualifications and restrictions on the practice of law for magistrates.

SECTION 2. Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, related to education, is amended by replacing "general educational development" or "general educational development (GED)" with "state approved high school equivalency (HSE)" wherever either of the former phrases occur in:
(1) Code Section 20-2-69, relating to requirements and procedures for issuing and awarding high school diplomas to honorably discharged World War II Veterans; (2) Code Section 20-2-70, relating to requirements and procedures for issuing and awarding high school diplomas to honorably discharged Korean Conflict and Vietnam Conflict veterans; (3) Code Section 20-2-204, relating to paraprofessional and permitted personnel and classification of all certified or permitted personnel;

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(4) Code Section 20-2-690, relating to educational entities, requirements for private schools and home study programs, and learning pod protection; (5) Code Section 20-2-690.1, relating to mandatory education for children between ages six and 16; (6) Code Section 20-3-66, relating to determination of in-state resident status of students for tuition or fees; (7) Code Section 20-3-395, relating to definitions relative to direct loans to students on the basis of need and merit; (8) Code Section 20-3-400.1, relating to definitions relative to graduate on time loans; (9) Code Section 20-3-405.1, relating to definitions relative to education for public service student loan; (10) Code Section 20-3-411, relating to definitions relative to tuition equalization grants at private colleges and universities; (11) Code Section 20-3-519.2, relating to eligibility requirements for a HOPE scholarship and award amount; and (12) Code Section 20-3-660, relating to tuition waiver program for qualifying foster and adopted individuals.

SECTION 3. Said title is further amended in Code Section 20-3-519, relating to definitions relative to HOPE scholarships and grants, by revising paragraph (13.1) as follows:
"(13.1) 'HOPE HSE voucher' means a Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally state approved high school equivalency (HSE) voucher issued in accordance with Code Section 20-3-519.6."

SECTION 4. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 20-3-519.6, relating to HOPE GED vouchers, as follows:
"20-3-519.6. Subject to the amounts appropriated by the General Assembly and provisions relating to the shortfall reserve in Code Section 50-27-13, a HOPE HSE voucher shall be available to each eligible student who receives pre-certification from the Department of Technical and Adult Education, now known as the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), to take an approved examination seeking a diploma through the high school equivalency (HSE) program. TCSG, upon issuance of a voucher in accordance with this paragraph, shall invoice the Georgia Student Finance Commission in accordance with rules, regulations, and instructions of the commission providing for identification of each student and compliance with this program."

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SECTION 5. Said title is further amended in Code Section 20-4-11, relating to the powers of the state board of the Technical College System of Georgia, by revising division (2)(B)(ii) as follows:
"(ii) Standards and requirements for the attainment of a high school equivalency certificate which shall be comparable to the high school graduation requirements set by the State Board of Education for public school programs and which shall also be at least equal to the requirements established by a nationally recognized college and career readiness standard for adult education. The state board shall also adopt and administer an instrument to measure the level of achievement required to obtain a high school equivalency certificate; and"

SECTION 6. Title 25 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to fire protection and safety, is amended by replacing "general education development equivalency" with "state approved high school equivalency (HSE) diploma" in Code Section 25-4-8, relating to qualifications of firefighters generally.

SECTION 7. Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to motor vehicles and traffic, is amended by replacing "general educational development (GED)" with "state approved high school equivalency (HSE)" in Code Section 40-5-22, relating to requirements for issuance of instruction permit or driver's license to person under 18 years of age, authority of department to issue or renew a driver's license, probationary license, limited driving permit, or ignition interlock device limited driving permit.

SECTION 8. Title 42 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to penal institutions, is amended by replacing "the general educational development (GED)" with "a state approved high school equivalency (HSE)" in Code Section 42-3-50, relating to definitions relative to community service and assignment of community service for personal gain prohibited.

SECTION 9. Said title is further amended by replacing "general educational development (GED)" with "state approved high school equivalency (HSE)" wherever the former phrase occurs in:
(1) Code Section 42-9-44, relating to terms and conditions of parole, adoption of general and special rules, violation of parole, and certain parolees or releasees to obtain high school diploma or general educational development (GED) diploma; and (2) Code Section 42-9-45, relating to general rule-making power relative to grants of pardons, paroles, and other relief.

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SECTION 10. Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to professions and businesses, is amended by replacing "GED", "general education development", "general educational development", or "general educational development (GED)" with "state approved high school equivalency (HSE)" wherever any of the former phrases occur in:
(1) Code Section 43-6-11, relating to qualifications of applicants for auctioneer's licenses; (2) Code Section 43-10-2, relating to creation of the board of cosmetology and barbers, members, meetings, officers, and powers; (3) Code Section 43-10-9, relating to application for certificate of registration for barbers and cosmetologists; (4) Code Section 43-10-12, relating to regulation and licenses for schools, teachers, and instructors, registration of apprentices, and certification as teacher by Department of Education relative to barbers and cosmetologists; (5) Code Section 43-18-41, relating to qualifications of embalmer or funeral director applicants; (6) Code Section 43-18-50, relating to application for funeral service apprenticeship and period of apprenticeship; and (7) Code Section 43-26-38, relating to license by endorsement and temporary permit for licensed practical nurses.

SECTION 11. Said title is further amended by replacing "general educational development (GED) equivalency" with "state approved high school equivalency (HSE)" in Code Section 43-10A-7, relating to licensing requirement and exceptions for professional counselors, social workers, and marriage and family therapists.

SECTION 12. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 29, 2022.

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LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS CHANGES CERTAIN PROVISIONS RELATING TO STATE EMPLOYMENT SERVICE AND EMPLOYMENT SECURITY ADMINISTRATION FUND.

No. 727 (House Bill No. 1331).

AN ACT

To amend Title 34 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to labor and industrial relations, so as to change certain provisions relating to the State Employment Service and the Employment Security Administration Fund; to provide for a definition; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Title 34 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to labor and industrial relations, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"34-8-52. As used in this chapter, the term 'Governor's designee' means one or more departments, boards, commissions, or agencies or the elected or appointed heads of such departments, boards, commissions, or agencies of this state selected by the Governor."

SECTION 2. Said title is amended by revising Code Section 34-8-77, relating to the creation and financing of the State Employment Service, cooperation with federal agencies, and the authority to establish and maintain free public employment offices, as follows:
"34-8-77. (a) The State Employment Service is established as a program administered on behalf of the State of Georgia by the Governor's designee. The Governor's designee shall establish and maintain free public employment offices in such number and in such places as may be necessary for the proper administration of this chapter and for the purposes of the state fulfilling such duties as are within the purview of the federal Wagner-Peyser Act, 29 U.S.C. Section 49, as amended. The Governor's designee is authorized to cooperate with or enter into agreements with any official or agency of the United States having powers or duties under the federal Wagner-Peyser Act and to do and perform all things necessary to secure to this state the benefits of that act in the promotion and maintenance of a system of public employment offices. The provisions of the federal Wagner-Peyser Act are accepted by this state, in conformity with Section 4 of that act, and this state will observe and comply with the requirements thereof. The United States secretary of labor shall be notified as to the

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Governor's designee that shall serve as the designated and constituted agency of this state for the purposes of the federal Wagner-Peyser Act. (b) For the purpose of establishing and maintaining free public employment offices, the Governor's designee is authorized to enter into agreements with the Railroad Retirement Board or any other agency of the United States charged with the administration of any unemployment compensation law, with the department or with any political subdivision of this state, or with any private, nonprofit organization; and, as a part of any such agreement, the Governor's designee may accept moneys, services, or quarters as a contribution."

SECTION 3. Said title is amended by revising Code Section 34-8-81, relating to creation of Employment Security Administration Fund, sources of money for fund, and management and control of moneys, as follows:
"34-8-81. (a) There is created a trust fund, with the Commissioner as trustee, to be known as the Employment Security Administration Fund. All moneys which are deposited or paid into this fund shall be continuously available to the Commissioner for expenditure in accordance with this chapter and shall not lapse at any time or be transferred to any other fund except as provided in this Code section and shall not be subject to Article 4 of Chapter 12 of Title 45. All moneys which are deposited or paid into this fund for the purposes described in Code Section 34-8-77 shall be continuously available to the Governor's designee for expenditure in accordance with the purposes described in such Code section and shall be transferred by the Commissioner at the discretion of such Governor's designee. All moneys in this fund, except money received under Code Section 34-8-85 pursuant to Section 903 of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, which are received from the federal government or any agency thereof or which are appropriated by this state for the purposes described in Code Section 34-8-77 shall be expended solely for the purposes and in the amounts found necessary by the United States secretary of labor for the proper and efficient administration of this chapter. (b) The fund shall consist of all moneys appropriated by this state for the purposes described in Code Section 34-8-77; all moneys received from the United States or any agency thereof, including the United States secretary of labor; all moneys, except funds appropriated pursuant to Code Section 34-8-92, received from any other source for such purpose; any moneys received from any agency of the United States or any other state as compensation for services or facilities supplied to such agency; any amounts received pursuant to any surety bond or insurance policy or from other sources for losses sustained by the Employment Security Administration Fund or by reason of damage to equipment or supplies purchased from moneys in such fund; and any proceeds realized from the sale or disposition of any such equipment or supplies which may no longer be necessary for the proper administration of this chapter.

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(c) All moneys in this fund shall be deposited, administered, and disbursed in the manner and under the conditions and requirements provided under this chapter, except that moneys in this fund shall not be commingled with other state funds but shall be maintained in a separate account on the books of a depository bank. Such moneys shall be secured by the depository in which they are held to the same extent and in the same manner as required by the general depository laws of this state, and collateral pledged shall be maintained in a separate custody account. The Commissioner shall be liable on the Commissioner's official bond for the faithful performance of duties in connection with the Employment Security Administration Fund provided for under this chapter. All sums recovered on any surety bond for losses sustained by the Employment Security Administration Fund shall be deposited in the fund. (d) Notwithstanding any provision of this Code section, all money requisitioned and deposited in this fund under Code Section 34-8-85 pursuant to Section 903 of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, shall remain part of the Unemployment Trust Fund and shall be used only in accordance with conditions specified in Code Section 34-8-85."

SECTION 4. Said title is amended by revising Code Section 34-8-82, relating to state reimbursement of Employment Security Administration Fund for moneys lost, wrongfully expended, or overexpended, as follows:
"34-8-82. This state recognizes its obligation to replace and declares it to be the policy of this state that funds will be provided in the future and applied to the replacement of any moneys received from the United States secretary of labor or the federal official responsible for the allocation of funds for the administration of this chapter and for making other administrative determinations within the federal province under Title III of the federal Social Security Act; any unencumbered balances in the Employment Security Administration Fund as of that date; any moneys thereafter granted to this state pursuant to the provisions of the federal Wagner-Peyser Act; and any moneys made available by the state or its political subdivisions and matched by such moneys granted to this state pursuant to the provisions of the federal Wagner-Peyser Act, which the United States secretary of labor or other responsible federal official finds, because of any action or contingency, have been lost or have been expended for purposes other than or in amounts in excess of those found necessary by the United States secretary of labor or other responsible federal official. Such moneys shall be promptly replaced by moneys appropriated for such purpose from the general funds of this state to the Employment Security Administration Fund for expenditure as provided in Code Section 34-8-81. The Commissioner or the Governor's designee, as may be applicable, shall promptly report to the Governor, and the Governor to the General Assembly, the amount required for such replacement."

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SECTION 5. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 29, 2022.

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EDUCATION ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM TO PROMOTE CREATION AND EXPANSION OF REGISTERED APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS BY TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM OF GEORGIA STATE BOARD.

No. 728 (Senate Bill No. 379).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 4 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to vocational, technical, and adult education, so as to provide for the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia to establish a program to promote the creation and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in the state; to provide the purpose of such program; to authorize the board to enter into contracts with employer sponsors for the successful completion of the education, training, and other requirements of apprentices in Georgia; to provide application requirements and procedures; to authorize contract completion awards; to require the board to create and publish a list of high-demand jobs in Georgia; to require a report; to authorize the acceptance of grants and other funds; to provide for definitions; to provide for rules and regulations; to provide for a repealer; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 4 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to vocational, technical, and adult education, is amended by adding a new article to read as follows:

"ARTICLE 7

20-4-150. As used in this article, the term:
(1) 'Apprentice' means a person who is at least 15 years of age, except where a higher minimum age is required by law, who is employed in an eligible apprenticeable occupation, and is registered in Georgia with the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship.

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(2) 'Apprenticeable occupation' means an occupation approved for apprenticeship by the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship. (3) 'Apprenticeship program' means a program registered with the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship that includes terms and conditions for the qualification, recruitment, selection, employment, and training of apprentices, including the requirement for a written apprenticeship agreement. (4) 'Apprenticeship sponsor' means:
(A) Any entity operating an apprenticeship program; or (B) Any entity in whose name an apprenticeship program is being operated that is registered with or approved by the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship. (5) 'Board' means the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia. (6) 'Eligible apprenticeable occupation' means an apprenticeable occupation identified by the Office of Workforce Development pursuant to Code Section 20-4-152 as a high-demand job. (7) 'Employer sponsor' means an employer that coordinates with or is an apprenticeship sponsor and employs and trains an apprentice. (8) 'Office of Workforce Development' means the Technical College System of Georgia's Office of Workforce Development.

20-4-151. (a) Subject to appropriations of funds by the General Assembly for this purpose, the board, in coordination with the Department of Labor, the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Education, and the Office of Planning and Budget, shall establish and administer a program through the Office of Workforce Development to be called the High-demand Career Initiatives Program. The purpose of the program is to incentivize apprenticeship sponsors to establish new or grow existing registered apprenticeship programs in Georgia in order to support the growth of apprenticeship programs and expand high-quality work-based learning experiences in high-demand fields and careers for persons in Georgia. (b) An employer sponsor may apply to the board for the opportunity to enter into a contract to perform the requirements of conducting an apprenticeship program for a specific apprentice. Such contract shall require the employer sponsor's apprentice to successfully complete an apprenticeship program. (c) The board shall provide upon request and on the Technical College System of Georgia's website information about the program, the application, application instructions, and the application period established each year for contracts for services available under the program. (d) Upon successful completion of the requirements of a contract under this article, the board shall provide a contract completion award to the employer sponsor. The contract completion award amount shall be determined based on the number of hours of education

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and training required for the successful completion of the apprenticeship under such apprenticeship program but shall not exceed $10,000.00 per apprentice. (e) Each employer sponsor shall only be eligible to enter into contracts under this article for up to five apprentices per year. (f) An apprenticeship sponsor may assist with the application for and completion of an apprenticeship contract authorized by this article.

20-4-152. (a) The board, in coordination with the Office of Workforce Development, shall create annually and publish on its website a list of high-demand jobs state wide for purposes of the High-demand Career Initiatives Program. (b) The Office of Workforce Development shall publish and maintain criteria for the selection of high-demand jobs eligible for the High-demand Career Initiatives Program.

20-4-153. (a) The Office of Workforce Development shall annually report on its website the following information:
(1) The total amount of compensation awarded under this article; (2) The amount of compensation awarded in each field of high-demand jobs; (3) The total number of contracts entered into and the number of contracts completed; (4) The total number of contracts entered per eligible occupation and the number of those completed; (5) The total amount awarded overall with respect to each eligible occupation; (6) The total number of apprentices who attended an institution of the Technical College System of Georgia during the course of his or her apprenticeship program; and (7) The total number of apprentices who did not attend an institution of the Technical College System of Georgia during the course of his or her apprenticeship program. (b) Each apprenticeship sponsor shall fully cooperate in providing statistical information requested by the board or, at the board's discretion, be excluded from participating in the High-demand Career Initiatives Program.

20-4-154. The board shall adopt rules and regulations establishing a staff review and application approval process, application scoring criteria, the minimum score necessary for approval of a contract, the terms of agreement between an employer sponsor and the board, and any other rules deemed necessary for the implementation and administration of this article.

20-4-155. To assist in carrying out this article, the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia is authorized to accept grants of money, materials, services, or property of any kind from a federal agency, private agency, corporation, or individual.

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20-4-156. This article shall stand repealed on July 1, 2027."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 29, 2022.

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COMMERCE AND TRADE LITIGATION BAR ON GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES REGARDING CERTAIN STATE-WIDE OPIOID LITIGATION.

No. 729 (Senate Bill No. 500).

AN ACT

To amend Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to commerce, so as to provide for a litigation bar on governmental entities regarding certain state-wide opioid litigation; to provide for legislative findings and intent; to provide for definitions; to provide for applicability; to provide for related matters; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to commerce, is amended by adding a new chapter to read as follows:

"CHAPTER 13B

10-13B-1. The General Assembly finds that:
(1) There is an opioid epidemic occurring in the United States, and the State of Georgia has been greatly impacted; (2) State-wide coordination surrounding and managing opioid addiction and related disorders is critical to the health and safety of all Georgians; (3) Funding is needed in the state for, among other things, prevention and treatment of opioid addiction and related disorders; providing resources to law enforcement agencies

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to address the opioid crisis; increasing the number of professionals who provide treatment for opioid addiction; educating medical professionals regarding the safe and effective prescribing of, and then tapering off of, opioids; and treatment and prevention of opioid use disorder in incarcerated populations; (4) It is imperative that the state receive the full amount of any opioid settlement, and in order to do so, the state must be able to release claims for all state and local public bodies and instrumentalities in the state; and (5) While local governments generally have the authority to pursue and litigate claims against businesses and individuals to protect their own interests, in certain limited circumstances involving particular industries, the interests of the state as a whole are best served by having a unified settlement structure that benefits both the state and its local governments and brings full and complete closure to the claims that were asserted or could have been asserted and maximizes the state and local governments' potential recovery to address this extraordinary crisis.

10-13B-2. (a) As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) 'Governmental entity' means: (A) This state and each of its departments, agencies, divisions, boards, commissions, authorities, and instrumentalities; and (B) A political subdivision or creation of this state, including a county, municipality, special district, county and independent school systems, community service board, authority, any county or state officeholder, and any other public officeholder or public entity that has asserted or could assert a claim for damages as a result of the manufacture, marketing, sale, dispensing, or distribution of opioids.
(2) 'Released claim' means a claim by a governmental entity that has been or could have been released under a state-wide opioid settlement agreement. (3) 'Released entity' means an entity against which a claim has been released under a state-wide opioid settlement agreement. (4) 'State-wide opioid settlement agreement' means any settlement agreement and related documents that:
(A) Are entered into by this state through the Attorney General with opioid manufacturers, distributors, retailers, labelers, marketers, pharmacies, or other entities concerning the use or prescription of opioid products; (B) Relate to illegal or tortious conduct in the manufacturing, marketing, promotion, sale, distribution, or dispensing of opioids; (C) Are entered into by the State on or after March 31, 2021; (D) Provide a mechanism which permits governmental entities to join into such settlement agreement; and (E) Are the subject of a memorandum of understanding or similar agreement entered into by both the Attorney General and at least 65 percent of the governmental entities

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which have active and pending litigation against one or more released entities identified in the settlement agreement as of the date when governmental entities are first permitted to join such settlement agreement.

10-13B-3. (a) Entry into a state-wide opioid settlement agreement shall serve to bar any and all past, present or future claims on behalf of any governmental entity seeking to recover against any business or person that is a released entity under the terms of the relevant settlement. Such bar shall apply to any and all released claims or suits by any governmental entity created by or pursuant to an Act of the General Assembly, the Constitution, or any department, agency, or authority thereof, for damages, abatement, injunctive or any other relief. No such claim barred by this Code section shall be brought, threatened, asserted or pursued in any way in any court, and any such claim shall be dismissed by the court in which the claim is brought. (b) The bar provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply to a bellwether claim of any governmental entity, provided that such claim:
(1) Is brought in the proceedings titled In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, Case No.: MDL 2804 as bellwether claims that are to be tried in a bellwether trial; (2) Is selected by the court in In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, Case No.: MDL 2804 as a bellwether claim to be tried in a bellwether trial; and (3) Is brought against defendants selected as bellwether defendants in a bellwether trial. (c) The bar provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section shall become active and effective upon the filing of a consent order by the state that attests to and evidences that a state-wide opioid settlement agreement has been reached, and that the parameters of this chapter have been met."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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COURTS BLUE RIDGE JUDICIAL CIRCUIT; ADDITIONAL SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE.

No. 736 (House Bill No. 56).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 15-6-2 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the number of judges of superior courts, so as to provide for an additional judge of the superior court of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit; to provide for the appointment of such additional judge by the Governor; to provide for the election of successors to the judge initially appointed; to require candidates for such judgeships to designate the seat for which they are running; to prescribe the powers of such judge; to prescribe the compensation, salary, and expense allowance of such judge to be paid by the State of Georgia and the counties included in such circuit; to authorize the judges of such circuit to divide and allocate the work and duties thereof; to provide for the designation of a chief judge; to provide for the manner of impaneling jurors; to provide for an additional court reporter for such circuit; to authorize the governing authority of the counties included in such circuit to provide facilities, office space, supplies, equipment, and personnel for such judges; to declare inherent authority; to provide for related matters; to provide for effective dates; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 15-6-2 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the number of judges of superior courts, is amended by revising paragraph (6) as follows:
"(6) Blue Ridge Circuit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4"

SECTION 2. The additional judge of the superior court of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit provided for in this Act shall be appointed by the Governor for a term beginning January 1, 2023, and expiring December 31, 2024, and until a successor is elected and qualified. At the nonpartisan judicial election to be held in 2024, there shall be elected a successor to such additional judge appointed as provided for above, and he or she shall take office on the first day of January, 2025, and serve for a term of office of four years and until a successor is duly elected and qualified. All subsequent successors to such judge shall be elected at the nonpartisan judicial election conducted in the year in which the term of office shall expire for a term of four years and until his or her successor is duly elected and qualified. Such judges shall take office on the first day of January following the date of their election. Such

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elections shall be held and conducted as is now or may hereafter be provided by law for the election of judges of the superior courts of the State of Georgia.

SECTION 3. Every person who offers for election as one of the judges of such superior court of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit shall designate with the proper authority in all general elections the specific seat for which such person offers by naming the incumbent judge whom he or she desires to succeed and thereupon such person shall be permitted, if otherwise qualified, to run for such designated judgeship and no other. In the event that there is no incumbent judge in the seat for which such person desires to offer, the person shall qualify by announcing his or her intention to run for the office for which there is no incumbent.

SECTION 4. The additional judge of the superior court of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit provided for in this Act shall have and may exercise all powers, duties, dignities, jurisdiction, privileges, and immunities of the present judges of the superior courts of this state. Any of the judges of such court may preside over any cause, whether in their own or in other circuits, and perform any official act as judge thereof, including sitting on appellate courts as provided by law.

SECTION 5. The qualifications of such additional judge and his or her successors shall be the same as are now provided by law for all other superior court judges, and his or her compensation, salary, and expense allowance from the State of Georgia and from the county comprising such circuit shall be the same as that of other judges of the superior court of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit. The salary supplements enacted by the county comprising such circuit for the present superior court judges of such circuit shall also be applicable to the additional judge provided by this Act.

SECTION 6. All writs and processes in the superior court of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit shall be returnable to the terms of such superior court as they are now fixed and provided by law, or as they may hereafter be fixed or determined by law, and all terms of such court shall be held in the same manner as though there were but one judge, it being the intent and purpose of this Act to provide the four judges of such circuit with equal jurisdiction and authority to attend to and perform the functions, powers, and duties of the judges of such superior court and to direct and conduct all hearings and trials in such court.

SECTION 7. Upon and after qualification of the additional judge of the superior court of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit, the four judges of the superior court of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit may adopt, promulgate, amend, and enforce such rules of practice and procedure in consonance

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with the Constitution and laws of the State of Georgia as they deem suitable and proper for the effective transaction of the business of the court; and, in transacting the business of the court and in performing their duties and responsibilities, the judges shall share, divide, and allocate the work and duties to be performed by each. In the event of a disagreement among the judges in respect hereof, the majority shall rule, or failing a majority, the decision of the senior judge in point of service, who shall be known as the chief judge, shall be controlling.

SECTION 8. The drawing and impaneling of all jurors, whether grand, petit, or special, may be conducted by any of the judges of the superior court of such circuit; and they, or each of them, shall have full power and authority to draw and impanel jurors for service in such court so as to have jurors for the trial of cases before any of such judges separately or before each of them at the same time.

SECTION 9. The four judges of the superior court of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit shall be authorized and empowered to employ an additional court reporter for such circuit whose compensation shall be as now or hereafter provided by law.

SECTION 10. All writs, processes, orders, subpoenas, and any other official paper issuing out of the superior court of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit may bear teste in the name of any judge of such circuit and, when issued by and in the name of any judge of such circuit, shall be fully valid and may be held and determined before the same or any other judge of such circuit. Any judge of such court may preside over any cause therein and perform any official act as judge thereof.

SECTION 11. The governing authority of the county comprising the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit shall provide the judges of such circuit with suitable courtrooms and facilities, office space, telephones, furniture, office equipment, supplies, and such personnel as may be considered necessary to the proper functioning of the court. All of the expenditures authorized in this Act are declared to be an expense of the court and payable out of the county treasury as such.

SECTION 12. Nothing enumerated in this Act shall be deemed to limit or restrict the inherent powers, duties, and responsibilities of superior court judges provided by the Constitution and statutes of the State of Georgia.

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SECTION 13. This Act shall become effective for the purpose of appointing the additional judge upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval and for all other purposes on January 1, 2023.

SECTION 14. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC ESTABLISHES SPECIALTY LICENSE PLATE BENEFITING TYBEE ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

No. 737 (House Bill No. 203).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 40-2-86 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to special license plates promoting or supporting certain worthy agencies, funds, or nonprofit corporations with proceeds disbursed to the general fund and the agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation, so as to establish a specialty license plate to benefit the Tybee Island Historical Society; to provide for related matters; to provide for compliance with constitutional requirements; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 40-2-86 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to special license plates promoting or supporting certain worthy agencies, funds, or nonprofit corporations with proceeds disbursed to the general fund and the agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation, is amended by adding a new paragraph to subsection (l) to read as follows:
"(68) A special license plate supporting the Tybee Island Historical Society. The funds raised by the sale of this special license plate shall be disbursed as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection to the Tybee Island Historical Society."

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SECTION 2. In accordance with the requirements of Article III, Section IX, Paragraph VI(n) of the Constitution of the State of Georgia, this Act shall not become law unless it receives the requisite two-thirds' majority vote in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

SECTION 3. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC DRIVERS' LICENSES; INCREASES FEES FOR REPLACEMENT LICENSES AND PERMITS.

No. 738 (House Bill No. 246).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 5 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to drivers' licenses, so as to increase the fee for issuance of replacement licenses and permits; to increase the fee for the issuance and renewal of limited driving permits; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 5 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to drivers' licenses, is amended in Code Section 40-5-31, relating to replacement permits or licenses, by revising subsection (a) as follows:
"(a) In the event that an instruction permit or a driver's license issued under this chapter is lost or destroyed, the person to whom the same was issued may upon payment of the required fee and upon furnishing proof satisfactory to the department that such permit has been lost or destroyed:
(1) Obtain a new permit or license; or (2) Obtain a replacement permit or license.

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A new permit obtained under this Code section shall be obtained in the same manner and under the same conditions and limitations as provided in Code Section 40-5-24. A new license obtained under this Code section shall be obtained in the same manner and under the same conditions and limitations as provided in Code Section 40-5-32, relating to renewals of licenses. A replacement permit or license obtained under this Code section shall be issued only for the remaining period for which the original permit or license was issued for a fee of $10.00, and no examination or eyesight test shall be required to obtain such replacement permit."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended in Code Section 40-5-64, relating to limited driving permits for certain offenders, by revising subsection (e) as follows:
"(e) Fees, duration, renewal, and replacement of limited driving permit. (1) A limited driving permit issued pursuant to this Code section shall be $32.00 and shall become invalid upon: (A) The expiration of one year following issuance thereof in the case of a suspension: (i) For an offense listed in Code Section 40-5-54; (ii) Under Code Section 40-5-57; (iii) Under Code Section 40-5-57.2; or (iv) In accordance with paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-5-63 for a violation of Code Section 40-6-391; (B) The expiration of 30 days in the case of an administrative license suspension in accordance with paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-5-67.2; or (C) Any earlier reinstatement of the driver's license. (2) A person may apply to the department for a limited driving permit immediately following such conviction if he or she has surrendered his or her driver's license to the court in which the conviction was adjudged or to the department if the department has processed the administrative driver's license suspension form or conviction. Upon the applicant's execution of an affidavit attesting to such facts and to the fact that the court had not imposed a suspension or revocation of his or her driver's license or driving privileges inconsistent with the driving privileges to be conferred by the limited driving permit applied for, the department may issue such person a limited driving permit. (3) Limited driving permits issued pursuant to this Code section are renewable upon payment of a renewal fee of $10.00. Such permits may be renewed one time after the person is eligible to reinstate his or her driver's license for the violation that was the basis of the issuance of the permit. (4) Upon payment of a fee in an amount the same as that provided by Code Section 40-5-25 for issuance of a Class C driver's license, a person may be issued a replacement for a lost or destroyed limited driving permit issued to him or her."

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SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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RETIREMENT AND PENSIONS PROBATE COURT JUDGE RETIREMENT BENEFITS; REVISES METHOD FOR DETERMINING CERTAIN ACTUARIAL EQUIVALENTS.

No. 739 (House Bill No. 263).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 47-11-71 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to amount of retirement benefits for judges of the probate courts, optional retirement benefits, and manner in which persons not eligible for maximum benefits at retirement may become eligible, so as to revise the method through which certain actuarial equivalents are determined; to provide for related matters; to provide conditions for an effective date and automatic repeal; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 47-11-71 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to amount of retirement benefits for judges of the probate courts, optional retirement benefits, and manner in which persons not eligible for maximum benefits at retirement may become eligible, is amended in subsection (b) by revising paragraph (1) as follows:
"(b)(1) In lieu of receiving the retirement benefits provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section, a judge of the probate court or employee of the board may elect in writing, on a form to be provided by the board at the time the judge or employee becomes eligible to receive retirement benefits, to receive a monthly retirement benefit payable up to the date of the death of the designated survivor, which benefit shall be based on the judge's or employee's age at retirement and the age of the judge's or employee's designated survivor at that time and shall be computed so as to be actuarially equivalent to the total retirement payment which would have been paid to the judge or employee under subsection (a) of this Code section. A member who is unmarried at the time of such election may designate a survivor at the time of making such election. If a member is married at the time of such election, his or her spouse shall be the designated survivor unless another person is so designated with the written agreement of the spouse. In any

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event, the designated survivor shall be a person with whom the member has a familial relationship through blood, marriage, or adoption. Such actuarial equivalent shall be computed using an interest rate and current mortality table adopted by the board. The spouse designated at the time of the judge's or employee's retirement shall be the only spouse who may draw these benefits."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022, only if it is determined to have been concurrently funded as provided in Chapter 20 of Title 47 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, the "Public Retirement Systems Standards Law"; otherwise, this Act shall not become effective and shall be automatically repealed in its entirety on July 1, 2022, as required by subsection (a) of Code Section 47-20-50.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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INSURANCE REVENUE AND TAXATION PROHIBITS INSURERS FROM CANCELLING, MODIFYING COVERAGE, REFUSING TO ISSUE, OR REFUSING TO RENEW LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES DUE TO DONATION OF LIVER, PANCREAS, KIDNEY, INTESTINE, LUNG, OR BONE MARROW; REVISES INCOME TAX DEDUCTION BASED ON SUCH DONATION.

No. 740 (House Bill No. 275).

AN ACT

To amend Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance, so as to prohibit insurers from cancelling, modifying coverage, refusing to issue, or refusing to renew life insurance policies solely because the applicant or insured donated a liver, pancreas, kidney, intestine, lung, or bone marrow; to amend Code Section 48-7-27 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to computation of state taxable net income, so as to revise an income tax deduction based on a taxpayer's living donation of all or part of his or her liver, pancreas, kidney, intestine, lung, or bone marrow; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA

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SECTION 1. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the "Giving the Gift of Life Act."

SECTION 2. Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance, is amended in Code Section 33-6-5, relating to other unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the business of insurance, by adding a new paragraph to read as follows:
"(8.1) No insurance company shall cancel, modify coverage, refuse to issue, or refuse to renew any life insurance policy solely because the applicant or insured, acting as a living organ donor, donated all or part of a liver, pancreas, kidney, intestine, lung, or bone marrow, provided that this paragraph shall not be interpreted to modify any other provision of this title relating to the cancellation, modification, issuance, or renewal of any insurance policy or contract;"

SECTION 3. Code Section 48-7-27 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to computation of state taxable net income, is amended by revising subparagraph (a)(13)(A) as follows:
"(13)(A) An amount equal to the actual amount expended for organ donation expenses not to exceed the amount of $25,000.00 incurred in accordance with the 'National Organ Procurement Act.'"

SECTION 4. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022, and shall be applicable to taxable years beginning on or after such date.

SECTION 5. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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PUBLIC UTILITIES AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION TELEPHONE SERVICE; RIGHT OF WAY PERMIT FEES AND USE FEES TO MUNICIPALITIES.

No. 741 (House Bill No. 328).

AN ACT

To amend Article 1 of Chapter 5 of Title 46 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to telephone service general provisions, so as to establish a one-time right of way permit fee and reduce annual right of way use fees as due compensation paid to municipal authorities by telephone companies that do not have retail, end user customers located within the boundaries of the municipal authority; to provide certain notice requirements; to establish a civil penalty; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Article 1 of Chapter 5 of Title 46 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to telephone service general provisions, is amended by revising Code Section 46-5-1, relating to the exercise of power of eminent domain by telephone companies, placement of posts and other fixtures, regulation of construction of fixtures, posts, and wires near railroad tracks, liability of telephone companies for damages, required information, and due compensation, as follows:
"46-5-1. (a)(1) Any telephone company chartered by the laws of this or any other state shall have the right to construct, maintain, and operate its lines and facilities upon, under, along, and over the public roads and highways and rights of way of this state with the approval of the county or municipal authorities in charge of such roads, highways, and rights of way. The approval of such municipal authorities shall be limited to the process set forth in paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of this Code section, and the approval of the county shall be limited to the permitting process set forth in subsection (c) of this Code section. Upon making due compensation, as defined for municipal authorities in paragraphs (9) and (19) of subsection (b) of this Code section and as provided for counties in subsection (c) of this Code section, a telephone company shall have the right to construct, maintain, and operate its lines through or over any lands of this state; on, along, and upon the right of way and structures of any railroads; and, where necessary, under or over any private lands; and, to that end, a telephone company may have and exercise the right of eminent domain. (2) Notwithstanding any other law, a municipal authority or county shall not:

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(A) Require any telephone company to apply for or enter into an individual license, franchise, or other agreement with such municipal authority or county; or (B) Impose any occupational license tax or fee as a condition of placing or maintaining lines and facilities in its public roads and highways or rights of way, except as specifically set forth in this Code section. (3) A county or municipal authority shall not impose any occupational license, tax, fee, regulation, obligation, or requirement upon the provision of the services described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of Code Section 46-5-221, including any occupational license, tax, fee, regulation, obligation, or requirement specifically set forth in any part of this chapter other than Part 4. (4) Whenever a telephone company exercises its powers under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the posts, arms, insulators, and other fixtures of its lines shall be erected, placed, and maintained so as not to obstruct or interfere with the ordinary use of such railroads or public roads and highways, or with the convenience of any landowners, more than may be unavoidable. Any lines constructed by a telephone company on the right of way of any railroad company shall be subject to relocation so as to conform to any uses and needs of such railroad company for railroad purposes. Such fixtures, posts, and wires shall be erected at such distances from the tracks of said railroads as will prevent any and all damage to said railroad companies by the falling of said fixtures, posts, or wires upon said railroad tracks; and such telephone companies shall be liable to said railroad companies for all damages resulting from a failure to comply with this Code section. (5) No county or municipal authority shall impose upon a telephone company any build-out requirements on network construction or service deployment, and, to the extent that a telephone company has elected alternative regulation pursuant to Code Section 46-5-165, such company may satisfy its obligations pursuant to paragraph (2) of Code Section 46-5-169 by providing communications service, at the company's option, through any affiliated companies and through the use of any technology or service arrangement; provided, however, that such company shall remain subject to its obligations as set forth in paragraphs (4) and (5) of Code Section 46-5-169. The obligations required pursuant to paragraph (2) of Code Section 46-5-169 shall not apply to a telephone company that has elected alternative regulation pursuant to Code Section 46-5-165 and does not receive distributions from the Universal Access Fund as provided for in Code Section 46-5-167. (b)(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (6) of this subsection, any telephone company that places or seeks to place lines and facilities in the public roads and highways or rights of way of a municipal authority shall provide to such municipal authority the following information: (A) The name, address, and telephone number of a principal office and local agent of such telephone company; (B) Proof of certification from the Georgia Public Service Commission of such telephone company to provide telecommunications services in this state;

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(C) Proof of insurance or self-insurance of such telephone company adequate to defend and cover claims of third parties and of municipal authorities; (D) A description of the telephone company's service area, which description shall be sufficiently detailed so as to allow a municipal authority to respond to subscriber inquiries. For the purposes of this paragraph, a telephone company may, in lieu of or as a supplement to a written description, provide a map on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper that is clear and legible and that fairly depicts the service area within the boundaries of the municipal authority. If such service area is less than the boundaries of an entire municipal authority, the map shall describe the boundaries of the geographic area to be served in clear and concise terms; (E) A description of the services to be provided; (F) An affirmative declaration that the telephone company shall comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including municipal ordinances and regulations, regarding the placement and maintenance of facilities in the public rights of way that are reasonable, nondiscriminatory, and applicable to all users of the public rights of way, including the requirements of Chapter 9 of Title 25, the 'Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act'; and (G) A statement in bold type at the top of the application as follows: 'Pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of Code Section 46-5-1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, the municipal authority shall notify the applicant of any deficiencies in this application within 15 business days of receipt of this application.' (2) If an application is incomplete, the municipal authority shall notify the telephone company within 15 business days of the receipt of such application; such notice shall specifically identify all application deficiencies. If no such notification is given within 15 business days of the receipt of an application, such application shall be deemed complete. (3) Within 60 calendar days of the receipt of a completed application, the municipal authority may adopt such application by adoption of a resolution or ordinance or by notification to the telephone company. The failure of a municipal authority to adopt an application within 60 calendar days of the receipt of a completed application shall constitute final adoption of such application. (4) If it modifies its service area or provisioned services identified in the original application, the telephone company shall notify the municipal authority of changes to the service area or the services provided. Such notice shall be given at least 20 days prior to the effective date of such change. Such notification shall contain a geographic description of the new service area or areas and new services to be provided within the jurisdiction of the affected municipal authority, if any. The municipal authority shall provide to all telephone companies located in its rights of way written notice of annexations and changes in municipal corporate boundaries which, for the purposes of this Code section, shall become effective 30 days following receipt. (5) An application adopted pursuant to this Code section may be terminated by a telephone company by submitting a notice of termination to the affected municipal

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authority. For purposes of this Code section, such notice shall identify the telephone company, the affected service area, and the effective date of such termination, which shall not be less than 60 calendar days from the date of filing the notice of termination. (6) Any telephone company that has previously obtained permits for the placement of its facilities, has specified the name of such telephone company in such permit application, has previously placed its facilities in any public right of way, and has paid and continues to pay any applicable municipal authority's occupational license taxes, permit fees, franchise fees, except as set forth in paragraph (8) of this subsection, or, if applicable, county permit fees shall be deemed to have complied with this Code section without any further action on the part of such telephone company except as set forth in paragraphs (8), (9), (11), (17), and (19) of this subsection. (7) Any telephone company that has placed lines and facilities in the public roads and highways or rights of way of a municipal authority without first obtaining permits or otherwise notifying the appropriate municipal authority of its presence in the public roads and highways or rights of way shall provide the information required by paragraph (1) of this subsection, if applicable, to such municipal authority on or before October 1, 2008. As of October 1, 2008, if any telephone company, other than those who meet the requirements of paragraph (6) of this subsection, has failed or fails to provide the information required by paragraph (1) of this subsection to the municipal authority in which its lines or facilities are located, such municipal authority shall provide written notice to such telephone company giving that company 15 calendar days from the date of receipt of such notice to comply with this subsection. In the event the 15 calendar day cure period expires without compliance, such municipal authority may petition the Georgia Public Service Commission which shall, after an opportunity for a hearing, order the appropriate relief.
(8)(A) In the event any telephone company has an existing, valid municipal franchise agreement as of January 1, 2008, the terms and conditions of such existing franchise agreement shall only remain effective and enforceable until the expiration of the existing agreement or December 31, 2012, whichever shall first occur. (B) In the event any telephone company is paying an existing occupational license tax or fee, based on actual recurring local services revenues, as of January 1, 2008, such payment shall be considered the payment of due compensation without further action on the part of the municipal authority. In the event that the rate of such existing tax or fee exceeds 3 percent of actual recurring local service revenues, that rate shall remain effective until December 31, 2012; thereafter, the payment by such telephone company at the rate of 3 percent shall be considered the payment of due compensation without further action on the part of the municipal authority. (9) As used in this Code section, 'due compensation' for a municipal authority means an amount equal to no more than 3 percent of actual recurring local service revenues received by such company from its retail, end user customers located within the boundaries of such municipal authority. 'Actual recurring local service revenues' means

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those revenues customarily included in the Uniform System of Accounts as prescribed by the Federal Communications Commission for Class 'A' and 'B' companies; provided, however, that only the local service portion of the following accounts shall be included:
(A) Basic local service revenue, as defined in 47 C.F.R. 32.5000; (B) Basic area revenue, as defined in 47 C.F.R. 32.5001; (C) Optional extended area revenue, as defined in 47 C.F.R. 32.5002; (D) Public telephone revenue,, which shall include message revenue, such as that which is coin paid, and other revenue derived from public and semi-public telephone services provided within the basic service area; (E) Local private line revenue, as defined in 47 C.F.R. 32.5040; provided, however, that the portion of such accounts attributable to audio and video program transmission service where both terminals of the private line are within the corporate limits of the municipal authority shall not be included; (F) Other basic area revenue, as defined in 47 C.F.R. 32.5060(a)-(b); (G) Network access revenue, as defined in 47 C.F.R. 32.4999; (H) Directory revenue, as defined in 47 C.F.R. 32.5230; provided, however, that the portion of such accounts attributable to revenue derived from listings in portion of directories not considered white pages shall not be included; (I) Nonregulated operating revenue, as defined in 47 C.F.R. 32.5280; provided, however, that the portion of such accounts attributable to revenues derived from private lines shall not be included; and (J) Uncollectible revenue, as defined in 47 C.F.R. 32.5300. Any charge imposed by a municipal authority shall be assessed in a nondiscriminatory and competitively neutral manner. (10) Any due compensation paid to municipal authorities pursuant to paragraph (9) or (19) of this subsection shall be in lieu of any other permit fee, encroachment fee, degradation fee, disruption fee, business license tax, occupational license tax, occupational license fee, or other fee otherwise permitted pursuant to the provisions of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (7) of Code Section 36-34-2 or Code Section 32-4-92 et seq., or any other provision of law regardless of nomenclature; provided, however, that nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit municipal authorities from imposing fees for wireless facilities, wireless support structures, collocations, or modifications that are not prohibited by Code Section 36-66B-7 or from imposing rates or fees that are permitted by Code Sections 36-66B-5 and 36-66C-5. (11) A telephone company with facilities in the public rights of way of a municipal authority shall begin assessing on subscribers due compensation, as defined in paragraph (9) of this subsection, on the date that service commences unless such company is currently paying a municipal authority's occupational license tax. Due compensation as defined in paragraph (19) of this subsection shall begin to accrue starting on the date the telephone company completes installation of the facilities in the public rights of way of a municipal authority that are subject to paragraph (19) of this

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subsection. Due compensation under paragraphs (9) and (19) of this subsection shall be paid directly to each affected municipal authority within 30 calendar days after the last day of each calendar quarter. In the event that due compensation is not paid on or before 30 calendar days after the last day of each calendar quarter, the affected municipal authority shall provide written notice to such telephone company, giving such company 15 calendar days from the date such company receives such notice to cure any such nonpayment. In the event the due compensation remitted to the affected municipal authority is not postmarked on or before the expiration of the 15 day cure period, such company shall pay interest thereon at a rate of 1 percent per month to the affected municipal authority. If the 15 day cure period expires on a Saturday, a Sunday, or a state legal holiday, the due date shall be the next business day. A telephone company shall not be assessed any interest on late payments if due compensation was submitted in error to a neighboring municipal authority. (12) Each municipal authority may, no more than once annually, audit the business records of a telephone company to the extent necessary to ensure payment in accordance with this Code section. As used in this Code section, 'audit' means a comprehensive review of the records of a company which is reasonably related to the calculation and payment of due compensation. Once any audited period of a company has been the subject of a requested audit, such audited period of such company shall not again be the subject of any audit. In the event of a dispute concerning the amount of due compensation due to an affected municipal authority under this Code section, an action may be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction by an affected municipal authority seeking to recover an additional amount alleged to be due or by a company seeking a refund of an alleged overpayment; provided, however, that any such action shall be brought within three years following the end of the quarter to which the disputed amount relates, although such time period may be extended by written agreement between the company and such affected municipal authority. Each party shall bear the party's own costs incurred in connection with any dispute. The auditing municipal authority shall bear the cost of the audit; provided, however, that if an affected municipal authority files an action to recover alleged underpayments of due compensation and a court of competent jurisdiction determines the company has underpaid due compensation due for any 12 month period by 10 percent or more, such company shall be required to pay such municipal authority's reasonable costs associated with such audit along with any due compensation underpayments; provided, further, that late payments shall not apply. All undisputed amounts due to a municipal authority resulting from an audit shall be paid to the municipal authority within 45 days, or interest shall accrue. (13) If, after a municipal authority provides written notice under paragraph (11), any telephone company fails to comply with the due compensation requirements of paragraph (9) or (19) of this subsection for four or more consecutive quarters, such telephone company shall be subject to a civil penalty; provided, however, that the penalty shall be imposed within three years following the end of the first quarter in which the

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telephone company failed to comply with such requirements and shall not exceed ten percent of the total due compensation owed and unpaid to the municipal authority since the inception of the three-year period. The municipal authority issuing the penalty may suspend the telephone company's ability to receive any new permits from the municipal authority until the telephone company has paid the amount assessed for the civil penalty and unpaid due compensation; provided, however, that the municipal authority shall not suspend such ability of any telephone company that has deposited the amount of the penalty and unpaid due compensation in escrow pending an adjudication of the merits of the dispute by a court of competent jurisdiction. (14) The information provided pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection and any records or information furnished or disclosed by a telephone company to an affected municipal authority pursuant to paragraph (12) of this subsection shall be exempt from public inspection under Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50. It shall be the duty of such telephone company to mark all such documents as exempt from Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50, and the telephone company shall defend, indemnify, and hold harmless any municipal authority and any municipal officer or employee in any request for, or in any action seeking, access to such records. (15) No acceptance of any payment shall be construed as a release or as an accord and satisfaction of any claim an affected municipal authority may have for further or additional sums payable as due compensation. (16) Any amounts overpaid by a company as due compensation shall be deducted from future due compensation owed. (17) A telephone company paying due compensation pursuant to this Code section may designate that portion of a subscriber's bill attributable to such charge as a separate line item of the bill and recover such amount from the subscriber. (18) Nothing in this Code section shall affect the authority of a municipal authority to require telephone companies accessing the public roads and highways and rights of way of a municipal authority to obtain permits and otherwise comply with the reasonable regulations established pursuant to paragraph (10) of subsection (a) of Code Section 32-4-92. (19) If a telephone company does not have retail, end user customers located within the boundaries of a municipal authority, then the following shall apply:
(A) Payment by such company at the same rates that such payments were being made as of January 1, 2013, to a municipal authority for the use of its rights of way shall be considered the payment of due compensation; provided, however, that effective January 1, 2023, for telephone companies that provide any broadband services to any location within the boundaries of a municipal authority, payment at the rate of 5 per linear foot annually shall be considered due compensation, and for telephone companies that do not provide any broadband services to any location within the boundaries of a municipal authority, payment at the rate of 19 per linear foot annually shall be

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considered the payment of due compensation. As used in this subparagraph, the term 'broadband services' shall have the same meaning as provided in Code Section 50-40-1; (B) In addition to the annual rate under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, due compensation may also include a one-time permit application processing fee not to exceed the lesser of the municipal authority's actual and reasonable direct costs for administration of the telephone company's use of the right of way or $100.00; and (C) Any telephone company that is paying due compensation under paragraph (9) of this subsection shall not be required to pay the fees set forth in this paragraph. (20) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to affect any franchise fee or due compensation payments which were in dispute on or before December 31, 2022. (21) If a telephone company paying due compensation pursuant to paragraph (9) will begin paying due compensation pursuant to paragraph (19), or vice versa, such telephone company shall notify the municipal authority of this change in writing, no less than ten calendar days prior to the end of the first quarter in which the new due compensation payments are to be assessed or begin accruing. (c) If a telephone company accesses the public roads and highways and rights of way of a county and such county requires such telephone company to pay due compensation, such due compensation shall be limited to an administrative cost recoupment fee which shall not exceed such county's direct, actual costs incurred in its permitting process, including issuing and processing permits, plan reviews, physical inspection and direct administrative costs; and such costs shall be demonstrable and shall be equitable among applicable users of such county's roads and highways or rights of way. Permit fees shall not include the costs of highway or rights of way acquisition or any general administrative, management, or maintenance costs of the roads and highways or rights of way and shall not be imposed for any activity that does not require the physical disturbance of such public roads and highways or rights of way or does not impair access to or full use of such public roads and highways or rights of way. Nothing in this Code section shall affect the authority of a county to require a telephone company to comply with reasonable regulations for construction of telephone lines and facilities in public highways or rights of way pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (6) of Code Section 32-4-42."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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GUARDIAN AND WARD PROVIDES FOR WHEN PETITION FOR APPOINTMENT OF TEMPORARY GUARDIAN OF MINOR MAY BE TRANSFERRED FROM PROBATE COURT TO JUVENILE COURT.

No. 742 (House Bill No. 464).

AN ACT

To amend Title 29 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to guardian and ward, so as to provide for when a petition for the appointment of a temporary guardian of a minor filed in the probate court may be transferred from the probate court to the juvenile court; to revise the assessment of certain costs, compensation, fees, and expenses; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Title 29 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to guardian and ward, is amended by revising subsection (f) of Code Section 29-2-6, relating to parental consent to temporary guardianship, failure to consent, and minor's preference, as follows:
"(f)(1) In all hearings held pursuant to this Code section, the standard for determination for all matters at issue shall be the best interests of the minor, as determined in accordance with Code Section 15-11-26 and other applicable Georgia law. As to the selection of the temporary guardian, the preference of the minor may be heard. (2) In all proceedings under this Code section, the court may, in its discretion, enter an order transferring the petition to the juvenile court, which shall, after notice and hearing, determine whether the temporary guardianship is in the best interests of the minor. (3) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this Code section, an order by the court transferring the petition to the juvenile court pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection shall be a proper order of the court under paragraph (4) of Code Section 15-11-11."

SECTION 2. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 29-9-3, relating to assessment of costs, compensation, fees, and expenses, factors determining allocation of fees and costs, and enforcement of award of costs, compensation, fees, and expenses, as follows:
"29-9-3. (a) Except as otherwise ordered by the court under paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of Code Section 29-4-10, under paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of Code Section 29-5-10, or under subsection (b) of Code Section 29-11-16, and except as otherwise provided in subsection (a) of Code Section 9-12-135, all costs of court under Code Sections 15-9-60

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and 15-9-126 or other applicable law and all compensation, fees, and expenses awarded by the court under subsections (a) and (b) of Code Section 29-9-15, under Code Section 29-9-16, or under subsection (b) of Code Section 29-9-18, may be assessed and shall be paid as directed by the court in the exercise of its sound discretion and as the court may deem to be in the best interest of the minor, proposed ward, or ward who is the subject of the particular proceeding as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section. (b) In any proceeding for the appointment of a guardian or conservator pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, or 11 of this title, the costs, compensation, fees, and expenses provided for by subsection (a) of this Code section may be assessed and shall be paid as directed by the court in the exercise of its sound discretion and as the court may deem to be in the best interest of the minor, proposed ward, or ward who is the subject of the proceeding, considering the following:
(1) The estate of the minor or ward for whom a guardian or conservator is appointed in such proceeding; (2) The conduct of the petitioners in any such proceeding in which no guardianship order or conservatorship order is entered by the court; (3) Whether such costs, compensation, fees, and expenses shall be paid by the county of the court exercising jurisdiction over such proceeding, provided that the judge who actually presided over the hearing includes a finding in the order that the party against whom such costs, compensation, fees, and expenses are cast pursuant to paragraph (1), (2), or (4) of this subsection appears to lack sufficient assets to defray such costs, compensation, fees, and expenses; (4) The conduct of any party or other person subject to the jurisdiction of the court who has been the perpetrator of abuse, neglect, or exploitation against the person or property of the minor, proposed ward, or ward, provided that the judge who actually presided over the hearing includes a finding in the order determining that such abuse, neglect, or exploitation against the person or property of the minor, proposed ward, or ward has occurred and identifying the perpetrator thereof; or (5) Any property, fund, or proceeds recovered on behalf of or in favor of the minor or ward. (c) In all proceedings pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, or 11 of this title other than for the appointment of a guardian or conservator, the costs, compensation, fees, and expenses provided for by subsection (a) of this Code section may be assessed and shall be paid as directed by the court in the exercise of its sound discretion and as the court may deem to be in the best interest of the minor, proposed ward, or ward who is the subject of the particular proceeding, considering the following: (1) The estate of the minor or ward for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed in any such proceeding, if the court finds that the proceeding was brought in the best interest of the minor or ward; (2) The conduct of the petitioners or movants in any such proceeding;

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(3) The conduct of a guardian or conservator or the surety on such guardian's or conservator's bond, subject to other applicable law governing the liability of sureties on such bonds, in any such proceeding, if:
(A) Such guardian or conservator admits to a violation of any obligation of such guardian or conservator in such guardian's or conservator's representative capacity under this title or other applicable law; (B) The court finds that such guardian or conservator has committed a breach of fiduciary duty or has threatened to commit a breach of fiduciary duty; (C) The court revokes or suspends such guardian's letters of guardianship or such conservator's letters of conservatorship or imposes sanctions upon such guardian or conservator in such proceeding; or (D) The court otherwise finds that such guardian or conservator has committed misconduct or has acted contrary to the best interest of the minor or ward; (4) Whether such costs, compensation, fees, and expenses shall be paid by the county of the court exercising jurisdiction over any such proceeding, provided that the judge who actually presided over the hearing includes a finding in the order that the party against whom such costs, compensation, fees, and expenses are cast pursuant to paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (5) of this subsection appears to lack sufficient assets to defray such costs, compensation, fees, and expenses; (5) The conduct of any party or other person subject to the jurisdiction of the court who has been the perpetrator of abuse, neglect, or exploitation against the person or property of the minor, proposed ward, or ward, provided that the judge who actually presided over the hearing includes a finding in the order determining that such abuse, neglect, or exploitation against the person or property of the minor, proposed ward, or ward has occurred and identifying the perpetrator thereof; or (6) Any property, fund, or proceeds recovered on behalf of or in favor of the minor or ward. (d) An award of costs, compensation, fees, and expenses under this Code section may be enforced by a judgment, writ of fieri facias, execution, or attachment for contempt. (e) For purposes of paragraph (4) of subsection (b) and paragraph (5) of subsection (c) of this Code section, 'abuse, neglect, or exploitation' shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following when committed by an identified perpetrator against the person or property of the minor, proposed ward, or ward: (1) Conduct for which an additional civil penalty has been imposed under Code Section 10-1-851 after consideration of the factors enumerated in Code Section 10-1-852; (2) Conduct giving rise to a cause of action under Code Section 10-1-853; (3) Abuse, child abuse, coercion, deception, emotional abuse, exploitation, isolation, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation as such terms are defined in Code Sections 15-11-2, 16-5-100, 16-5-102.1, 30-5-3, and 49-5-40; (4) Trafficking of persons for labor or sexual servitude as prohibited by Code Section 16-5-46;

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(5) Conduct in violation of Code Section 16-5-70, 16-5-72, 16-5-102, 16-12-1, 16-12-100.1, 16-12-100.2, or 30-5-8; (6) Conduct constituting neglect within the meaning of Code Section 16-5-101 or 30-5-3; (7) A serious violent felony as such term is defined in Code Section 17-10-6.1; (8) A sexual offense as such term is defined in Code Section 17-10-6.2; and (9) Conduct giving rise to a report, investigation, or hearing in accordance with Code Section 30-5-4, 30-5-5, or 31-7-9. For purposes of this paragraph, a probate court acting under this Code section is a court of competent jurisdiction as provided for in subsection (a) of Code Section 30-5-7."

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

__________

EVIDENCE CHANGES RULES OF EVIDENCE REGARDING EXPERT TESTIMONY IN CRIMINAL CASES.

No. 743 (House Bill No. 478).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 7 of Title 24 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to opinions and expert testimony, so as to change the rules of evidence regarding expert testimony in criminal cases; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 7 of Title 24 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to opinions and expert testimony, is amended by revising subsections (a), (b), (d), (e), and (f) of Code Section 24-7-702, relating to expert opinion testimony in civil actions, medical experts, pretrial hearings, and precedential value of federal law, as follows:
"(a) Except as provided in Code Section 22-1-14 and in subsection (g) of this Code section, the provisions of this Code section shall apply in all proceedings. The opinion of a witness qualified as an expert under this Code section may be given on the facts as proved by other witnesses.

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(b) A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if:
(1) The expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue; (2) The testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data; (3) The testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and (4) The expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case." "(d) Upon motion of a party, the court may hold a pretrial hearing to determine whether the witness qualifies as an expert and whether the expert's testimony satisfies the requirements of subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section. In all civil proceedings, a hearing and any ruling shall be completed no later than the final pretrial conference contemplated under Code Section 9-11-16. (e) In all civil proceedings, an affiant shall meet the requirements of this Code section in order to be deemed qualified to testify as an expert by means of the affidavit required under Code Section 9-11-9.1. (f) It is the intent of the legislature that, in all proceedings, the courts of the State of Georgia not be viewed as open to expert evidence that would not be admissible in other states. Therefore, in interpreting and applying this Code section, the courts of this state may draw from the opinions of the United States Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993); General Electric Co. v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136 (1997); Kumho Tire Co. Ltd. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999); and other cases in federal courts applying the standards announced by the United States Supreme Court in these cases."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended by repealing Code Section 24-7-707, relating to expert opinion testimony in criminal proceedings, in its entirety.

SECTION 3. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022, and shall apply to any motion made or hearing or trial commenced on or after that date.

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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COMMERCE AND TRADE PROVIDES PROTECTIONS FOR COMMERCIAL RECORDINGS, MUSICAL PERFORMANCES, AND AUDIOVISUAL WORKS; PROHIBITS DECEPTIVE PRACTICES; REQUIRES CERTAIN WEBSITES OR ONLINE SERVICES TO PROPERLY IDENTIFY THIRD-PARTY COMMERCIAL RECORDINGS OR AUDIOVISUAL WORKS.

No. 744 (House Bill No. 508).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to selling and other trade practices, so as to provide protections for commercial recordings, musical performances, and audiovisual works; to prohibit the deceptive practice of musical performance groups advertising and appearing as the recording group without the recording group's permission or denoting that it is a salute or tribute performance; to provide for definitions; to specify violations; to require certain websites or online services to properly identify third-party commercial recordings or audiovisual works; to provide for definitions; to provide for civil and criminal penalties and causes of action; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to selling and other trade practices, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"10-1-393.16. (a) As used in this part, the term:
(1) 'Performing group' means a vocal or instrumental act consisting of one or more members that intends to advertise or appear under the name of a recording group or a name substantially similar to a recording group. (2) 'Recording group' means a vocal or instrumental act that consists of one or more members of which:
(A) At least one has previously released a sound recording commercially under such act's name; and (B) At least one has a legal right to such act's name by virtue of use or operation under such act's name without having abandoned such name or affiliation with such act. (3) 'Service mark' means any word, name, symbol, or device or any combination thereof adopted and used by a person to identify the services of such person and to distinguish such services from the services of others.

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(4) 'Sound recording' means a work that results from the fixation of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds, regardless of the nature of the material object, such as a phonograph, disc, tape, wire, digital storage, or other medium in which the sounds are embodied. (b) It shall be unlawful for a person to advertise or conduct a vocal or instrumental performance or production in this state by using any false, deceptive, or misleading affiliation, connection, or association between a performing group and a recording group without the express authorization of the recording group unless: (1) Such person or performing group is the authorized registrant and owner of a service mark for the recording group that is registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office; (2) At least one member of the performing group was a member of the recording group and such member of the recording group has a legal right to use or operate under the name of the recording group; (3) The performance or production is identified in all advertising and promotion as a salute or tribute and the name of the performing group is not so closely related or similar to the name used by the recording group that it would tend to confuse or mislead the public; or (4) The advertisement does not relate to a live performance or production taking place in, streamed into, or broadcasted in this state. (c) Each advertisement, performance, or production in violation of this Code section shall constitute a separate violation."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended by adding a new article to read as follows:

"ARTICLE 35

10-1-930. This article shall be known and may be cited as the Georgia 'True Origin of Digital Goods Act.'

10-1-931. As used in this article, the term:
(1) 'Commercial recording or audiovisual work' means a recording or audiovisual work: (A) Consisting of substantially all of such recording or audiovisual work; and (B) Whose owner, assignee, authorized agent, or licensee has disseminated or intends to disseminate for sale, for rental, or for performance or exhibition to the public, regardless of whether a commercial advantage or private financial gain is sought or the person disseminating it owns a license of such recording or audiovisual work.

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(2) 'Electronic dissemination' or 'electronically disseminates' means initiating a transmission of, making available, or otherwise offering a commercial recording or audiovisual work for distribution, display, or performance through the internet or other digital network, regardless of whether such commercial recording or audiovisual work has been previously electronically disseminated by another person. (3) 'Person' means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, unincorporated association, or any other legal or commercial entity. (4) 'Third-party commercial recording' means a commercial recording not belonging to the owner of a website or online service that electronically disseminates it. (5) 'Website' means a set of related web pages served from a single web domain. Such term shall not include a home page or channel page for the user account of a person who is not the owner or operator of the website upon which such user home page or channel page appears.

10-1-932. (a) A person that owns or operates a website or online service that consists to a substantial extent of the electronic dissemination of third-party commercial recordings or audiovisual works, directly or indirectly, and that electronically disseminates such works to consumers in this state shall clearly and conspicuously disclose its true and correct name, physical address, telephone number, and email address on such website or online service in a location readily accessible to a consumer using or visiting the website or online service. (b) The following locations shall be deemed readily accessible for purposes of this article:
(1) A landing or home web page or screen; (2) An 'about' or 'about us' web page or screen; (3) A 'contact' or 'contact us' web page or screen; (4) An information web page or screen; or (5) Another place on the website or online service commonly used to display identifying information to consumers.

10-1-933. (a) An owner, assignee, authorized agent, or exclusive licensee of a commercial recording or audiovisual work electronically disseminated by a website or online service in violation of this article may bring a private cause of action to obtain a declaratory judgment that an act or practice violates this article and to obtain an injunction against any person who knowingly has violated, is violating, or is otherwise likely to violate this article. As a condition precedent to filing a civil action under this article, the aggrieved party must make reasonable efforts to place any person alleged to be in violation of this article on notice that such person may be in violation of this article and that failure to cure within 14 days may result in a civil action filed in a court of competent jurisdiction. (b) Upon motion of the party instituting the action, the court may make appropriate orders to compel compliance with this article.

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(c) The prevailing party in a cause under this article is entitled to recover necessary expenses and reasonable attorney fees.

10-1-934. (a) This article shall be supplemental to those provisions of state and federal criminal and civil law which impose prohibitions or provide penalties, sanctions, or remedies against the same conduct prohibited by this article. (b) This article shall not:
(1) Bar any cause of action or preclude the imposition of sanctions or penalties that would otherwise be available under state or federal law; or (2) Impose liability on providers of an interactive computer service, communications service, commercial mobile service, or information service, including, but not limited to, an internet access service provider, advertising network or exchange, domain name registration provider, and a hosting service provider, if they provide the transmission, storage, or caching of electronic communications or messages of others or provide another related telecommunications service, commercial mobile radio service, or information service for use of such services by another person that is in violation of this article.

10-1-935. (a) A violation of this article shall be considered an unfair or deceptive act or practice which is unlawful and which shall be punishable under Part 2 of Article 15 of this chapter, the 'Fair Business Practices Act of 1975.' (b) A public or private right or remedy prescribed by Part 2 of Article 15 of this chapter, the 'Fair Business Practices Act of 1975,' may be used to enforce this article."

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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GUARDIAN AND WARD TORTS WILLS, TRUSTS, AND ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES CLARIFIES AND REVISES PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR PAYMENT OF CERTAIN SETTLEMENTS INVOLVING CLAIMS OF MINORS; REVISES WHEN NATURAL GUARDIAN OR NEXT FRIEND OF MINOR MAY RECEIVE MINOR'S PERSONAL PROPERTY.

No. 745 (House Bill No. 620).

AN ACT

To amend Title 29, Chapter 4 of Title 51, and Article 6 of Chapter 6 of Title 53 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to guardian and ward, wrongful death, and bond, respectively, so as to clarify and revise procedures and requirements for the payment of certain settlements involving claims of minors; to revise and provide for definitions; to revise when the natural guardian or next friend of a minor may receive the personal property of a minor for certain purposes; to revise certain bond requirements; to provide for related matters; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Title 29 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to guardian and ward, is amended by revising Code Section 29-3-1, relating to "personal property" defined, natural guardian must qualify as conservator, and exception, as follows:
"29-3-1. (a) For purposes of this Code section, the term 'personal property' does not include the value of property that is held for the minor's benefit in trust or by a custodian under Article 5 of Chapter 5 of Title 44, 'The Georgia Transfers to Minors Act.' (b) The natural guardian or next friend of a minor may not receive the personal property of the minor until the natural guardian or next friend becomes the legally qualified conservator of the minor; provided, however, that when the total value of all personal property of the minor is $25,000.00 or less, the natural guardian may receive and shall thereafter hold and use all or part of the personal property for the benefit of the minor and shall be accountable for the personal property but shall not be required to become the legally qualified conservator as to that personal property. (c) Upon receiving an affidavit:
(1) That the value of all the personal property of a minor will not exceed $25,000.00 in value;

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(2) That no conservator has been appointed for the minor's estate; and (3) That the affiant is the natural guardian of the minor, any person indebted to or holding personal property of the minor shall be authorized to pay the amount of the indebtedness or to deliver the personal property to the affiant. In the same manner and upon like proof, any person having the responsibility for the issuance or transfer of stocks, bonds, or other personal property shall be authorized to issue or transfer the stocks, bonds, or personal property to or in the name of the affiant. Upon such payment, delivery, transfer, or issuance pursuant to the affidavit, the person shall be released to the same extent as if the payment, delivery, transfer, or issuance had been made to the legally qualified conservator of the minor and shall not be required to see to the application or disposition of the personal property. (d) This Code section shall not authorize a temporary, testamentary, or permanent guardian to receive personal property of the minor unless the guardian becomes the legally qualified conservator of the minor."

SECTION 2. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 29-3-2, relating to release of debtor when collection doubtful, as follows:
"29-3-2. The natural guardian of a minor who has no conservator may release the debtor and compromise a debt when the collection of the debt is doubtful without becoming the conservator of the minor and without such action being approved by the court if the amount of the debt is not more than $25,000.00."

SECTION 3. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 29-3-3, relating to "gross settlement" defined, compromise of claim, and finality of settlement, as follows:
"29-3-3. (a) For purposes of this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Gross settlement' means the present value of all amounts paid or to be paid in settlement of a minor's claim, including cash, expenses of litigation, attorney's fees, and any amounts allocated to a structured settlement or other similar financial arrangement. Such term shall include the total amount paid or to be paid on behalf of all settling parties. (2) 'Net settlement' means the gross settlement reduced by:
(A) Attorney's fees, expenses of litigation, and legally enforceable liens against the settlement that are to be paid from the settlement proceeds; (B) The present value of amounts to be received by the minor after reaching the age of majority; and (C) The present value of amounts to be placed into a trust that the probate court or court in which the action is pending approves or creates for the benefit of the minor.

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(b) If the minor has a conservator, the only person who can compromise a minor's claim is the conservator.
(c)(1) If the proposed gross settlement of a minor's claim is $25,000.00 or less, the natural guardian of the minor, without becoming the conservator of the minor and without any court approval:
(A) May compromise the claim; or (B) May receive payment of and shall thereafter hold and use the settlement for the benefit of the minor and shall be accountable for the same as provided in Code Section 29-3-1. (2) If the proposed gross settlement of a minor's claim is more than $25,000.00, and the net settlement is $25,000.00 or less: (A) The settlement shall be submitted for approval to:
(i) The probate court if no legal action has been initiated, or (ii) The court in which the legal action is pending if legal action has been initiated, and such court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to approve the settlement, except as provided in subsection (g) of this Code section; (B) No conservator shall be required to compromise the claim; and (C) No conservator shall be required to receive payment of the settlement; provided, however, that the natural guardian receiving payment of the settlement shall thereafter hold and use the settlement for the benefit of the minor and shall be accountable for the same as provided in Code Section 29-3-1. (3) If the proposed gross settlement of a minor's claim is more than $25,000.00, and the net settlement is more than $25,000.00: (A) A conservator shall be required to compromise the claim; (B) A conservator shall be required to receive payment of the settlement and shall thereafter hold and use the settlement for the benefit of the minor and shall be accountable for the same as provided in Code Section 29-3-1; and (C) Such conservator shall submit the settlement for approval to: (i) The probate court if no legal action has been initiated, or (ii) The court in which the legal action is pending if legal action has been initiated, and such court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to approve the settlement, except as provided in subsection (g) of this Code section. (d)(1) If an order of approval is obtained from the probate court or a court in which legal action is pending, based upon the best interest of the minor, the natural guardian, next friend, or conservator shall be authorized, subject to Code Section 29-3-22, to compromise any contested or doubtful claim in favor of the minor without receiving consideration for such compromise as a lump sum. (2) Without limiting the foregoing, the compromise may: (A) Involve a structured settlement or creation of a trust on terms that the probate court or court in which the action is pending approves or creates, including, but not limited to, funding; and

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(B) Be in exchange for: (i) The resolution of the action; or (ii) An arrangement that defers: (I) Receipt of part, not to exceed a total distribution of $25,000.00 prior to a minor reaching the age of majority; or (II) All of the consideration for the compromise until after the minor reaches the age of majority.
(e) Any settlement entered consistent with the provisions of this Code section shall be final and binding upon all parties, including the minor. (f) It shall be within the discretion of the court in which the action is pending to hold a hearing on compliance with the requirements of this Code section; provided, however, that a hearing shall not be required if compliance with such requirements is evident from the record.
(g)(1) Notwithstanding any provision of this Code section to the contrary, where a settlement has been submitted to a court for approval, an action shall not be voluntarily dismissed pursuant to subsection (a) of Code Section 9-11-41, or otherwise dismissed upon motion, except upon order of the court in which the action is pending and upon the terms and conditions as that court deems proper. (2) If specifically indicated in the dismissal order, or if a settlement is reached while the case is pending in the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, the trial court shall retain exclusive jurisdiction to approve any settlement. (3) If legal action has been initiated but is no longer pending, and the trial court has not specifically retained jurisdiction pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, then any settlement approved by the court in which the legal action is pending as required by subsection (c) of this Code section, shall instead be submitted for approval to the probate court."

SECTION 4. Said title is further amended by revising paragraphs (4), (12), and (13) of subsection (a) and paragraphs (5) and (6) of subsection (c) of Code Section 29-3-22, relating to power of conservator and cooperation with guardian of minor, as follows:
"(4) Receive, collect, and hold the minor's property, additions to the minor's property, and all related records, subject to subsection (d) of Code Section 29-3-41;" "(12) Compromise any contested or doubtful claim for or against the minor if the proposed gross settlement as defined in Code Section 29-3-3 is in an amount not greater than $25,000.00; and (13) Release the debtor and compromise all debts in an amount not greater than $25,000.00 when the collection of the debt is doubtful." "(5) Pursuant to the provisions of Code Section 29-3-3, to compromise a contested or doubtful claim for or against the minor if the proposed gross settlement as defined in Code Section 29-3-3 is in an amount greater than $25,000.00;

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(6) To release the debtor and compromise a debt that is in an amount greater than $25,000.00 when the collection of the debt is doubtful;"

SECTION 5. Said title is further amended by revising Code Section 29-3-41, relating to requirements of bond, term and value of bond, and substantial compliance sufficient, as follows:
"29-3-41. (a) The bond of a conservator shall be:
(1) Secured by an individual who is a domiciliary of this state or by a licensed commercial surety authorized to transact business in this state; (2) Payable to the court for the benefit of the minor; (3) Conditioned upon the faithful discharge of the conservator's duty, as is required by law; and (4) Attested by the judge or clerk of the court. (b) The court may order a conservator who is required to give bond to post bond for a period of time greater than one year, as may be appropriate in the circumstances. A surety on a bond posted pursuant to this subsection shall not be relieved of liability merely because of the expiration of the term of the bond but shall be subject to the provisions of law for the discharge of a surety applicable to other bonds. (c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this Code section, the bond shall be in a value equal to double the estimated value of the minor's estate; provided, however, that the bond shall be in an amount equal to the estimated value of the estate if secured by a licensed commercial surety authorized to transact business in this state. The value of the estate for purposes of the bond shall be determined without regard to the value of any real property or improvements thereon but, upon conversion of the real property into personal property, a bond shall be given based upon the value of the estate, including the value of the personal property into which the real property was converted. (d) When the assets of the estate consist of only one or more choses in action of indeterminate value, no bond shall be required until the value of any such chose in action is able to be determined by settlement or judgment, whereupon bond shall be set in an amount to be determined in accordance with subsection (c) of this Code section; provided, however, that a conservator appointed without bond pursuant to this subsection shall have no authority to receive assets of the minor's estate other than a chose or choses in action until such conservator has posted bond in accordance with this Code section. As used in this subsection, the term 'chose in action' shall have the same meaning as provided in Article 2 of Chapter 12 of Title 44. (e) Substantial compliance with these requirements for the bond shall be deemed sufficient; and no bond shall be declared invalid by reason of any variation from these requirements as to payee, amount, or condition, where the manifest intention was to give bond as conservator and a breach of the fiduciary's duty as such has been proved."

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SECTION 6. Said title is further amended by revising paragraphs (13) and (14) of subsection (a) and paragraphs (5) and (6) of subsection (c) of Code Section 29-5-23, relating to authority of conservator and cooperation with guardian or other interested parties, as follows:
"(13) Compromise any contested or doubtful claim for or against the ward if the proposed gross settlement as defined in Code Section 29-3-3 is in the amount of $25,000.00 or less; and (14) Release the debtor and compromise all debts in the amount of $25,000.00 or less when the collection of the debt is doubtful." "(5) To compromise a contested or doubtful claim for or against the ward if the proposed gross settlement as defined in Code Section 29-3-3 is more than $25,000.00; (6) To release the debtor and compromise all debts for which the collection is doubtful when the amount of the debt is $25,000.00 or more;"

SECTION 7. Chapter 4 of Title 51 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to wrongful death, is amended by revising Code Section 51-4-2, relating to persons entitled to bring action for wrongful death of spouse or parent, survival of action, release of wrongdoer, disposition of recovery, exemption from liability for decedent's debts, and recovery not barred when child born out of wedlock, as follows:
"51-4-2. (a) The surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, a child or children, either minor or sui juris, may recover for the homicide of the spouse or parent the full value of the life of the decedent, as shown by the evidence.
(b)(1) If an action for wrongful death is brought by a surviving spouse under subsection (a) of this Code section and the surviving spouse dies pending the action, the action shall survive to the child or children of the decedent. (2) If an action for wrongful death is brought by a child or children under subsection (a) of this Code section and one of the children dies pending the action, the action shall survive to the surviving child or children. (3) If there is no surviving spouse and an action for wrongful death is brought by a minor child or minor children under subsection (a) of this Code section, the natural guardian, guardian, or next friend of any such minor child shall:
(A) Qualify as a conservator if necessary to receive payment of the settlement and shall thereafter hold and use the settlement for the benefit of the minor and shall be accountable for the same as provided in Code Section 29-3-1, and (B) Obtain court approval of such settlement of such minor child or minor children as provided in Code Section 29-3-3. (c) The surviving spouse may release the alleged wrongdoer without the concurrence of the child or children or any conservator, guardian, next friend, or other authorized representative thereof and without any order of court, provided that such spouse shall hold

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the consideration for such release subject to subsection (d) of this Code section and shall be accountable for same.
(d)(1) Any amount recovered under subsection (a) of this Code section shall be equally divided, share and share alike, among the surviving spouse and the children per capita, and the descendants of children shall take per stirpes. (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of this subsection, the surviving spouse shall receive no less than one-third of such recovery as such spouse's share. If there is no surviving spouse, the amount recovered under subsection (a) of this Code section shall be equally divided, share and share alike, among the children per capita, and the descendants of children shall take per stirpes. (e) No recovery had under subsection (a) of this Code section shall be subject to any debt or liability of the decedent or of the decedent's estate. (f) In actions for recovery under this Code section, the fact that a child has been born out of wedlock shall be no bar to recovery."

SECTION 8. Article 6 of Chapter 6 of Title 53 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to bond, is amended by revising Code Section 53-6-50, relating to persons required to give, as follows:
"53-6-50. (a) Unless otherwise provided in this Code section, any person who seeks to qualify to serve as the personal representative of an intestate estate or as a temporary administrator shall be required to give bond with good and sufficient security. (b) A national banking association or a bank or trust company organized under the laws of this state that seeks to qualify as a personal representative of an intestate estate or temporary administrator shall not be required to give bond for the faithful performance of its duties unless its combined capital, surplus, and undivided profits are less than $400,000.00 as reflected in its last statement filed with the comptroller of the currency of the United States or the commissioner of banking and finance or unless the instrument under which it seeks to qualify expressly provides that it shall give bond. (c) A person petitioning to qualify as a personal representative of an intestate estate may be relieved from the requirement for giving bond by the unanimous consent of the heirs of the estate. With respect to any heir who is not sui juris, consent may be given by the guardian of the individual. The personal representative of a deceased heir is authorized to consent for that heir. In no case may consent on behalf of an heir who is not sui juris be effective if the person consenting is the person petitioning to serve as personal representative. (d) The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to bonds described in Code Section 53-6-41 and Code Section 53-6-53.
(e)(1) When the assets of the estate consist only of one or more choses in action of indeterminate value and the personal representative or temporary administrator is not

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relieved from the requirement for giving bond by subsection (b) or (c) of this Code section, no bond shall be required under subsection (a) of this Code section until the value of any such chose in action is able to be determined by settlement or judgment, whereupon bond shall be set in an amount to be determined in accordance with subsection (c) of Code Section 53-6-51. If the value of any additional such chose in action subsequently is determined by settlement or judgment, the amount of the bond shall be increased in accordance with subsection (c) of Code Section 53-6-51. As used in this subsection, the term 'chose in action' shall have the same meaning as provided in Article 2 of Chapter 12 of Title 44. (2) A personal representative or temporary administrator who qualifies to serve without bond pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall have no authority to receive the settlement or judgment of a chose in action under this subsection until:
(A) Such personal representative or temporary administrator has posted bond in accordance with paragraph (1) of this subsection; and (B) Upon the initial posting of bond by such personal representative or temporary administrator in the first instance in which the value of a chose in action is determined by settlement or judgment, amended letters have been issued accordingly."

SECTION 9. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 10. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

__________

COURTS SOUTH GEORGIA JUDICIAL CIRCUIT; ADDITIONAL SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE.
No. 746 (House Bill No. 624).
AN ACT
To amend Code Section 15-6-2 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the number of judges of superior courts, so as to provide for an additional judge of the superior court of the South Georgia Judicial Circuit; to provide for the appointment of such additional judge by the Governor; to provide for the election of successors to the judge initially

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appointed; to require candidates for such judgeships to designate the seat for which they are running; to prescribe the powers of such judge; to prescribe the compensation, salary, and expense allowance of such judge to be paid by the State of Georgia and the counties included in such circuit; to authorize the judges of such circuit to divide and allocate the work and duties thereof; to provide for the designation of a chief judge; to provide for the manner of impaneling jurors; to provide for an additional court reporter for such circuit; to authorize the governing authority of the counties included in such circuit to provide facilities, office space, supplies, equipment, and personnel for such judges; to declare inherent authority; to provide for related matters; to provide for effective dates; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 15-6-2 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the number of judges of superior courts, is amended by revising paragraph (34) as follows:
"(34) South Georgia Circuit.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3"

SECTION 2. The additional judge of the superior court of the South Georgia Judicial Circuit provided for in this Act shall be appointed by the Governor for a term beginning July 1, 2022, and expiring December 31, 2024, and until a successor is elected and qualified. At the nonpartisan judicial election to be held in 2024, there shall be elected a successor to such additional judge appointed as provided for above, and he or she shall take office on the first day of January, 2025, and serve for a term of office of four years and until a successor is duly elected and qualified. All subsequent successors to such judge shall be elected at the nonpartisan judicial election conducted in the year in which the term of office shall expire for a term of four years and until his or her successor is duly elected and qualified. Such judges shall take office on the first day of January following the date of their election. Such elections shall be held and conducted as is now or may hereafter be provided by law for the election of judges of the superior courts of the State of Georgia.

SECTION 3. Every person who offers for election as one of the judges of such superior court of the South Georgia Judicial Circuit shall designate with the proper authority in all general elections the specific seat for which such person offers by naming the incumbent judge whom he or she desires to succeed and thereupon such person shall be permitted, if otherwise qualified, to run for such designated judgeship and no other. In the event that there is no incumbent judge in the seat for which such person desires to offer, the person shall qualify by announcing his or her intention to run for the office for which there is no incumbent.

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SECTION 4. The additional judge of the superior court of the South Georgia Judicial Circuit provided for in this Act shall have and may exercise all powers, duties, dignities, jurisdiction, privileges, and immunities of the present judges of the superior courts of this state. Any of the judges of such court may preside over any cause, whether in their own or in other circuits, and perform any official act as judge thereof, including sitting on appellate courts as provided by law.

SECTION 5. The qualifications of such additional judge and his or her successors shall be the same as are now provided by law for all other superior court judges, and his or her compensation, salary, and expense allowance from the State of Georgia and from the county comprising such circuit shall be the same as that of other judges of the superior court of the South Georgia Judicial Circuit. The salary supplements enacted by the county comprising such circuit for the present superior court judges of such circuit shall also be applicable to the additional judge provided by this Act.

SECTION 6. All writs and processes in the superior court of the South Georgia Judicial Circuit shall be returnable to the terms of such superior court as they are now fixed and provided by law, or as they may hereafter be fixed or determined by law, and all terms of such court shall be held in the same manner as though there were but one judge, it being the intent and purpose of this Act to provide the three judges of such circuit with equal jurisdiction and authority to attend to and perform the functions, powers, and duties of the judges of such superior court and to direct and conduct all hearings and trials in such court.

SECTION 7. Upon and after qualification of the additional judge of the superior court of the South Georgia Judicial Circuit, the three judges of the superior court of the South Georgia Judicial Circuit may adopt, promulgate, amend, and enforce such rules of practice and procedure in consonance with the Constitution and laws of the State of Georgia as they deem suitable and proper for the effective transaction of the business of the court; and, in transacting the business of the court and in performing their duties and responsibilities, the judges shall share, divide, and allocate the work and duties to be performed by each. In the event of a disagreement among the judges in respect hereof, the majority shall rule, or failing a majority, the decision of the senior judge in point of service, who shall be known as the chief judge, shall be controlling.

SECTION 8. The drawing and impaneling of all jurors, whether grand, petit, or special, may be conducted by any of the judges of the superior court of such circuit; and they, or each of them, shall

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have full power and authority to draw and impanel jurors for service in such court so as to have jurors for the trial of cases before any of such judges separately or before each of them at the same time.

SECTION 9. The three judges of the superior court of the South Georgia Judicial Circuit shall be authorized and empowered to employ an additional court reporter for such circuit whose compensation shall be as now or hereafter provided by law.

SECTION 10. All writs, processes, orders, subpoenas, and any other official paper issuing out of the superior court of the South Georgia Judicial Circuit may bear teste in the name of any judge of such circuit and, when issued by and in the name of any judge of such circuit, shall be fully valid and may be held and determined before the same or any other judge of such circuit. Any judge of such court may preside over any cause therein and perform any official act as judge thereof.

SECTION 11. The governing authorities of the counties comprising the South Georgia Judicial Circuit shall provide the judges of such circuit with suitable courtrooms and facilities, office space, telephones, furniture, office equipment, supplies, and such personnel as may be considered necessary to the proper functioning of the court. All of the expenditures authorized in this Act are declared to be an expense of the court and payable out of the county treasuries as such.

SECTION 12. Nothing enumerated in this Act shall be deemed to limit or restrict the inherent powers, duties, and responsibilities of superior court judges provided by the Constitution and statutes of the State of Georgia.

SECTION 13. This Act shall become effective for the purpose of appointing the additional judge upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval and for all other purposes on July 1, 2022.

SECTION 14. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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RETIREMENT AND PENSIONS GEORGIA LEGISLATIVE RETIREMENT SYSTEM; REVISES EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS, PRIOR SERVICE CREDIT FOR MILITARY SERVICE, RETIREMENT ALLOWANCES.

No. 747 (House Bill No. 824).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 6 of Title 47 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Georgia Legislative Retirement System, so as to define a term; to revise provisions relating to employee contributions to the retirement system, prior service credit for military service, and retirement allowances; to provide for related matters; to provide conditions for an effective date and automatic repeal; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 6 of Title 47 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Georgia Legislative Retirement System, is amended by adding a new paragraph to Code Section 47-6-1, relating to definitions, to read as follows:
"(7.1) 'Presiding creditable service' means any creditable service earned by a member while serving as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended in Code Section 47-6-60, relating to employee contributions to the retirement system, payment of employee contributions on behalf of the member, and additional contributions, by revising subsections (a) and (f) and by adding a new subsection to read as follows:
"(a) Until June 30, 2022, each member shall contribute 7 1/2 percent of his or her monthly salary. Such contributions shall be made through payroll deductions by the legislative fiscal officer. (a.1) On and after July 1, 2022, each member shall contribute $165.00 each month; provided, however, that the member serving as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives shall contribute an additional $660.00 each month. Such contributions shall be made through payroll deductions by the legislative fiscal officer." "(f) Until June 30, 2022, in addition to the employee contributions required by subsections (a) and (d) of this Code section, effective July 1, 1986, each member shall contribute 1 percent of the member's monthly salary to the system. Such members shall have such additional amount of employee contributions required by this subsection deducted by the legislative fiscal officer from their monthly salary along with the other

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deduction from such salary made by said legislative fiscal officer pursuant to subsections (a) and (d) of this Code section."

SECTION 3. Said chapter is further amended in Code Section 47-6-70.1, relating to prior service credit for military service, by revising paragraph (6) as follows:
"(6) The member must pay to the board of trustees the regular employee contribution provided by subsection (a) or (a.1) of Code Section 47-6-60 based on the amount of such contributions that were required and in effect at the time the military service was rendered plus interest on such employee contributions at the rate of 7 percent per annum compounded annually from the time the military service was rendered until the date of payment."

SECTION 4. Said chapter is further amended in Code Section 47-6-80, relating to eligibility and application for a retirement allowance, early retirement, amount of retirement allowance, compliance with federal tax laws, and increases in retirement allowance, by adding a new subsection to read as follows:
"(c.1) In lieu of the monthly service retirement allowance provided in subsection (d) of this Code section, for any person who was a contributing member on January 1, 2022, or who first becomes a contributing member after January 1, 2022, upon retirement under subsection (a) of this Code section such member shall receive a monthly service retirement allowance equal to the sum of $50.00 for each year of such member's creditable service and an additional $200.00 for each year of such member's presiding creditable service. Any inactive or retired member who was not a contributing member on January 1, 2022, and who becomes a contributing member again after January 1, 2022, shall be eligible for the monthly service retirement allowance provided in this subsection for his or her membership service earned after January 1, 2022."

SECTION 5. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022, only if it is determined to have been concurrently funded as provided in Chapter 20 of Title 47 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, the "Public Retirement Systems Standards Law"; otherwise, this Act shall not become effective and shall be automatically repealed in its entirety on July 1, 2022, as required by subsection (a) of Code Section 47-20-50.

SECTION 6. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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BANKS AND BANKING COMPREHENSIVE REVISIONS.

No. 748 (House Bill No. 891).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 1 of Title 7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to financial institutions, so as to provide for numerous updates; to remove and change reporting requirements for certain personnel of the Department of Banking and Finance regarding the use of financial institutions; to prohibit certain changes in control of financial institutions; to allow the department to extend the period for approval of certain proposed acquisitions; to change certain references to 'bank' to 'financial institutions'; to expand certain notice requirements; to authorize certain mergers of limited liability companies with banks and trust companies; to provide for requirements for establishing a representative office; to provide for requirements and limitations for the activities of certain representative offices; to update provisions relative to bank holding companies; to provide for notification requirements; to remove the department's requirement to consider the convenience and needs of the community for approval of certain transactions; to provide for requirements for interstate acquisitions of banks and bank holding companies; to authorize credit unions to provide third-party payment and check-cashing services and act as sellers of payment instruments and international remittances; to authorize the department to approve alternative schedules for board meetings; to exempt certain obligations from limitations on credit union loans; to remove the requirement to use registered or certified mail for certain notices; to authorize the department to disapprove a change in control by executive officers in certain instances; to exempt certain acquisitions by passive investors from application requirements and to provide requirements for such acquisitions; to exempt certain acquisitions by licensees from application requirements and establish requirements for such acquisitions; to authorize the department to access, receive, and use international investigative background reports; to authorize the department to use, hire, contract, or employ analytical systems, methods, or software; to update requirements for certain exemptions from licensing by the department as a mortgage loan originator, mortgage broker, or mortgage lender; to exempt from licensing persons who engage in certain transactions with closed mortgage loans; to change the calculation for fees for certain exempt persons; to clarify and remove superfluous language; to update terminology; to remove outdated language; to correct a cross-reference; to amend Chapter 3 of Title 7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to installment loans, so as to include servicing of installment loans to the activity regulated under the chapter; to exempt from regulation certain government entities and certain retail and credit transactions; to change the per loan fee structure for such loans; to clarify that the department may issue cease and desist orders to persons that are not licensed; to amend Chapter 6A of Title 7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the "Georgia Fair Lending Act," so as to update a citation to a federal regulation; to make conforming

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changes; to provide for definitions; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 1 of Title 7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to financial institutions, is amended by revising subsections (c), (d), and (g) of Code Section 7-1-37, relating to restrictions on commissioner, deputy commissioners, and examiners, as follows:
"(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section, the commissioner, any deputy commissioner, any department employee with financial institution or licensee supervisory responsibilities, or examiners employed by the department may borrow money from and otherwise deal with any financial institution or subsidiary thereof existing under the laws of the United States or of any state other than this state, provided that the obligee financial institution or subsidiary is not examined or regulated by the department. For the purposes of this subsection, a financial institution shall not be considered regulated solely because it is required to file an exemption from licensing under Code Section 7-1-1001 or solely because it is owned or controlled by another bank or corporation which is or may be examined or regulated by the department. (d) Nothing in this Code section shall prohibit the commissioner, any deputy commissioner, any department employee with financial institution or licensee supervisory responsibilities, or any examiner of the department from maintaining a deposit in any financial institution, purchasing banking services other than credit services, or owning a single share in a credit union in the ordinary course of business and under rates and terms generally available to other customers of the financial institution. The provisions of this Code section shall not be applicable in the cases of a lender credit card obligation to a financial institution where the maximum outstanding credit does not exceed $25,000.00 nor to any other credit obligation fully secured by the pledge of a deposit account in the lending institution, provided that the financial institution is not within the employee's assigned examination authority and provided that the rates and terms of all such obligations are not preferential in comparison to similar obligations of the financial institution's other customers. Such exempt obligations shall be reported to the commissioner within ten days of execution of the credit obligation if the financial institution is regulated or examined by the department, and the employee shall be disqualified from any dealings with the obligee financial institution." "(g) The commissioner, any deputy commissioner, any department employee with financial institution or licensee supervisory responsibility, or any examiner shall not directly or indirectly:
(1) Receive any money or property as a loan from any department licensee or any director, officer, agent, employee, or attorney of a department licensee, unless such employee does not examine or exercise supervisory responsibility over that licensee;

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(2) Receive any money or property as a gift from any department licensee or any director, officer, agent, employee, or attorney of a department licensee, unless consistent with the ethics in government policy of this state; (3) Give any money or property as a gift to any department licensee or any director, officer, agent, employee, or attorney of a department licensee, unless consistent with the ethics in government policy of this state; or (4) Engage in the business of a department licensee."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 7-1-230, relating to definitions relative to change in control of financial institutions, as follows:
"7-1-230. As used in this part, the term:
(1) 'Concert with one or more persons' includes, but is not limited to, the following persons and relationships:
(A) A company and any controlling shareholder, partner, trustee, or management official of the company if both the company and the individual own voting securities of the financial institution; (B) An individual and the individual's immediate family; (C) Companies under common control; (D) Persons that are parties to any agreement, contract, understanding, or other arrangement, whether written or otherwise, regarding the acquisition, voting, or transfer of control of voting securities of a financial institution; (E) Persons that have made, or propose to make, a joint filing under Section 13 or 14 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the rules promulgated thereunder by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission; and (F) A person and any trust for which the person serves as trustee. (2) 'Control' means the power directly or indirectly to direct the management or policies of a financial institution or to vote 25 percent or more of any class of voting securities of a financial institution. (3) 'Person' means an individual or a corporation, partnership, trust, association, joint venture, pool, syndicate, sole proprietorship, unincorporated organization, or any other form of entity not specifically listed in this paragraph. (4) 'Presumption of control' means a person which directly or indirectly owns, controls, or has the power to vote more than 10 percent but less than 25 percent of any class of voting securities of a financial institution if no other persons will own, control, or hold the power to vote a greater percentage of that class of voting securities immediately after the transaction."

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SECTION 3. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 7-1-231, relating to acquisition of control without permission prohibited, as follows:
"7-1-231. (a) For purposes of this Code section, the term 'financial institution' shall include any 'bank holding company' as such term is defined in subsection (a) of Code Section 7-1-605. (b) It shall be unlawful for a person, acting directly or indirectly or through concert with one or more persons, to acquire control or the presumption of control of any financial institution through a purchase, assignment, pledge, or other disposition of voting stock of such institution, except with the approval of the department or as otherwise permitted by this part."

SECTION 4. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (b) of Code Section 7-1-232, relating to notice of proposed acquisition required, approval or disapproval by department, and judicial review, as follows:
"(b) The department shall be given at least 60 days' prior written notice of any such proposed acquisition. The department may extend the period during which a disapproval may issue for another 30 days. The period for disapproval may be further extended only if the department determines that any acquiring party has not furnished all the information required under Code Section 7-1-233 or that in its judgment any material information submitted is substantially inaccurate. An acquisition may be made prior to expiration of the disapproval period if the department issues written notice of its intent not to disapprove the action."

SECTION 5. Said chapter is further amended by revising paragraph (5) of Code Section 7-1-233, relating to contents of notice, as follows:
"(5) Any plans or proposals which any acquiring party making the acquisition may have to liquidate the financial institution, to sell its assets or merge it with any company, or to make any other major change in its business or corporate structure or management;"

SECTION 6. Said chapter is further amended by revising paragraphs (3) and (4) of Code Section 7-1-234, relating to grounds for disapproving proposal, as follows:
"(3) The financial condition of any acquiring person is such as might jeopardize the financial stability of the financial institution or prejudice the interests of the depositors of the financial institution; (4) The competence, experience, or integrity of any acquiring person or of any of the proposed management personnel indicates that it would not be in the interest of the

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depositors of the financial institution or in the interest of the public to permit such person to control the financial institution;"

SECTION 7. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 7-1-236, relating to report of change in control, as follows:
"7-1-236. Whenever a change occurs in the ownership of or right to vote the outstanding shares of any bank or trust company which will result in the control or a change in the control of the bank or trust company, the president or other officer of such bank or trust company shall, within ten days after knowledge thereof, report such facts to the department. Notwithstanding Code Section 7-1-230, as used in this Code section, the term 'control' means the power to direct or cause, directly or indirectly, the direction of the management or policies of the institution. If there is any doubt as to whether a change in the ownership or voting rights of such shares is sufficient to result in control thereof or to effect a change in the control thereof, such doubt shall be resolved in favor of reporting the facts to the department."

SECTION 8. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsections (b) and (g) of Code Section 7-1-530, relating to authority to merge, consolidate, or exchange shares and requirements relative to merger and consolidation of state banks and trust companies, as follows:
"(b) A corporation or limited liability company other than a bank or trust company may be merged into or consolidated with, or may enter into a share exchange with, a bank or trust company, provided that:
(1) The resulting institution of the merger or consolidation is a bank or trust company; (2) The resulting institution of the merger or consolidation, or the acquired bank or trust company in a share exchange, holds only assets and liabilities and is engaged only in activities which may be held or engaged in by a bank or trust company; and (3) The merger, share exchange, or consolidation is not otherwise unlawful." "(g) Subject to the provisions of this part, this Code section does not limit the power of a corporation or limited liability company other than a bank or trust company to acquire all or part of the shares of one or more classes or series of a bank or trust company through a voluntary exchange of shares or otherwise."

SECTION 9. Said chapter is further amended by replacing the term "shareholders" with "shareholders or members" wherever such term occurs in Code Section 7-1-531, relating to requirements for merger, share exchange, or consolidation plan, adoption of plan, and modification of plan.

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SECTION 10. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (b) of Code Section 7-1-535, relating to federal approval or disapproval and issuance of certificate of merger, share exchange, or consolidation, as follows:
"(b) If all the taxes, fees, and charges required by law shall have been paid and if the name of the resulting bank or trust company in a merger or consolidation continues to be reserved or is available on the records of the Secretary of State, upon receipt of the written approval of the department, the Secretary of State shall issue to the resulting bank or trust company or the acquiring corporation or limited liability company in a share exchange a certificate of merger, share exchange, or consolidation with the approved articles of merger or consolidation attached thereto and shall retain a copy of such certificate, articles, and approval by the department."

SECTION 11. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 7-1-590, relating to definitions relative to representative offices and registration, as follows:
"7-1-590. As used in this part, the term:
(1) 'Bank' and 'bank holding company' shall have the same meaning as in Part 18 of this article. A 'banking business' is the business which a bank is authorized to do pursuant to this title. The power to receive deposits or the performance of any transaction directly or through an affiliate or agent relative to a deposit account shall be presumed to constitute a banking business. (2) 'Deposit production office' means a form of a representative office with the authority to solicit deposits, provide information about deposit products, and assist consumers to complete the application forms to open deposit accounts, provided that such office does not open deposit accounts, take deposits, or conduct any other banking business. (3) 'Domicile' means the home state as defined in paragraph (12) of Code Section 7-1-621 where a bank is chartered or where a bank holding company is incorporated. (4) 'Loan production office' is a form of a representative office, where the solicitation of loans or of leases of personal property may occur, but not the closing of loans, the disbursement of loan proceeds nor any other banking business. It shall be established and registered as a representative office. (5) 'Representative office' is an office established by a bank, a bank holding company, or an agent or subsidiary of either for the purpose of conducting business activities other than a banking business and includes, but is not limited to, deposit production offices, loan production offices, and trust production offices. It shall not be considered to be a branch office or main office. (6) 'Trust production office' means a trust sales office of a qualifying individual or corporate fiduciary which office is not performing fiduciary activities. Sales activities

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shall consist primarily of marketing or soliciting in this state using mail, telephone, or electronic means or in person to act or propose to act as a fiduciary."

SECTION 12. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 7-1-591, relating to establishment of representative office by bank or bank holding company domiciled in state and out of state activities, as follows:
"(a) A bank domiciled in this state and operating under the laws of this state or a subsidiary of such bank may establish a representative office anywhere in the state upon registering with the department. A bank holding company domiciled in this state and operating under the laws of this state or a nonbank subsidiary of such bank holding company may establish a representative office anywhere in this state upon registering with the department."

SECTION 13. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 7-1-592, relating to establishment of representative office by bank or holding company domiciled in state or outside of state and conformance with requirements of primary regulator, as follows:
"7-1-592. A bank or bank holding company domiciled in this state and operating under the laws of the United States or domiciled outside this state and operating under the laws of such other state or territory or of the United States, or its subsidiary, may establish representative offices anywhere in this state, provided that such bank or bank holding company conforms to the requirements of its primary regulator. The permissible activities conducted at such a representative office are governed by federal law if the bank is a national bank or by the law of the state or territory where the bank is domiciled if chartered by another state, except to the extent such activities are expressly prohibited by the laws of this state or by any regulation of the commissioner."

SECTION 14. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 7-1-593, relating to registration of bank or bank holding company having representative office in state, as follows:
"(a) Prior to closing a representative office, a bank, bank holding company, or a subsidiary of a bank or bank holding company shall post notice of the closing as required by Code Section 7-1-110.1."

SECTION 15. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (a) and paragraph (3) of subsection (c) of Code Section 7-1-605, relating to bank holding companies, definitions, and when company deemed to control shares, as follows:

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"(a)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (5) of this subsection, 'bank holding company' means any company which has control over any bank or over any company that is or becomes a bank holding company by virtue of this part. (2) Any company has 'control' over a bank or over any company if:
(A) The company directly or indirectly or acting through one or more other persons owns, controls, or has power to vote 25 percent or more of any class of voting securities of the bank or company; (B) The company controls in any manner the election of a majority of the directors or trustees of the bank or company; (C) The commissioner determines, after notice and opportunity for hearing, that the company directly or indirectly exercises a controlling influence over the management or policies of the bank or company; or (D) The company directly or indirectly owns, controls, or has power to vote more than 10 percent but less than 25 percent of any class of voting securities of the bank or company if no other company or person will own, control, or hold the power to vote a greater percentage of that class of voting securities immediately after the transaction. (3) For the purposes of any proceeding under subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of this subsection, there is a presumption that any company which directly or indirectly owns, controls, or has power to vote less than 5 percent of any class of voting securities of a given bank or company does not have control over that bank or company. (4) In any administrative or judicial proceeding under this part, other than a proceeding under subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of this subsection, a company may not be held to have had control over any given bank or company at any given time unless that company, at the time in question, directly or indirectly owned, controlled, or had power to vote 5 percent or more of any class of voting securities of the bank or company, or had already been found to have control in a proceeding under subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of this subsection. (5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection: (A) No bank and no company owning or controlling voting shares of a bank is a bank holding company by virtue of its ownership or control of shares in a fiduciary capacity, except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (c) of this Code section. For the purpose of the preceding sentence, bank shares shall not be deemed to have been acquired in a fiduciary capacity if the acquiring bank or company has sole discretionary authority to exercise voting rights with respect thereto; and (B) No company is a bank holding company by virtue of its ownership or control of shares acquired in securing or collecting a debt previously contracted in good faith until two years after the date of acquisition. (6) For the purposes of this part, any successor to a bank holding company shall be deemed to be a bank holding company from the date on which the predecessor company became a bank holding company."

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"(3) Shares transferred by any bank holding company (or by the company which, but for such transfer, would be a bank holding company) directly or indirectly to any transferee that is indebted to the transferor, or has one or more officers, directors, trustees, or beneficiaries in common with or subject to control by the transferor, shall be deemed to be indirectly owned or controlled by the transferor unless the commissioner, after opportunity for hearing, determines that the transferor is not in fact capable of controlling the transferee."

SECTION 16. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 7-1-606, relating to bank holding companies, actions unlawful without prior approval of commissioner, and exceptions, as follows:
"7-1-606. (a)(1) It shall be unlawful, except with the prior approval of the commissioner: (A) For any action to be taken that causes any company to become a bank holding company; (B) For any action to be taken that causes a bank to become a subsidiary of a bank holding company; (C) For any bank holding company to acquire direct or indirect ownership or control of any voting shares of any bank if, after such acquisition, such company will directly or indirectly own or control 5 percent or more of the voting shares of such bank; (D) For any bank holding company or subsidiary thereof, other than a bank, to acquire all or substantially all of the assets of a bank; (E) For any bank holding company to merge or consolidate with, or enter into a share exchange with, any other bank holding company; or (F) For any bank holding company to take any action which would violate the federal Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended. (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of this subsection, these prohibitions shall not apply to: (A) Shares acquired by a bank: (i) In good faith in a fiduciary capacity, except where such shares are held under a trust that constitutes a company as defined in paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of Code Section 7-1-605 and except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (c) of Code Section 7-1-605; or (ii) In the regular course of securing or collecting a debt previously contracted in good faith, but such shares in securing or collecting any such previously contracted debt shall be disposed of within a period of two years from the date on which they were acquired; (B) Additional shares acquired by a bank holding company in a bank in which such bank holding company owned or controlled a majority of the voting shares prior to such acquisition;

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(C) A bank holding company of a national bank with its main office in Georgia acquiring a Georgia bank holding company, as such term is defined in paragraph (10) of Code Section 7-1-621, shall notify the department upon filing an application with the appropriate federal or state financial regulator. The notification requirements of this subparagraph shall be satisfied by furnishing the department with a copy of the application or applications filed with applicable bank supervisory agencies seeking approval for the proposed transaction and such other information as the department may request. In addition, the parties shall file with the department and the Secretary of State a certificate of approval of the acquisition by the appropriate supervisory agencies prior to consummation of the transaction. The department may, for good cause shown, object to the transaction by letter to the bank holding company of a national bank with its main office in Georgia, the Georgia bank holding company, and to the appropriate federal or state financial regulator before consummation of the transaction. In the event of such objection, the acquisition cannot be consummated without the parties obtaining the approval of the department; or (D) Transactions for which the department has established by rule, regulation, or written policy a streamlined or alternative procedure, if such procedure specifically dispenses with the need for approval by the commissioner. For the purpose of this paragraph, bank shares shall not be deemed to have been acquired in good faith in a fiduciary capacity if the acquiring bank or company has sole discretionary authority to exercise voting rights with respect thereto; but, in such instances, acquisitions may be made without prior approval of the commissioner if the commissioner, upon application filed within 90 days after the shares are acquired, approves retention or, if retention is disapproved, the acquiring bank disposes of the shares or its sole discretionary voting rights within two years after issuance of the order of disapproval. (b)(1) The commissioner shall not approve nor shall any other procedure authorize: (A) Any acquisition or merger or share exchange or consolidation under this Code section which would result in a monopoly or which would be in furtherance of any combination or conspiracy to monopolize or to attempt to monopolize the business of banking in any part of the State of Georgia; or (B) Any other proposed acquisition or merger or share exchange or consolidation under this Code section whose effect in any section of the state may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly, or which in any other manner would be in restraint of trade, unless it finds that the anticompetitive effects of the proposed transaction are clearly outweighed in the public interest by the probable effect of the transaction in meeting the convenience and needs of the community to be served. (2) In every case, the department shall take into consideration the financial and managerial resources and future prospects of the company or companies and the banks concerned. (c) Reserved.

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(d) The commissioner shall not grant any such contemplated approval until he or she shall first cause reasonable public notice of the proposed action to be given in the area to be affected and until he or she shall first afford to the public an opportunity to submit, for the commissioner's consideration, information, objections, and opinions as to the proposed action and its effect. The notice requirement may not apply in the case of a streamlined procedure where the holding company meets certain qualifying criteria established by rule, regulation, or written policy of the department. (e) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this part, a bank holding company which lawfully controls a bank or has received the requisite approvals under this Code section to acquire control of a bank may, with the approval of the commissioner, or as otherwise provided in this chapter or by departmental rule or regulation, either at the time such control is obtained or at any time thereafter, merge or consolidate such bank with another of such bank holding company's banking subsidiaries or have another of such bank holding company's banking subsidiaries acquire all or substantially all of the assets of such bank and consequently operate as a branch office of such other banking subsidiary. Nothing in this subsection shall be deemed to supersede, rescind, or modify any provision, requirement, or condition of this Code section which would otherwise be applicable to any acquisition of a banking subsidiary by a bank holding company under this Code section, nor shall it be deemed to supersede, rescind, or modify any provision, requirement, or condition of Part 14, 16, 19, or 20 of this article which would otherwise be applicable to the merger of banks or the acquisition or sale of all or substantially all of the assets of a bank."

SECTION 17. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 7-1-607, relating to bank holding companies that control a bank, registration, reporting, examinations, and control, as follows:
"(a) On an annual basis, each bank holding company that controls a bank chartered by the department shall register with the commissioner on forms provided or prescribed by him or her, which may include such information with respect to the financial condition, operation, management, and intercompany relationships of the bank holding company and its subsidiaries and related matters as the commissioner may deem necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of this part."

SECTION 18. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsections (b) and (c) of Code Section 7-1-622, relating to provisions applicable to interstate acquisitions or mergers by bank holding companies, eligibility of applicants, and commissioner's ruling required, as follows:
"(b) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection (a) of this Code section and subject to the permitted acquisitions of subsection (b) of Code Section 7-1-608, no bank or bank holding company may:

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(1) Directly or indirectly acquire a Georgia bank unless such bank has been in existence and continuously operated or incorporated as a bank for a period of three years or more prior to the date of acquisition. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing shall prohibit an out-of-state bank holding company from acquiring all or substantially all of the shares of a Georgia bank organized solely for the purpose of facilitating the acquisition of a bank which has been in existence and continuously operated as a bank for the requisite three-year period; or (2) Directly or indirectly acquire a bank having banking offices in Georgia if the applicant (including all insured depository institutions which are affiliates of the applicant), upon consummation of the acquisition, would control 30 percent or more of the total amount of deposits of insured depository institutions in this state. The commissioner may by regulation adopt a procedure whereby the foregoing limitations on concentration of deposits may be waived upon showing of good cause. This restriction shall not apply, in the discretion of the commissioner, to transactions complying with paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of Code Section 7-1-623. (c) The commissioner must rule on any application seeking approval to engage in a transaction under this Code section not later than 90 days following the date of submission of a completed application seeking such approval. If the commissioner decides to hold a public hearing in connection with the application, the time limit specified may be extended to 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing."

SECTION 19. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 7-1-623, relating to acquisitions not requiring department approval, as follows:
"7-1-623. (a) Subject to any applicable restrictions an out-of-state bank holding company having a bank subsidiary with banking offices in Georgia may acquire a bank that does not have banking offices in this state, and an out-of-state bank holding company may acquire an out-of-state bank with branch offices in Georgia without the approval of the department. (b) A bank holding company may engage in the transactions described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection without the necessity of complying with Code Section 7-1-622, provided that it notifies the department not less than 30 days following the consummation of the transaction.
(1) The acquisition of a Georgia bank, if such acquisition has been consummated with assistance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation under Section 13(c) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, as amended, 12 U.S.C. Section 1823(c); or (2) The acquisition of a Georgia bank, if such acquisition has been consummated in the regular course of securing or collecting a debt previously contracted in good faith, as provided in and subject to the requirements of Section 3(a) of the federal Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended, 12 U.S.C. Section 1842(a). The bank or bank holding company must divest the securities or assets acquired within two years of the date

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of acquisition. The department may, in its discretion, permit the bank or bank holding company to retain such interest for up to three additional periods of one year each. (c) An out-of-state bank holding company acquiring a Georgia bank holding company or Georgia state bank shall notify the department upon filing an application with the appropriate federal or state financial regulator. The notification requirements of this subsection shall be satisfied by furnishing the department with a copy of the application or applications filed with applicable bank supervisory agencies seeking approval for the proposed transaction and such other information as the department shall request. In addition, the parties shall file with the department and the Secretary of State a certificate of approval of the acquisition by the appropriate supervisory agencies prior to consummation of the transaction. The department may, for good cause shown, object to the transaction by letter to the out-of-state bank holding company, the Georgia bank holding company, and to the appropriate federal or state financial regulator before consummation of the transaction. In the event of such objection, the acquisition cannot be consummated without the parties obtaining the approval of the department."

SECTION 20. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 7-1-625, relating to provisions applicable to, and qualification of, bank holding companies in state, reciprocal agreements, and confidentiality of reports, as follows:
"7-1-625. (a) Any Georgia bank holding company controlling a bank having banking offices in Georgia and any out-of-state bank holding company controlling a Georgia state bank shall be subject to the provisions of Code Sections 7-1-605 through 7-1-612 and the rules and regulations of the department applicable to bank holding companies. (b) Any out-of-state bank holding company that has a bank subsidiary with banking offices in Georgia that is not otherwise organized under the laws of this state or qualified to do business in this state shall qualify to do business in this state as a foreign corporation. (c) The department may enter into cooperative and reciprocal agreements with the bank regulatory authorities of any state or the United States for the periodic examination of bank holding companies and may accept reports of examination and other records from such authorities in lieu of conducting its own examinations. The department may enter into joint actions with other regulatory bodies having concurrent jurisdiction or may enter into such actions independently to carry out its responsibilities under this title and assure compliance with the laws of this state. Any examinations or reports originated by Georgia or by another bank supervisory agency shall be deemed and treated as confidential according to Georgia law, and such confidentiality shall not be affected by the sharing of the examinations or reports. The department shall not be obligated to provide or disclose such examinations and reports to any third party. Agreements to share such examinations or reports shall contain provisions for dealing with confidentiality and subpoenas."

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SECTION 21. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (b) of Code Section 7-1-628, relating to purpose and scope of part, as follows:
"(b) The scope of this part covers mergers where, upon consummation of the interstate merger transaction, the resulting bank will have banking locations in Georgia and at least one other state. It provides for certain approval, notice, and other requirements. "

SECTION 22. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (b) of Code Section 7-1-628.4, relating to permissible interstate merger transactions, as follows:
"(b) An out-of-state bank may enter into an interstate merger transaction with a Georgia bank, and an out-of-state bank resulting from such transaction may maintain and operate branches in Georgia. The requirements of Code Section 7-1-628.5 shall be met by the resulting bank. In order to consummate such a merger with a resulting out-of-state state bank, a Georgia state bank shall comply with Code Sections 7-1-531 through 7-1-533 and 7-1-537, except that the format of the articles of merger submitted in accordance with Code Section 7-1-532 may be in conformity with the resulting bank's home state law if such law requires a format different from that specified by Code Section 7-1-532. A Georgia state bank shall comply with Code Section 7-1-534 if a national bank or a federal savings bank is to be the resulting bank."

SECTION 23. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 7-1-633, relating to organizational meeting of directors and commencing of business for credit unions, as follows:
"(a) Within 30 days after receipt of the certificate of incorporation from the Secretary of State, an organizational meeting of the board of directors named in the articles of incorporation shall be held for the purpose of accepting the certificate and bylaws, appointing a credit committee or, in lieu thereof, loan officers and an audit committee, naming the president, and electing or appointing the officers, as provided in Code Section 7-1-655, who shall serve until the first directors' meeting after the first annual meeting. Notice of the meeting shall be given at least five days prior to the date of the meeting."

SECTION 24. Said chapter is further amended by revising paragraphs (1), (12), and (13) and adding new paragraphs in Code Section 7-1-650, relating to powers of credit unions, as follows:
"(1) Receive funds from its members or other financial institutions in the form of shares and deposits on accounts or as evidenced by certificates of deposit issued by the credit union;"

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"(12) Provide, in its articles of incorporation approved by a majority of its membership present and voting, for the elimination or limitation of personal liability of a director to the credit union or its members in their capacity as shareholders of the credit union to the same extent as a bank or trust company operating under the provisions of this chapter; (13) Subject to any rules and regulations enacted by the department and in compliance with federal law and applicable provisions regarding insurable interests in Chapter 24 of Title 33, purchase, hold, or fund insurance on the life of any of its directors, officers, or employees, or any other person whose death might cause financial loss to the credit union, or, pursuant to any contract lawfully obligating the credit union as guarantor or surety, on the life of the principal obligor; (14) Provide third-party payment services to its members; and (15) Provide check-cashing services, sale of payment instruments, or sale of international remittances to those consumers eligible for membership."

SECTION 25. Said chapter is further amended by revising subparagraph (b)(1)(B) of Code Section 7-1-651.1, relating to in person annual meetings, requirements for remote options, and impact of emergency declaration, as follows:
"(B) Enable members to vote at such meetings by means of electronic communication. Such measures may include, but are not limited to, telephonic or internet voting; and"

SECTION 26. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (c) of Code Section 7-1-655, relating to boards of directors, credit and audit committees, officers, oaths of officials, removal from office, suspension of member, filling of vacancies, and notification to department of change in president or chief executive officer, as follows:
"(c) At the organizational meeting and at its first meeting after each annual meeting of the members, the board of directors shall appoint an audit committee, credit committee, chairperson, secretary, and such other officers consistent with the bylaws as the board deems desirable. No member of the audit committee may serve as a member of the credit committee or as an officer, unless the board of directors functions as the credit committee as provided for in subsection (f) of Code Section 7-1-658."

SECTION 27. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 7-1-656, relating to duties of directors, meetings, prohibited activities, eligibility to vote, applicability of Code Section 7-1-490, and appointment of honorary director or director emeritus, as follows:
"(a) The board of directors shall be responsible for the affairs, funds, and records of the credit union and shall meet as often as necessary. The board of directors shall meet at least once during ten different months of each calendar year unless an alternative schedule is approved in writing by the department, but in no event shall the board meet less frequently

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than once in each calendar quarter. Unless the bylaws specifically reserve any or all of the duties to the members, it shall be the special duty of the directors:
(1) To act upon all applications for membership or approve the actions of an officer without loan granting authority, designated by the board of directors to approve applications for membership; (2) To determine from time to time rates of interest and dividends which shall be allowed on deposits and charged on loans consistent with this article and other applicable laws and to authorize any interest refunds on such classes of loans and under such conditions as the board prescribes; (3) To fix the amount of the fidelity bond which shall be required of all officers, employees, agents, or members having custody of funds, properties, or records; provided, however, that the amount of such fidelity bond shall not be less than such minimum requirements as shall be prescribed by regulation of the department and shall be in such form as may from time to time be approved by the department; (4) To fix within the restrictions imposed by statute the maximum amount of deposits which may be made by and the maximum amount that may be loaned to any one member; (5) To fill vacancies on the board of directors, credit committee, and audit committee until the election and qualification of a successor; (6) To have charge of the investment of funds of the credit union other than loans to members within the restrictions imposed by statute or delegate investment authority to a qualified committee or officer as designated by the board of directors; (7) To appoint any committees deemed necessary; and (8) To perform such other duties as the members may from time to time authorize."

SECTION 28. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (g) of Code Section 7-1-658, relating to loans, as follows:
"(g) The limitations of subsection (f) of this Code section shall not apply to: (1) Obligations of and obligations guaranteed by: (A) The United States; (B) The State of Georgia or a public body thereof authorized to levy taxes; (C) Any state of the United States or any public body thereof if the obligations or guarantees are general obligations; or (D) Any agency of this state as defined in subparagraph (a)(1)(A) of Code Section 50-14-1; (2) Obligations to the extent secured by: (A) Obligations fully guaranteed by the United States; (B) Guaranties or commitments or agreements to take over or purchase made by any public body of the United States or any corporation owned directly or indirectly by the United States; or

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(C) Loan agreements between a local public agency or a public housing agency and an instrumentality of the United States pursuant to national housing legislation under which funds will be provided for payment of the obligations secured by such loan agreements; (3) Obligations with respect to the sale of federal or correspondent funds to financial institutions having their deposits insured to the same extent as that required of similar institutions chartered in this state; (4) A renewal or restructuring of a loan as a new loan or extension of credit following the exercise by the credit union of reasonable efforts, consistent with safe and sound banking practices, to bring the loan into conformance with the lending limits of this Code section, unless: (A) New funds are advanced by the credit union to the borrower, except as permitted under this Code section; (B) A new borrower replaces the original borrower; or (C) The department determines that a renewal or restructuring was undertaken as a means to evade the credit union's lending limit; and (5) Unsecured obligations below the unsecured legal lending limit in conjunction with secured obligations below the secured legal lending limit so long as the total aggregate liability for both secured and unsecured obligations is $50,000.00 or less."

SECTION 29.
Said chapter is further amended by repealing and reserving Code Section 7-1-670, relating to third-party payment services, as follows:
"7-1-670. Reserved."

SECTION 30. Said chapter is further amended by revising paragraphs (5), (8), and (24) and adding new paragraphs in Code Section 7-1-680, relating to definitions relative to the sale of payment instruments, as follows:
"(5) 'Control,' 'controlling,' 'controlled by,' or 'under common control with' means the direct or indirect possession of power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a person or the direct or indirect possession of power to elect or appoint a majority of executive officers or other persons exercising managerial authority of a person." "(8) 'Executive officer' means the chief executive officer, president, chief financial officer, chief operating officer, each officer with responsibility involving policy-making functions for a significant aspect of a person's business, or any other individual performing similar managerial or supervisory functions with respect to any organization, whether incorporated or unincorporated."

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"(14.1) 'Multistate licensing process' means any licensing agreement entered into by and among state agencies that regulate money transmitters and sellers of payment instruments." "(16.1) 'Passive investor' means a person that:
(A) Owns, directly or indirectly, at least 10 percent but less than 25 percent interest in or voting shares of a licensee or person in control of a licensee; (B) Does not have the power to elect a majority of the members of the board of directors of a licensee; (C) Is not employed by and does not perform any managerial duties for the licensee or person in control of a licensee; and (D) Does not have the power to exercise, directly or indirectly, a controlling influence over the management or policies of a licensee or person in control of a licensee." "(24) 'Ultimate equitable owner' means a person that: (A) Owns, directly or indirectly, a 10 percent or more interest in a corporation or any other form of business organization; (B) Owns, directly or indirectly, 10 percent or more of the voting shares of any corporation or any other form of business organization; or (C) Exerts control, directly or indirectly, over a corporation or any other form of business organization, regardless of whether such person owns or controls such interest through one or more natural persons or one or more proxies, powers of attorney, nominees, corporations, associations, limited liability companies, partnerships, trusts, joint stock companies, other entities or devices, or any combination thereof. For purposes of determining ultimate equitable ownership by an individual, the individual's interest shall be aggregated with the interest of any other immediate family member, including the individual's spouse, parents, children, siblings, mothers- and fathers-in-law, sons- and daughters-in-law, brothers- and sisters-in-law, and any other individual who shares such individual's home."

SECTION 31. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsections (a), (d), and (e) of Code Section 7-1-687, relating to notice of action against licensee by creditor or claimant and other notification requirements, as follows:
"(a) A licensee shall give written notice to the department of any action which may be brought against it by any creditor or claimant where such action relates to the activities authorized under this article or involves a claim against the bond filed with the department under Code Section 7-1-683.2. The notice shall provide details sufficient to identify the action and shall be sent within 30 days after the commencement of any such action. The licensee shall also give written notice to the department within 30 days of the entry of any judgment entered against the licensee." "(d) A licensee shall give written notice to the department within ten days of the following:

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(1) Any knowledge or discovery of an act prohibited by Code Section 7-1-684 or 7-1-691 or subsection (a) of Code Section 7-1-692; (2) The discharge of any employee for actual or suspected misrepresentations, dishonest acts, or fraudulent acts; (3) Any knowledge or discovery of the discharge of a covered employee or an authorized agent for actual or suspected misrepresentations, dishonest acts, or fraudulent acts; (4) Any knowledge or discovery of an administrative, civil, or criminal action initiated by any government entity against the licensee or an authorized agent; any director, officer, partner, or ultimate equitable owner of the licensee or authorized agent; or any individual who directs the affairs of or controls or establishes policy for the licensee or authorized agent; or (5) The filing of a petition by or against the licensee under the United States Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. Sections 101 through 110, for bankruptcy reorganization or the filing of a petition by or against the licensee for receivership or the making of a general assignment for the benefit of its creditors. (e) Unless prior approval of a change in executive officer is required under Code Section 7-1-688 and notwithstanding subsection (e) of Code Section 7-1-684 requiring a criminal background check prior to the initial date of hire, a licensee shall notify the department in writing of any change of executive officer in such a manner that the notice is received by the department no later than ten business days after the effective date of the change. In the event of such change, the licensee shall initiate a criminal background check no later than ten business days after the effective date of the change. If the department determines that an executive officer does not meet the requirements of subsections (a) or (b) of Code Section 7-1-684, the department may disapprove the notice of change, and the licensee shall remove the individual from the executive officer position upon receipt of the disapproval."

SECTION 32. Said chapter is further amended by adding a new subsection to Code Section 7-1-688, relating to approval required of new ultimate equitable owner, other change of control, or executive officer of licensee, and denial of application, to read as follows:
"(d) The application provisions of this Code section shall not apply to: (1) An acquisition by a passive investor, provided that such person submits documentation to the department, in a form prescribed by the department, establishing that such person meets the criteria for a passive investor prior to such acquisition. The failure to provide acceptable documentation establishing that the person qualifies as a passive investor or to continuously satisfy the passive investor requirements shall require the filing of a change of control application; or (2) An acquisition of a licensee by a person licensed by the department under this article, provided that: (A) The person has not had a license revoked or suspended in any jurisdiction;

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(B) The person is well-managed and has received at least a satisfactory rating for compliance and supervision at its most recent examination by the department or a state agency whose money transmitter regulatory program has been accredited by the appropriate governing authority; (C) The resulting entity or entities are projected to meet the financial condition requirements established by this article; (D) Neither the person nor the licensee to be acquired will implement any material changes to their respective business plans as a result of the acquisition; and (E) The person provides the department with prior notice of the acquisition and attests to the requirements provided in this paragraph in a form prescribed by the department. If the department does not approve such notice of acquisition within 30 days of the date on which the notice was determined by the department to be complete, the notice is deemed approved. If the department disapproves such notice of acquisition, the acquiring person shall be required to file a change of control application."

SECTION 33. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (f) of Code Section 7-1-689, relating to record keeping, investigations and examinations by department, subpoenas, confidentiality, and limitations on civil liability, as follows:
"(f) In addition to any other authority set forth under this article, the department shall be authorized to conduct investigations and examinations of applicants, licensees, and authorized agents as follows:
(1) The department shall have the authority to access, receive, and use any books, accounts, records, files, documents, information, or evidence, including, but not limited to:
(A) Criminal, civil, and administrative history information, including nonconviction data; (B) Personal history and experience information, including, but not limited to, independent credit reports obtained from a consumer reporting agency described in the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1681a; (C) For an individual who has resided outside of the United States, an international investigative background report prepared by a competent independent search firm, which shall include, at a minimum, comprehensive credit, criminal, employment, media, and financial services regulatory history information; and (D) Any other documents, information, or evidence the department deems relevant to the inquiry, examination, or investigation regardless of the location, possession, control, or custody of such documents, information, or evidence; (2) The department may review, investigate, or examine any licensee or person subject to this article as often as necessary in order to carry out the purposes of this article;

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(3) Each licensee or person subject to this article shall make available to the department, upon request, any books and records relating to the activities of selling payment instruments or the transmission of money; (4) No licensee or person subject to investigation or examination under this article shall knowingly withhold, abstract, remove, mutilate, destroy, or secrete any books, records, documents, files, computer records, evidence, or other information; and (5) In order to carry out the purposes of this Code section, the department may:
(A) Enter into agreements or relationships with other government officials or regulatory associations in order to improve efficiencies and reduce regulatory burden by sharing resources, documents, records, information, or evidence or by utilizing standardized or uniform methods or procedures; (B) Accept and rely on examination or investigation reports made by other government officials within or outside this state, including, but not limited to, investigations pursuant to a multistate licensing process; (C) Accept audit reports or portions of audit reports made by an independent certified public accountant on behalf of the licensee or person subject to this article covering the same general subject matter as the audit and may incorporate the audit report in the report of examination, report of investigation, or other writing of the department; and (D) Use, hire, contract, or employ analytical systems, methods, or software."

SECTION 34. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsections (a) and (b) of Code Section 7-1-705, relating to written notice of claims against licensee, judgments, or other misconduct by employees, directors, or others and written notice of change of executive officer relative to cashing of payment instruments, as follows:
"(a) A licensee shall give written notice to the department of any action which may be brought against it by any creditor or claimant where such action relates to activities authorized under this article or involves a claim against the bond filed with the department under subsection (c) of Code Section 7-1-707. The notice shall provide details sufficient to identify the action and shall be sent within 30 days after the commencement of any such action. The licensee shall also give written notice to the department within 30 days of the entry of any judgment against the licensee. (b) A licensee shall give written notice to the department within ten days of the following:
(1) Any knowledge or discovery of an act prohibited by Code Section 7-1-703 or 7-1-707 or subsection (a) of Code Section 7-1-708; (2) The discharge of any employee for actual or suspected misrepresentations, dishonest acts, or fraudulent acts; or (3) Any knowledge or discovery of an administrative, civil, or criminal action initiated by any government entity against the licensee or any of the licensee's directors, officers, partners, ultimate equitable owners, or any individual who directs the affairs of or controls or establishes policy for the licensee."

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SECTION 35. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (a) and adding a new subsection in Code Section 7-1-1001, relating to exemption for certain persons and entities, registration requirements, and authorized actions of licensed mortgage lenders, as follows:
"(a) The following persons shall not be required to obtain a mortgage loan originator, mortgage broker, or mortgage lender license and shall not be subject to the provisions of this article but may be subject to registration requirements, if registration of such persons is required by this article:
(1) Any lender authorized to engage in business as a bank, credit card bank, savings institution, or credit union under the laws of the United States, any state or territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia, the deposits of which are federally insured; (2) Any wholly owned subsidiary of any lender described in paragraph (1) of this subsection. Any subsidiary that violates any applicable law of this article may be subject to a cease and desist order as provided for in Code Section 7-1-1018; (2.1) Any wholly owned subsidiary of any bank holding company; provided, however, that such subsidiary shall be subject to registration requirements in order to facilitate the department's handling of consumer inquiries. Such requirements are contained in Code Section 7-1-1003.3; (3) Registered mortgage loan originators, when acting for an entity described in paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection. To qualify for this exemption, an individual shall be registered with and maintain a unique identifier through registration with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry; (4) Any individual who offers or negotiates terms of a residential mortgage loan with or on behalf of an immediate family member of such individual. For purposes of this exemption, the term 'immediate family member' means a spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, or grandchild. Immediate family members shall include stepparents, stepchildren, stepsiblings, and adoptive relationships; (5) An attorney licensed to practice law in Georgia who negotiates the terms of a residential mortgage loan on behalf of a client as an ancillary matter to the attorney's representation of the client, unless the attorney is compensated by a lender, a mortgage broker, or other mortgage loan originator or by any agent of such lender, mortgage broker, or other mortgage loan originator; (6) A Georgia licensed real estate broker or real estate salesperson not actively engaged in the business of negotiating mortgage loans or a Georgia licensed real estate salesperson providing information to a lender or its agent related to an existing or potential short sale transaction in which a separate fee is not received by such real estate broker or real estate salesperson; provided, however, that such real estate broker or real estate salesperson who directly or indirectly negotiates, places, or finds a mortgage for others shall not be exempt from the provisions of this article; (7) Any person performing any act relating to mortgage loans under order of any court;

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(8) Any natural person or the estate of or trust created by a natural person making a mortgage loan with his or her own funds for his or her own investment, including those natural persons or the estates of or trusts created by such natural persons who make a purchase money mortgage for financing sales of their own property; (9) Any agency, division, or instrumentality of the federal government of the United States of America; the government of the State of Georgia; the government of any other state of the United States; or any county or municipal government of the State of Georgia. This includes, but is not limited to, the Georgia Housing and Finance Authority, the Georgia Development Authority, the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA), the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA), and the Farm Credit Administration and its chartered agricultural credit associations; (10) Any individual who offers or negotiates terms of a residential mortgage loan secured by a dwelling that serves as the individual's residence; (11) Any person who makes a mortgage loan to an employee of such person as an employment benefit; (12) Any licensee under Chapter 3 of this title, the 'Georgia Installment Loan Act,' provided that any mortgage loan made by such licensee is for $3,000.00 or less; (13) Nonprofit corporations making mortgage loans to promote home ownership or improvements for the disadvantaged; (14) A natural person employed by a licensed or registered mortgage broker, a licensed or registered mortgage lender, or any person exempted from the mortgage broker or mortgage lender licensing requirements of this article when acting within the scope of employment and under the supervision of the mortgage broker or mortgage lender or exempted person as an employee and not as an independent contractor, except those natural persons exempt from licensure as a mortgage broker or mortgage lender under paragraph (17) of this subsection. To be exempt from licensure as a mortgage broker or mortgage lender, a natural person shall be employed by only one such employer and shall be at all times eligible for employment in compliance with the provisions and prohibitions of Code Section 7-1-1004. Such natural person, who meets the definition of mortgage loan originator provided in paragraph (22) of Code Section 7-1-1000, shall be subject to mortgage loan originator licensing requirements. A natural person against whom a cease and desist order has become final shall not qualify for this exemption while under the employment time restrictions of subsection (o) of Code Section 7-1-1004 if such order was based on a violation of Code Section 7-1-1002 or 7-1-1013 or whose license was revoked within five years of the date such person was hired; (15) Any person who purchases mortgage loans from a mortgage broker or mortgage lender solely as an investment and who is not in the business of brokering, making, purchasing, or servicing mortgage loans;

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(16) Any natural person who makes five or fewer mortgage loans in any one calendar year. A person other than a natural person who makes five or fewer mortgage loans in any one calendar year shall not be exempt from the licensing requirements of this article;
(17)(A) A natural person who is under an exclusive written independent contractor agreement with any person that is a licensed mortgage broker, so long as such licensed mortgage broker also meets the following requirements, subject to the review and approval of the department:
(i) The licensee continuously provides a surety bond as required by Code Section 7-1-1003.2 in the amount of $150,000.00 plus $50,000.00 per exempt natural person, not to exceed a maximum of $2 million to cover its activities as well as the activities of all of its natural persons exempted by this paragraph; (ii) The licensee has applied for and been granted a mortgage broker license, consistent with the provisions of this article and renewable annually; (iii) The licensee has paid applicable fees for this license, which license fees shall be the sum of the cost of the individual mortgage broker license fees if each exempt natural person received a mortgage broker license; (iv) The licensee has full and direct financial responsibility for the mortgage activities of such natural person and full and direct responsibility for the proper education of such natural person, the handling of consumer complaints related to such natural person, and the supervision of the mortgage activities of such natural person. The licensee shall supervise such natural person on an ongoing and regular basis and shall be accountable for the mortgage activities of such natural person; (v) The licensee or the parent company if the licensee is a wholly owned subsidiary:
(I) Files reports under Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; (II) Has a market capitalization in excess of $4 billion at the time of the initial application for a mortgage broker license based on the number of outstanding shares at the end of the quarter as disclosed in the most recent Form 10-Q filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission; and (III) Has equity securities that are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations, or other stock market approved by the department in writing; (vi) At the time of the initial application for a mortgage broker license, the licensee has never had a mortgage lender license or mortgage broker license revoked or suspended in Georgia or any other state; (vii) The licensee, the parent company if the licensee is a wholly owned subsidiary, or an affiliate of the licensee if both the affiliate and licensee are wholly owned subsidiaries of the same parent company, is licensed by the office of the Commissioner of Insurance as an insurance company or is registered with the Secretary of State as a broker-dealer;

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(viii) The licensee is licensed as a mortgage lender or mortgage broker in ten or more states; and (ix) At the time of the initial application for a mortgage broker license, the licensee has received at least a satisfactory evaluation in the most recent examination conducted by the majority of the states in which it has a mortgage broker or mortgage lender license and has adequately addressed with the department any unsatisfactory evaluations in the most recent examination conducted by any state in which it has a mortgage broker or mortgage lender license. (B) To maintain the exemption, a natural person shall: (i) Solicit, process, place, or negotiate a mortgage loan to be brokered only by the licensee; (ii) Be at all times in compliance with this article, including the provisions and prohibitions of Code Section 7-1-1013, the provisions and prohibitions applicable to employees under Code Section 7-1-1004, and the department's rules and regulations; (iii) Be licensed as a mortgage loan originator in Georgia and work exclusively for the licensee, the parent company if the licensee is a wholly owned subsidiary, or an affiliate of the licensee if both the affiliate and licensee are wholly owned subsidiaries of the same parent company; and (iv) Be licensed as an insurance agent with the office of the Commissioner of Insurance or registered as a broker-dealer agent with the Secretary of State on behalf of the licensee, the parent company of the licensee if the licensee is a wholly owned subsidiary of the parent company, or an affiliate of the licensee if both the affiliate and licensee are wholly owned subsidiaries of the same parent company. (18)(A) An employee of a bona fide nonprofit corporation who acts as a mortgage loan originator only with respect to his or her work duties with the bona fide nonprofit corporation and who acts as a mortgage loan originator only with respect to mortgage loans with terms that are favorable to the borrower shall be exempt from obtaining a mortgage loan originator license. In order for a corporation to be considered a bona fide nonprofit corporation under this paragraph, the department shall determine, under criteria and pursuant to processes established by the department, that the nonprofit corporation: (i) Has the status of a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; (ii) Promotes affordable housing; (iii) Conducts its activities in a manner that serves public or charitable purposes, rather than commercial purposes; (iv) Receives funding and revenue and charges fees in a manner that does not incentivize it or its employees to act other than in the best interests of its clients; (v) Compensates its employees in a manner that does not incentivize employees to act other than in the best interests of its clients;

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(vi) Provides or identifies for the borrower mortgage loans with terms favorable to the borrower and comparable to mortgage loans and housing assistance provided under government housing assistance programs. In order for mortgage loans to have terms that are favorable to the borrower, the department shall determine that the terms are consistent with loan origination in a public or charitable context, rather than in a commercial context; and (vii) Satisfies the exemption from licensure set forth in paragraph (13) of this subsection. (B) The department shall periodically examine the books and activities of an organization it has previously identified as a bona fide nonprofit corporation for purposes of this paragraph in order to determine if it continues to meet the criteria for such status under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph. In conducting such an examination, the department shall have all of the powers set forth in Code Section 7-1-1009. In the event the nonprofit corporation no longer qualifies for such status, then the employee exemption from having a mortgage loan originator license shall no longer be applicable; or (19) Any person who purchases or holds closed mortgage loans for the sole purpose of securitization into a secondary market, provided that such person holds the individual loans for less than seven days." "(d) Any violation of this article or the rules and regulations of the department by a natural person exempted pursuant to paragraph (17) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be deemed to be a violation by both the licensee and the exempt natural person for purposes of the enforcement provisions of this article."

SECTION 36. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 7-1-1007, relating to licensee to give notice of certain actions brought against it by a creditor or borrower and notice to the department of cancellation of bond, as follows:
"(a) A licensee shall give written notice to the department of any action which may be brought against it by any creditor or borrower where such action is brought under this article, involves a claim against the bond filed with the department for the purposes of compliance with Code Section 7-1-1003.2 or 7-1-1004, or involves a claim for damages in excess of $25,000.00 for a mortgage broker or mortgage loan originator and $250,000.00 for a lender and of any judgment which may be entered against it by any creditor or any borrower or prospective borrower, with details sufficient to identify the action or judgment, within 30 days after the commencement of any such action or the entry of any such judgment."

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SECTION 37. Chapter 3 of Title 7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to installment loans, is amended by revising paragraphs (2) and (6) of Code Section 7-3-3, relating to definitions, as follows:
"(2) 'Covered employee' means any employee of a licensee engaged in any function related to making installment loans or servicing installment loans made by others, excluding loans made by affiliated entities." "(6) 'Installment lender' or 'lender' means any person that advertises, solicits, offers, or makes installment loans or services installment loans made by others, excluding loans made by affiliated entities."

SECTION 38. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 7-3-4, relating to licensing requirement and exemptions, as follows:
"7-3-4. (a) No person shall engage in the business of making installment loans or acting as an installment lender in this state unless such person is licensed in accordance with this chapter or exempt from licensure as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section. No person within the operation of this chapter shall charge, contract for, or receive directly or indirectly on or in connection with any loan, any interest, charge, fee, compensation, or consideration which is greater than the rates for same provided in this chapter. (b) This chapter shall not apply to:
(1) Businesses chartered or licensed under the authority of any law of this state or of the United States as banks, trust companies, savings and loan associations, savings banks, or credit unions or to the transactions of such businesses; (2) Banks or credit unions chartered under the authority of any state which have deposits that are federally insured or to the transactions of such businesses; (3) Pawnbrokers, as defined in Code Section 44-12-130, or to the transactions of pawnbrokers; (4) The University System of Georgia or its educational units, private colleges and universities in this state and associations thereof, or student loan transactions of such educational entities; (5) An individual employed by a licensee or any person exempted from the licensing requirements of this chapter when acting within the scope of employment and under the supervision of the licensee or exempted person as an employee and not as an independent contractor; (6) Any agency, division, or instrumentality of the federal government of the United States of America; the government of the State of Georgia or the government of any other state; or any county or municipal government in the State of Georgia; and the transactions of all such governmental entities;

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(7) Retail installment transactions engaged in by retail installment sellers, as those terms are defined in Code Section 10-1-31; (8) Retail installment transactions engaged in by retail sellers, as those terms are defined in Code Section 10-1-2; or (9) Transactions in which a lender offers a consumer a line of credit of more than $3,000.00 but the consumer utilizes $3,000.00 or less of such line of credit so long as there are no restrictions in place that would limit the consumer's ability to utilize more than $3,000.00 of the line of credit at any one time."

SECTION 39. Said chapter is further amended by revising the undesignated paragraph at the beginning of Code Section 7-3-11, relating to maximum loan amount, period, and charges and deferments, as follows:
"Every authorized licensee location under this chapter may lend any sum of money not to exceed $3,000.00, with the term for any individual loan not to exceed a period of 36 months and 15 days or less and may charge, contract for, collect, and receive interest and fees and may require the fulfillment of conditions on such loans as provided in this Code section:"

SECTION 40. Said chapter is further amended by repealing and reenacting Code Section 7-3-16, relating to tax on interest, levy, and penalty for tax to charges, as follows:
"7-3-16. (a) On and after July 1, 2022, in addition to all other fees, license fees, fines, or other charges now or hereafter levied or assessed, there is imposed on each loan made pursuant to this chapter a fee of 0.125 percent of the gross loan amount. Such per loan fee shall become due on the making of any such loan, including, but not limited to, the closing of a loan, the renewal or refinancing of a loan, or a modification of a loan which results in the execution of a new or amended loan agreement. (b) Such per loan fee is levied and assessed against the person so licensed and shall be paid by such person and shall not be added in any manner as an additional fee or charge against the borrower. Such per loan fee shall be remitted to the department at the time and in the manner specified by rules and regulations of the department. (c) In the event any person fails or refuses to remit the fees required by this Code section within the time prescribed, the fees shall bear interest at the rate of 1 percent per month. Interest shall begin to accrue from the date the fees are due until the date the fees are paid. For purposes of this Code section, any period of less than one month shall be considered to be one month. (d) In the event any person fails or refuses to remit the per loans fees required by this Code section within the time prescribed, there shall be added to the fees a penalty equivalent to 25 percent of the fees due, but in no case shall the penalty so added be less than $5.00.

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In the event any person fraudulently remits the incorrect fees, there shall be added to the fees a penalty equivalent to 50 percent of the fees due, but in no case shall the penalty so added be less than $5.00. (e) The 2022 revisions of Code Sections 7-3-16, 7-3-17, and 7-3-18 shall not affect the fees, taxes, and related interest and penalties owed pursuant to the earlier versions of such Code sections for any time prior to the effective date of this Act. (f) The department and its authorized examiners and employees shall have the right to inspect all records of any person licensed pursuant to this chapter, and the department is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations relative to the enforcement of this Code section."

SECTION 41. Said chapter is further amended by repealing and reserving Code Section 7-3-17, relating to
tax on interest, payment, inspection of records, and rules and regulations, as follows: "7-3-17. Reserved."

SECTION 42. Said chapter is further amended by repealing and reserving Code Section 7-3-18, relating to
tax on interest and penalties for late or fraudulent tax payments, as follows: "7-3-18. Reserved."

SECTION 43. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (c) of Code Section 7-3-21, relating to bonds required, as follows:
"(c) Payments due under the bond shall include money owed to the department for fees and related interest and penalties under Code Section 7-3-16 and fines or penalties for noncompliance of the licensee with this chapter or rules, regulations, or orders issued pursuant to this chapter."

SECTION 44. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsections (c) and (d) of Code Section 7-3-31, relating to required notifications to be provided by licensee, bond company requirement of notification, and method for providing notice, as follows:
"(c) The corporate surety that issued a licensee a bond pursuant to Code Section 7-3-21 shall send written notice to the department via registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery within ten days of paying any claim or judgment to any creditor or claimant with details sufficient to identify the claimant and the claim or judgment so paid."

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SECTION 45.
Said chapter is further amended by revising paragraph (8) of subsection (b) of Code Section 7-3-43, relating to suspension or revocation of licenses, as follows:
"(8) Failed or refused to remit the fee required by Code Section 7-3-16 within the required time period."

SECTION 46. Said chapter is further amended by revising paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 7-3-45, relating to cease and desist orders, hearings, and reviews, as follows:
"(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection, a person has violated any law of this state or any rule, regulation, or order of the department. This includes, but is not limited to, a person engaging in any activity that would subject a licensee to suspension or revocation of its license under Code Section 7-3-43, whether or not such person is licensed. Such cease and desist order shall be final 20 days from the date of issuance unless the person to whom it is issued requests a hearing in writing within such 20 day period;"

SECTION 47. Chapter 6A of Title 7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the "Georgia Fair Lending Act," is amended by revising subparagraph (a) of paragraph (17) of Code Section 7-6A-2, relating to definitions, as follows:
"(A) Without regard to whether the loan transaction is or may be a 'residential mortgage transaction' as that term is defined in 12 C.F.R. Section 1026.2(a)(24), the annual percentage rate of the loan is such that it equals or exceeds that set out in Section 152 of the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994, 15 U.S.C. Section 1602(bb), and the regulations adopted pursuant thereto by the Federal Reserve Board, including 12 C.F.R. Section 1026.32; or"

SECTION 48. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES EXTENDS SUNSET DATE FOR CERTAIN HAZARDOUS WASTE FEES.

No. 749 (House Bill No. 893).

AN ACT

To amend Part 2 of Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 12 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to hazardous site response, so as to extend the sunset date for certain hazardous waste fees; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Part 2 of Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 12 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to hazardous site response, is amended by revising subsection (h) of Code Section 12-8-95.1, relating to hazardous waste management fees and hazardous substance reporting fees, as follows:
"(h) Unless fee requirements established in this Code section are reimposed by the General Assembly, no such fees shall be levied after July 1, 2027."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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HEALTH ESTABLISHES GEORGIA RARE DISEASE ADVISORY COUNCIL.

No. 750 (House Bill No. 918).

AN ACT

To amend Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to health, so as to provide for the establishment of the Georgia Rare Disease Advisory Council; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for membership; to provide for the duties and powers of the advisory council; to provide for an annual report; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

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SECTION 1. Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to health, is amended by enacting a new Chapter 50, which is reserved, to read as follows:

"CHAPTER 50

31-50-1. The General Assembly finds that:
(1) A rare disease, sometimes called an orphan disease, is defined as a disease that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States; (2) There are more than 7,000 known rare diseases affecting approximately 25-30 million Americans, more than half of which are children; (3) More than 90 percent of rare diseases do not have a federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved treatment; (4) While the exact cause of many rare diseases remains unknown, many rare diseases are genetic in origin and can be linked to mutations in a single gene, or in multiple genes, which can be passed down from generation to generation; (5) People with rare diseases face many challenges, including delays in obtaining an accurate diagnosis, finding a health care provider with expertise in their condition, and a lack of affordable access to therapies and medications used to treat rare diseases; and (6) A state based advisory council composed of qualified professionals and persons living with rare diseases and their caregivers could educate medical professionals, government agencies, legislators, and the public about rare diseases as an important public health issue and encourage research into the development of new ways to diagnose and treat rare diseases.

31-50-2. (a) There is hereby established the Georgia Rare Disease Advisory Council within the department. (b) The advisory council shall be composed of 16 members as follows:
(1) The following members appointed by the Governor: (A) A chairperson, who shall not be a state employee; (B) One representative from an academic research institution in the state that receives grant funding for rare disease research; (C) One representative from the Division of Medical Assistance Plans of the Department of Community Health; (D) One representative from the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Services; (E) One representative from the Department of Public Health; and (F) One geneticist licensed and practicing in Georgia;
(2) The following members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives:

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(A) One registered nurse or advanced practice registered nurse licensed and practicing in Georgia with experience treating rare diseases; (B) One physician practicing in Georgia with experience treating rare diseases; (C) One pediatric specialist trained in the care of children with rare disease; (D) One patient who has a rare disease; and (E) One caregiver of a person with a rare disease; and (3) The following members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor: (A) One patient who has a rare disease; (B) One representative of a rare disease patient organization that operates in Georgia; (C) One representative from the biopharma industry; (D) One representative from a health plan company; and (E) One licensed social worker practicing in Georgia with experience working with rare disease patients. (c) All members of the advisory council shall be full-time residents of Georgia. (d) The advisory council shall meet upon the call of the chairperson and shall meet no less than quarterly, either in person or via virtual means. The advisory council shall provide opportunities for the public to provide input. (e) Members of the advisory council shall receive no compensation for their services but shall be allowed actual and necessary expenses in the performance of their duties. Any legislative members of the advisory council shall receive the allowances provided for in Code Section 28-1-8. Citizen members shall receive a daily expense allowance in the amount specified in subsection (b) of Code Section 45-7-21, as well as the mileage or transportation allowance authorized for state employees. Members who are state officials or state employees shall receive no compensation for their services on the advisory council but shall be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the advisory council in the same manner as reimbursements are made in their capacity as state officials or state employees. The funds necessary for the reimbursement of the expenses of state officials, other than legislative members, and state employees shall come from funds appropriated to or otherwise available to their respective departments.

31-50-3. (a) The purpose of the advisory council shall be to advise the General Assembly and other state agencies and departments, as appropriate, on the needs of individuals with rare diseases living in Georgia. (b) The advisory council shall conduct the following activities to benefit rare disease patients in Georgia:
(1) Convene public hearings, make inquiries, and solicit comments from the general public in Georgia to assist the advisory council with a first-year landscape or survey of the needs of rare disease patients, caregivers, and providers in the state; (2) Consult with health care experts to develop policy recommendations to improve patient access to quality rare disease specialists, affordable and comprehensive health

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care coverage, better access to clinical trials, expansion of telehealth services, relevant diagnostics, timely treatment and to make recommendations to state agencies and insurers that provide services to persons with a rare disease on the impact of prior authorization, cost-sharing, tiering, or other utilization management procedures on the provision of treatment and care for patients; (3) Advise the Department of Community Health with respect to state health plans, including Medicaid, PeachCare for Kids, and the state health benefit plan, in their review of products or medications for the treatment of rare and orphan diseases and drugs or biological products within the emerging fields of personalized medicine and gene-editing therapeutics. The Department of Community Health shall seek input of the advisory council regarding rare diseases and personalized medicine to address topics including, but not limited to, the impact of coverage, cost-sharing, tiering, and utilization management on access to rare disease therapies; (4) Make recommendations to the Newborn Screening and Genetics Advisory Committee established pursuant to subsection (i) of Code Section 31-12-6 as it relates to rare diseases; (5) Publish on the advisory council's website a list of existing, publicly accessible resources on research, diagnosis, treatment, and educational materials for health care providers relating to the rare diseases in Georgia; and (6) Research and identify best practices to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity in the research, diagnosis, and treatment of rare diseases in Georgia. (c) The advisory council may solicit and accept donations, gifts, grants, property, or matching funds from any public or private source for the use by the council in conducting the activities required pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section.

31-50-4. No later than June 30, 2023, and annually thereafter, the advisory council shall submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly. Such annual report shall:
(1) Detail the activities and progress of the advisory council in the prior year; (2) Provide an update on the status of funding of the advisory council, including any grant funds which were solicited, accepted, or used, and any remaining balances; and (3) Provide recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on ways to address the needs of people living with rare diseases in Georgia. Prior to submission, a draft of the annual report shall be made available for public comment and discussed at an open public meeting."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT CAPS PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR DIRECTORS OF CERTAIN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES; PROVIDES ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES FOR ETHICS CODE VIOLATIONS OF CERTAIN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY MEMBERS.

No. 751 (House Bill No. 923).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 62 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to development authorities, so as to cap the per diem allowance available to directors of certain development authorities; to provide enforcement procedures for ethics code violations of certain development authority members; to provide an effective date; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 62 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to development authorities, is amended in Code Section 36-62-4, relating to development authorities created, appointment and terms of directors, quorum, and adoption and filing of resolution of need, by revising subsection (a) as follows:
"(a) There is created in and for each county and municipal corporation in the state a public body corporate and politic to be known as the 'development authority' of such county or municipal corporation, which shall consist of a board of not less than seven and not more than nine directors to be appointed by resolution of the governing body of the county or municipal corporation. At the expiration of the current terms of office of the first four members of the board of directors, the governing body of the county or municipal corporation shall elect successors to such members to serve for initial terms of two years and shall elect successors to the remaining members of the board for initial terms of four years. Thereafter, the terms of all directors shall be for four years. The terms of any directors added to the original seven directors shall be four years. If, at the end of any term of office of any director, a successor thereto has not been elected, the director whose term of office has expired shall continue to hold office until his or her successor is so elected."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended in Code Section 36-62-5, relating to directors, officers, compensation, adoption of bylaws, delegation of powers and duties, conflicts of interest, and audits of development authorities, by revising subsections (c) and (e) as follows:

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"(c) The directors shall receive no compensation for their services but shall be reimbursed for their actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties; provided, however, that the directors of the development authority activated by counties having a population of 550,000 or more according to the United States decennial census of 1980 or any future such census shall be paid a per diem allowance to be determined by the governing authority of such counties for each day, or part thereof, spent in the performance of their duties and further provided that any such per diem allowance shall not exceed the per diem allowance set for members of the General Assembly in paragraph (22) of subsection (a) of Code Section 45-7-4."
"(e)(1)(A) The provisions of Code Sections 45-10-3 and 45-10-4 shall apply to all directors of the authority, and a director of the authority shall not engage in any transaction with the authority. (B) The provisions of paragraph (9) of Code Section 45-10-3 and subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall be deemed to have been complied with and the authority may purchase from, sell to, borrow from, loan to, contract with, or otherwise deal with any director or any organization or person with which any director of the authority is in any way interested or involved, provided (1) that any interest or involvement by such director is disclosed in advance to the directors of the authority and is recorded in the minutes of the authority, (2) that any interest or involvement by such director with a value in excess of $200.00 per calendar quarter is published by the authority one time in the legal organ in which notices of sheriffs' sales are published in each county affected by such interest, at least 30 days in advance of consummating such transaction, (3) that no director having a substantial interest or involvement may be present at that portion of an authority meeting during which discussion of any matter is conducted involving any such organization or person, and (4) that no director having a substantial interest or involvement may participate in any decision of the authority relating to any matter involving such organization or person. As used in this subsection, a 'substantial interest or involvement' means any interest or involvement which reasonably may be expected to result in a direct financial benefit to such director as determined by the authority, which determination shall be final and not subject to review. (2) Nothing contained in paragraph (1) of this subsection or in Code Section 45-10-3 shall be deemed to prohibit any director who is present at any meeting or who participates in any decision of the authority from providing legal services in connection with any of the undertakings of the authority or from being paid for such services. (3)(A) Concurrent jurisdiction to enforce this subsection is granted to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission created under Code Section 21-5-4. (B) Upon formal charges being filed with an alternate enforcement authority provided for in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph relative to a violation of this subsection on the part of a member of any such development authority, the enforcement authority or its

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designated agent shall conduct a hearing for the purpose of receiving evidence relative to the merits of such charges. The development authority member so charged shall be given at least 30 days' notice prior to such hearing. If such charges are found to be true, the enforcement authority shall forthwith remove such member from office and the vacancy shall be filled as provided by law. Such hearing shall be held in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the 'Georgia Administrative Procedure Act,' and judicial review of any such decision shall be in accordance with such chapter. (C) The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission is vested with the same powers with respect to this Code section as enumerated in Code Section 21-5-6."

SECTION 3. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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REVENUE AND TAXATION MAXIMUM AMOUNT AND TIME FRAME FOR COLLECTION OF SPECIAL DISTRICT MASS TRANSPORTATION SALES AND USE TAX WHEN COUNTY AND MUNICIPALITY ENTER INTO INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT; LIMITS REFERENDUM APPROVAL DAYS.

No. 752 (House Bill No. 934).

AN ACT

To amend Part 1 of Article 5A of Chapter 8 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the special district mass transportation sales and use tax, so as to provide for the maximum amount and time frame for the collection of such tax when an intergovernmental agreement has been entered into between a county and municipality; to limit the days on which a referendum may be held to approve the imposition of such taxes; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

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SECTION 1. Part 1 of Article 5A of Chapter 8 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the special district mass transportation sales and use tax, is amended in Code Section 48-8-262, relating to notice, agreement memorializing levy and rate of tax, rate, and resolution required, by revising paragraph (2) of subsection (d) as follows:
"(2) The resolution authorized by paragraph (1) of this subsection shall describe: (A) The specific transportation purposes to be funded; (B) The approximate cost of such transportation purposes, which shall be the maximum amount of net proceeds to be raised by the tax; provided, however, that, if an intergovernmental agreement has been entered into pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section, the maximum amount of net proceeds to be raised shall correspond to the period of time the tax shall be imposed as set forth in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph; and (C) The maximum period of time, to be stated in calendar years, for which the tax may be imposed and the rate thereof. The maximum period of time for the imposition of the tax shall not exceed five years."

SECTION 2. Said part is further amended in Code Section 48-8-263, relating to ballot question, expenses of election, resubmission of question, and general obligation debt, by revising paragraph (1) of subsection (a) as follows:
"(a)(1) The ballot submitting the question of the imposition of the tax to the voters within the special district shall have written or printed thereon the following:
'( ) YES Shall a special ___ percent sales and use tax be imposed in the special district consisting of _______County for a period of time not to exceed
( ) NO _______ and for the raising of an estimated amount of $_______ for transportation purposes?'"

SECTION 3. Said part is further amended in Code Section 48-8-264, relating to timing of tax, by revising subsection (b) as follows:
"(b) The tax shall cease to be imposed on the earliest of the following dates: (1) If the resolution calling for the imposition of the tax provided for the issuance of general obligation debt and such debt is the subject of validation proceedings, as of the end of the first calendar quarter ending more than 80 days after the date on which a court of competent jurisdiction enters a final order denying validation of such debt; (2) On the final day of the maximum period of time specified for the imposition of the tax; or (3) As of the end of the calendar quarter during which the commissioner determines that the tax will have raised revenues sufficient to provide to the special district net proceeds equal to or greater than the amount specified as the maximum amount of net proceeds to

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be raised by the tax; provided, however, that, if an intergovernmental agreement has been entered into pursuant to subsection (b) of Code Section 48-8-262, the tax shall cease to be imposed on the final day of the maximum period of time specified for the imposition of the tax in the resolution."

SECTION 4. Said part is further amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"48-8-264.1. On and after July 1, 2022, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no referendum to impose a tax authorized by this part shall be held at any time other than:
(1) In odd-numbered years, on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November; or (2) In even-numbered years:
(A) On the date of and in conjunction with the presidential preference primary if one is held that year; (B) On the date of the general primary; or (C) On the Tuesday after the first Monday in November."

SECTION 5. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval and shall apply with respect to taxes imposed or to be imposed under resolutions or ordinances adopted on or after that date.

SECTION 6. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

__________

INSURANCE UPDATES REGULATION OF INSURANCE COMPANY HOLDING SYSTEMS.

No. 753 (House Bill No. 969).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 13 of Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance holding company systems, so as to update the regulation of insurance company holding systems per direction from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners; to provide for definitions; to provide guidelines for group capital calculation in insurance company holding systems; to provide guidelines for liquidity stress test framework in

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insurance company holding systems; to provide standards governing transactions within an insurance holding company system when an insurer is deemed to be in a hazardous financial condition; to provide protections for an affiliate in an insurance holding company system when a domestic insurer is subject to certain proceedings; to provide clarifications on confidentiality and to extend confidentiality protections to third-party consultants designated by the Commissioner; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 13 of Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance holding company systems, is amended by revising Code Section 33-13-1, relating to definitions, as follows:
"33-13-1. As used in this article, the term:
(1) 'Affiliate,' including the term 'affiliate of' or 'person affiliated with' a specific person, means a person who directly or indirectly through one or more intermediaries controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with the person specified. (2) 'Commissioner' means the Commissioner of Insurance, the Commissioner's deputies, or the Department of Insurance, as appropriate. (3) 'Control,' including the terms 'controlling,' 'controlled by,' and 'under common control with,' means the direct or indirect possession of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a person whether through the ownership of voting securities, by contract other than a commercial contract for goods or nonmanagement services, or otherwise, unless the power is the result of an official position or corporate office held by the person. Control shall be presumed to exist if any person directly or indirectly owns, controls, holds with the power to vote, or holds proxies representing 10 percent or more of the voting securities of any other person. This presumption may be rebutted by a showing made in the manner provided by subsection (k) of Code Section 33-13-4 that control does not exist in fact. The Commissioner may determine after furnishing all persons in interest notice and opportunity to be heard and after making specific findings of fact to support such determination that control exists in fact, notwithstanding the absence of a presumption to that effect. (4) 'Enterprise risk' means any activity, circumstance, event, or series of events involving one or more affiliates of an insurer that, if not remedied promptly, is likely to have a material adverse effect upon the financial condition or liquidity of the insurer or its insurance holding company system as a whole, including, but not limited to, anything that would cause the insurer's risk-based capital to fall into company action level as set forth in Chapter 56 of this title or would cause the insurer to be in hazardous financial condition based on the standards prescribed by the Commissioner's rules and regulations.

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(5) 'Group-wide supervisor' means the regulatory official authorized to engage in conducting and coordinating group-wide supervision activities who is determined or acknowledged by the Commissioner under Code Section 33-13-7.1 to have sufficient significant contacts with an internationally active insurance group. (6) 'Group capital calculation instructions' mean the group capital calculation instructions as adopted and amended by the NAIC and as adopted by regulation promulgated by the Commissioner or as otherwise prescribed by regulation promulgated by the Commissioner. (7) 'Insurance holding company system' means two or more affiliated persons, one or more of which is an insurer. (8) 'Insurer' shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 33-1-2, except that it shall not include agencies, authorities, or instrumentalities of the United States, its possessions and territories, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, or a state or political subdivision of a state. (9) 'Internationally active insurance group' means an insurance holding company system that includes an insurer registered under Code Section 33-13-4 and that meets the following criteria:
(A) Premiums written in at least three countries; (B) The percentage of gross premiums written outside the United States is at least 10 percent of the insurance holding company system's total gross written premiums; and (C) Based on a three-year rolling average, the total assets of the insurance holding company system are at least $50 billion or the total gross written premiums of the insurance holding company system are at least $10 billion. (10) 'NAIC' means the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (11) 'NAIC Liquidity Stress Test Framework' means the separate NAIC publication which includes a history of the NAIC's development of regulatory liquidity stress testing, the scope criteria applicable for a specific data year, and the liquidity stress test instructions and reporting templates as adopted and amended by the NAIC and as adopted by regulation by the Commissioner or as otherwise prescribed by regulation promulgated by the Commissioner. (12) 'Person' means an individual, a corporation, a limited liability company, a partnership, an association, a joint-stock company, a trust, an unincorporated organization, any similar entity, or any combination of the foregoing acting in concert, but shall not include any joint venture partnership exclusively engaged in owning, managing, leasing, or developing real or tangible personal property. (13) 'Scope criteria' as set forth in the NAIC Liquidity Stress Test Framework means the designated exposure bases along with the minimum magnitudes thereof for the specified data year, used to establish a preliminary list of insurers considered scoped into the NAIC Liquidity Stress Test Framework for that data year.

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(14) 'Securityholder' means one who owns any security of a person, including common stock, preferred stock, debt obligations, and any other security convertible into or evidencing the right to acquire any of the foregoing. (15) 'Subsidiary' means an affiliate controlled by a specified person directly or indirectly through one or more intermediaries. (16) 'Voting security' shall include any security convertible into or evidencing a right to acquire a voting security."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 33-13-3, relating to the acquisition of control of or merger with domestic insurers, as follows:
"33-13-3. (a) Filing requirements.
(1) No person other than the issuer shall make a tender offer for or a request or invitation for tenders of, or enter into any agreement to exchange securities for, seek to acquire, or acquire, in the open market or otherwise, any voting security of a domestic insurer if after the consummation of the agreement the person would directly or indirectly or by conversion or by exercise of any right to acquire be in control of the insurer; and no person shall enter into an agreement to merge with or otherwise to acquire control of a domestic insurer or any person controlling a domestic insurer unless at the time the offer, request, or invitation is made or the agreement is entered into, or prior to the acquisition of the securities if no offer or agreement is involved, the person has filed with the Commissioner and has sent to the insurer a statement containing the information required by this Code section and the offer, request, invitation, agreement, or acquisition has been approved by the Commissioner in the manner prescribed in subsection (d) of this Code section. (2) For the purposes of this Code section, any controlling person of a domestic insurer seeking to divest its controlling interest in the domestic insurer, in any manner, shall file with the Commissioner, with a copy to the insurer, confidential notice of its proposed divestiture at least 30 days prior to the cessation of control. The Commissioner shall determine those instances in which the party seeking to divest or to acquire a controlling interest in an insurer will be required to file for and obtain approval of the transaction. The information shall remain confidential until the conclusion of the transaction unless the Commissioner, in his or her discretion, determines that confidential treatment will interfere with enforcement of this Code section. If the statement referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection is otherwise filed, this paragraph shall not apply. (3) With respect to a transaction subject to this Code section, the acquiring person must also file a preacquisition notification with the Commissioner, which shall contain the information set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection (c) of Code Section 33-13-3.1. A failure to file the notification may be subject to penalties specified in paragraph (3) of subsection (e) of Code Section 33-13-3.1.

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(4) For purposes of this Code section, a 'domestic insurer' shall include any person controlling a domestic insurer unless the person, as determined by the Commissioner, is either directly or through its affiliates primarily engaged in business other than the business of insurance. For the purposes of this Code section, 'person' shall not include any securities broker holding, in the usual and customary broker's function, less than 20 percent of the voting securities of an insurance company or of any person which controls an insurance company. (b) Execution and content of statement. The statement to be filed with the Commissioner in accordance with this Code section shall be made under oath or affirmation and shall contain the following information: (1) The name and address of each person, hereinafter called 'acquiring party,' by whom or on whose behalf the merger or other acquisition of control referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section is to be effected and:
(A) If the person is an individual, his or her principal occupation and all offices and positions held during the past five years and any conviction of crimes other than minor traffic violations during the past ten years; and (B) If the person is not an individual, a report of the nature of its business operations during the past five years or for any lesser periods as the person and any predecessors of such person shall have been in existence; an informative description of the business intended to be done by the person and the person's subsidiaries; and a list of all individuals who are or who have been selected to become directors or executive officers of the person or who perform or will perform functions appropriate to the positions. The list shall include for each individual the information required by subparagraph (A) of this paragraph; (2) The source, nature, and amount of the consideration used or to be used in effecting the merger or other acquisition of control, a description of any transaction wherein funds were or are to be obtained for that purpose, including any pledge of the insurer's stock, or the stock of any of its subsidiaries or controlling affiliates, and the identity of persons furnishing the consideration; provided, however, that where a source of the consideration is a loan made in the lender's ordinary course of business, the identity of the lender shall remain confidential if the person filing the statement so requests; (3) Fully audited financial information as to the earnings and financial condition of each acquiring party for the preceding five fiscal years of each acquiring party or for any lesser period as the acquiring party and any predecessors of the acquiring party shall have been in existence and similar unaudited information as of a date not earlier than 90 days prior to the filing of the statement; (4) Any plans or proposals which each acquiring party may have to liquidate the insurer, to sell its assets or merge or consolidate it with any person, or to make any other material change in its business or corporate structure or management; (5) The number of shares of any security referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section which each acquiring party proposes to acquire and the terms of the offer, request,

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invitation, agreement, or acquisition referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section and a statement as to the method by which the fairness of the proposal was arrived at; (6) The amount of each class of any security referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section which is beneficially owned or concerning which there is a right to acquire beneficial ownership by each acquiring party; (7) A full description of any contracts, arrangements, or understandings with respect to any security referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section in which any acquiring party is involved, including but not limited to transfer of any of the securities, joint ventures, loan or option arrangements, puts or calls, guarantees of loans, guarantees against loss or guarantees of profits, division of losses or profits, or the giving or withholding of proxies; and the description shall identify the persons with whom the contracts, arrangements, or understandings have been entered into; (8) A description of the purchase by any acquiring party of any security referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section during the 12 calendar months preceding the filing of the statement by any acquiring party, including the dates of purchase, names of the purchasers, and consideration paid or agreed to be paid; (9) A description of any recommendations to purchase any security referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section made during the 12 calendar months preceding the filing of the statement by any acquiring party or by anyone based upon interviews or at the suggestion of the acquiring party; (10) Copies of all tender offers for, requests or invitations for tenders of exchange offers for, and agreements to acquire or exchange any securities referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section and, if distributed, of additional soliciting material relating thereto; (11) The terms of any agreement, contract, or understanding made with or proposed to be made with any broker-dealer as to solicitation of securities referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section for tender and the amount of any fees, commissions, or other compensation to be paid to broker-dealers with regard to the agreement, contract, or understanding; (12) An agreement by the person required to file the statement referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section that it will provide the annual report, specified in paragraph (1) of subsection (l) of Code Section 33-13-4, for so long as control exists; (13) An acknowledgment by the person required to file the statement referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section that the person and all subsidiaries within its control in the insurance holding company system will provide information to the Commissioner upon request as necessary to evaluate enterprise risk to the insurer; and (14) Any additional information as the Commissioner may by rule or regulation prescribe as necessary or appropriate for the protection of policyholders of the insurer or in the public interest. If the person required to file the statement referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section is a partnership, limited partnership, syndicate, or other group, the Commissioner may require that the information called for by paragraphs (1) through (14) of this subsection

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shall be given with respect to each partner of the partnership or limited partnership, each member of the syndicate or group, and each person who controls the partner or member. If any partner, member, or person is a corporation or the person required to file the statement referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section is a corporation, the Commissioner may require that the information called for by paragraphs (1) through (14) of this subsection shall be given with respect to the corporation, each officer and director of the corporation, and each person who is directly or indirectly the beneficial owner of more than 10 percent of the outstanding voting securities of the corporation. If any material change occurs in the facts set forth in the statement filed with the Commissioner and sent to the insurer pursuant to this Code section, an amendment setting forth the change, together with copies of all documents and other material relevant to the change, shall be filed with the Commissioner and sent to the insurer within two business days after the person learns of the change. (c) Alternate filing materials. If any offer, request, invitation, agreement, or acquisition referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section is proposed to be made by means of a registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933, in circumstances requiring the disclosure of similar information, under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or under a state law requiring similar registration or disclosure, the person required to file the statement referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section may utilize the documents in furnishing the information called for by that statement. (d) Approval or disapproval by Commissioner; hearings.
(1) The Commissioner shall approve any merger or other acquisition of control referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section unless, after a public hearing thereon, he or she finds that:
(A) After the change of control the domestic insurer referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section would not be able to satisfy the requirements for the issuance of a license to write the line or lines of insurance for which it is presently licensed; (B) The effect of the merger or other acquisition of control would be substantially to lessen competition in insurance in this state or tend to create a monopoly. In applying the competitive standard in this subparagraph:
(i) The informational requirements of paragraph (1) of subsection (c) of Code Section 33-13-3.1 and the standards of paragraph (2) of subsection (d) of Code Section 33-13-3.1 shall apply; (ii) The merger or other acquisition shall not be disapproved if the Commissioner finds that any of the situations meeting the criteria provided by paragraph (3) of subsection (d) of Code Section 33-13-3.1 exist; and (iii) The Commissioner may condition the approval of the merger or other acquisition on the removal of the basis of disapproval within a specified period of time; (C) The financial condition of any acquiring party is such as might jeopardize the financial stability of the insurer or prejudice the interest of its policyholders;

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(D) The plans or proposals which the acquiring party has to liquidate the insurer, to sell its assets or consolidate or merge it with any person, or to make any other material change in its business or corporate structure or management are unfair and unreasonable to policyholders of the insurer and not in the public interest; (E) The competence, experience, and integrity of those persons who would control the operation of the insurer are such that it would not be in the interest of policyholders of the insurer and of the public to permit the merger or other acquisition of control; or (F) The acquisition is likely to be hazardous or prejudicial to the insurance buying public. (2) The public hearing referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be held within 30 days after the statement required by subsection (a) of this Code section is filed; and at least 20 days' notice of the public hearing shall be given by the Commissioner to the person filing the statement. Not less than seven days' notice of the public hearing shall be given by the person filing the statement to the insurer and to any other persons as may be designated by the Commissioner. The Commissioner shall make a determination within the 60 day period preceding the effective date of the proposed transaction. At the hearing, the person filing the statement, the insurer, any person to whom notice of hearing was sent, and any other person whose interests may be affected thereby shall have the right to present evidence, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and offer oral and written arguments and in connection therewith shall be entitled to conduct discovery proceedings in the same manner as is presently allowed in the superior courts of this state. All discovery proceedings shall be concluded not later than three days prior to the commencement of the public hearing. (3) If the proposed acquisition of control will require the approval of more than one commissioner, the public hearing referred to in paragraph (2) of this subsection may be held on a consolidated basis upon request of the person filing the statement referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section. Such person shall file the statement referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section with the NAIC within five days of making the request for a public hearing. A commissioner may opt out of a consolidated hearing and shall provide notice to the applicant of the opt-out within ten days of the receipt of the statement referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section. A hearing conducted on a consolidated basis shall be public and shall be held within the United States before the commissioners of the states in which the insurers are domiciled. Such commissioners shall hear and receive evidence. A commissioner may attend such hearing, in person or by telecommunication. (4) In connection with a change of control of a domestic insurer, any determination by the Commissioner that the person acquiring control of the insurer shall be required to maintain or restore the capital of the insurer to the level required by the laws and regulations of this state shall be made not later than 60 days after the date of notification of the change in control submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section.

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(5) The Commissioner may retain at the acquiring person's expense any attorneys, actuaries, accountants, and other experts not otherwise a part of the Commissioner's staff as may be reasonably necessary to assist the Commissioner in reviewing the proposed acquisition of control. (e) Exemptions. This Code section shall not apply to any offer, request, invitation, agreement, or acquisition which the Commissioner by order shall exempt from this Code section as not having been made or entered into for the purpose and not having the effect of changing or influencing the control of a domestic insurer or as otherwise not comprehended within the purposes of this Code section. (f) Violations. The following shall be violations of this Code section: (1) The failure to file any statement, amendment, or other material required to be filed pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section; or (2) The effectuation or any attempt to effectuate an acquisition of control of or merger with a domestic insurer unless the Commissioner has given approval to the acquisition of control or merger. (g) Jurisdiction; service of process. The courts of this state are vested with jurisdiction over every person not resident, domiciled, or authorized to do business in this state who files a statement with the Commissioner under this Code section and over all actions involving that person arising out of violations of this Code section; and each person shall be deemed to have performed acts equivalent to and constituting an appointment by that person of the Commissioner to be his or her true and lawful attorney upon whom may be served all lawful process in any action, suit, or proceeding arising out of violations of this Code section. Copies of all lawful process shall be served on the Commissioner and transmitted by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery by the Commissioner to the person at his or her last known address."

SECTION 3. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 33-13-4, relating to the registration of insurers belonging to holding company systems, as follows:
"33-13-4. (a) Requirement of registration generally. Every insurer which is authorized to do business in this state and which is a member of an insurance holding company system shall register with the Commissioner, except a foreign insurer subject to disclosure requirements and standards adopted by statute or regulation in the jurisdiction of its domicile which are substantially similar to those contained:
(1) In this Code section; (2) In paragraph (1) of subsection (a), subsection (b), and subsection (d) of Code Section 33-13-5; and (3) In either paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of Code Section 33-13-5 or a provision such as the following: 'Each registered insurer shall keep current the information required to

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be disclosed in its registration statement by reporting all material changes or additions within 15 days after the end of the month in which it learns of each change or addition.' Any insurer which is subject to registration under this Code section shall register within 15 days after it becomes subject to registration and annually thereafter by April 30 of each year for the previous calendar year, unless the Commissioner for good cause shown extends the time for registration, and then within the extended time. The Commissioner may require any insurer authorized to do business in this state which is a member of an insurance holding company system, and which is not subject to registration under this Code section, to furnish a copy of the registration statement, the summary specified in subsection (c) of this Code section, or other information filed by the insurance company with the insurance regulatory authority of its domiciliary jurisdiction. (b) Contents of registration statement. Every insurer subject to registration shall file a registration statement with the Commissioner on a form and in a format prescribed by the NAIC and adopted by regulation promulgated by the Commissioner or as otherwise prescribed by regulation promulgated by the Commissioner, which statement shall contain current information about: (1) The capital structure, general financial condition, ownership, and management of the insurer and any person controlling the insurer; (2) The identity of every member of the insurance holding company system; (3) The following agreements in force, relationships subsisting, and transactions outstanding between such insurer and its affiliates:
(A) Loans, other investments, or purchases, sales, or exchanges of the affiliates by the insurer or of the insurer by its affiliates; (B) Purchases, sales, or exchanges of assets; (C) Transactions not in the ordinary course of business; (D) Guarantees or undertakings for the benefit of an affiliate which result in an actual contingent exposure of the insurer's assets to liability other than insurance contracts entered into in the ordinary course of the insurer's business; (E) All management and service contracts and all cost-sharing arrangements; (F) Reinsurance agreements; (G) Dividends and other distributions to shareholders; and (H) Consolidated tax allocation agreements; (4) Any pledge of the insurer's stock, including stock of any subsidiary or controlling affiliate, for a loan made to any member of the insurance holding company system; (5) If requested by the Commissioner, financial statements of or within an insurance holding company system, including all affiliates. Financial statements may include, but are not limited to, annual audited financial statements filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to the federal Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. An insurer required to file financial statements pursuant to this paragraph may satisfy the request by providing the

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Commissioner with the most recently filed parent corporation financial statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission; (6) Other matters concerning transactions between registered insurers and any affiliates as may be included from time to time in any registration forms adopted or approved by the Commissioner; (7) Statements that the insurer's board of directors is responsible for and oversees corporate governance and internal controls and that the insurer's officers or senior management have approved, implemented, and continue to maintain and monitor corporate governance and internal control procedures; and (8) Any other information required by the Commissioner by rule or regulation. (c) Summary of changes to registration statement. All registration statements shall contain a summary outlining all items in the current registration statement representing changes from the prior registration statement. (d) Disclosure of nonmaterial information. No information need be disclosed on the registration statement filed pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section if the information is not material for the purposes of this Code section. Unless the Commissioner by rule, regulation, or order provides otherwise, sales, purchases, exchanges, loans, extensions of credit, or investments involving one-half of 1 percent or less of an insurer's admitted assets as of December 31 of the preceding year shall not be deemed material for purposes of this Code section. The definition of materiality provided in this subsection shall not apply for purposes of the group capital calculation or the NAIC Liquidity Stress Test Framework. (e) Reporting dividends to shareholders. Subject to subsection (b) of Code Section 33-13-5, each registered insurer shall report to the Commissioner all dividends and other distributions to shareholders within 15 business days following the declaration thereof. (f) Information of insurers. Any person within an insurance holding company system subject to registration shall be required to provide complete and accurate information to an insurer, where the information is reasonably necessary to enable the insurer to comply with the provisions of this article. (g) Termination of registration. The Commissioner shall terminate the registration of any insurer which demonstrates that it no longer is a member of an insurance holding company system. (h) Filing of consolidated registration. The Commissioner may require or allow two or more affiliated insurers subject to registration under this Code section to file a consolidated registration statement. (i) Filing of registration for affiliated insurer. The Commissioner may allow an insurer which is authorized to do business in this state and which is part of an insurance holding company system to register on behalf of any affiliated insurer which is required to register under subsection (a) of this Code section and to file all information and material required to be filed under this Code section.

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(j) Exemptions. This Code section shall not apply to any insurer, information, or transaction if and to the extent that the Commissioner by rule, regulation, or order shall exempt the same from this Code section. (k) Filing of disclaimer. Any person may file with the Commissioner a disclaimer of affiliation with any authorized insurer or the disclaimer may be filed by the insurer or any member of an insurance holding company system. The disclaimer shall fully disclose all material relationships and bases for affiliation between the persons and the insurer as well as the basis for disclaiming the affiliation. A disclaimer of affiliation shall be deemed to have been granted unless the Commissioner, within 30 days following receipt of a complete disclaimer, notifies the filing party the disclaimer is disallowed. In the event of disallowance, the disclaiming party may request an administrative hearing, which shall be granted. The disclaiming party shall be relieved of its duty to register under this Code section if approval of the disclaimer has been granted by the Commissioner, or if the disclaimer is deemed to have been approved.
(l)(1) Enterprise risk filing. The ultimate controlling person of every insurer subject to registration shall also file an annual enterprise risk report. The report shall, to the best of the ultimate controlling person's knowledge and belief, identify the material risks within the insurance holding company system that could pose enterprise risk to the insurer. The report shall be filed with the lead state commissioner of the insurance holding system as determined by the procedures within the Financial Analysis Handbook adopted by the NAIC and adopted by regulation promulgated by the Commissioner or as otherwise prescribed by regulation promulgated by the Commissioner. (2) Group capital calculation. Except as provided below, the ultimate controlling person of every insurer subject to registration shall concurrently file with the registration an annual group capital calculation as directed by the lead state commissioner. The report shall be completed in accordance with the NAIC group capital calculation instructions, which may permit the lead state commissioner to allow a controlling person that is not the ultimate controlling person to file the group capital calculation. The report shall be filed with the lead state commissioner of the insurance holding company system as determined by the Commissioner in accordance with the procedures within the Financial Analysis Handbook adopted by the NAIC. Insurance holding company systems described below are exempt from filing the group capital calculation:
(A) An insurance holding company system that has only one insurer within its holding company structure, that only writes business and is only licensed in its domestic state, and assumes no business for any other insurer; (B) An insurance holding company system that is required to perform a group capital calculation specified by the United States Federal Reserve Board. The lead state commissioner shall request the calculation from the Federal Reserve Board under the terms of information sharing agreements in effect. If the Federal Reserve Board cannot share the calculation with the lead state commissioner, the insurance holding company system is not exempt from the group capital calculation filing;

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(C) An insurance holding company system whose non-United States group-wide supervisor is located within a reciprocal jurisdiction as described in division (a)(6)(A)(i) of Code Section 33-7-14 that recognizes the United States state regulatory approach to group supervision and group capital; (D) An insurance holding company system:
(i) That provides information to the lead state that meets the requirements for accreditation under the NAIC financial standards and accreditation program, either directly or indirectly through the group-wide supervisor, who has determined such information is satisfactory to allow the lead state to comply with the NAIC Financial Analysis Handbook; and (ii) Whose non-United States group-wide supervisor that is not in a reciprocal jurisdiction recognizes and accepts, as specified by the Commissioner in regulation, the group capital calculation as the world-wide group capital assessment for United States insurance groups who operate in that jurisdiction; (E) Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraphs (C) and (D) of this paragraph, a lead state commissioner shall require the group capital calculation for United States operations of any non-United States based insurance holding company system where, after any necessary consultation with other supervisors or officials, it is deemed appropriate by the lead state commissioner for prudential oversight and solvency monitoring purposes or for ensuring the competitiveness of the insurance marketplace; (F) Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraphs (A) and (D) of this paragraph, the lead state commissioner has the discretion to exempt the ultimate controlling person from filing the annual group capital calculation or to accept a limited group capital filing or report in accordance with criteria as specified by the commissioner in regulation; and (G) If the lead state commissioner determines that an insurance holding company system no longer meets one or more of the requirements for an exemption from filing the group capital calculation under this subsection, the insurance holding company system shall file the group capital calculation at the next annual filing date unless given an extension by the lead state commissioner based on reasonable grounds shown. (3) Liquidity stress test. The ultimate controlling person of every insurer subject to registration and also scoped into the NAIC Liquidity Stress Test Framework shall file the results of a specific year's liquidity stress test. The filing shall be made to the lead state insurance commissioner of the insurance holding company system as determined by the procedures within the Financial Analysis Handbook adopted by the NAIC: (A)(i) The NAIC Liquidity Stress Test Framework includes scope criteria applicable to a specific data year. These scope criteria are reviewed at least annually by the NAIC Financial Stability Task Force or its successor. Any change to the NAIC Liquidity Stress Test Framework or to the data year for which the scope criteria are to be measured shall be effective on January 1 of the year following the calendar year when such changes are adopted.

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(ii) Insurers meeting at least one threshold of the scope criteria are considered scoped into the NAIC Liquidity Stress Test Framework for the specified data year unless the lead state insurance commissioner, in consultation with the NAIC Financial Stability Task Force or its successor, determines the insurer should not be scoped into such framework for that data year. (iii) Insurers that do not trigger at least one threshold of the scope criteria are considered scoped out of the NAIC Liquidity Stress Test Framework for the specified data year, unless the lead state insurance commissioner, in consultation with the NAIC Financial Stability Task Force or its successor, determines the insurer should be scoped into such framework for that data year. (iv) The lead state insurance commissioner, in consultation with the NAIC Financial Stability Task Force or its successor, will assess the concern that state regulators wish to avoid having insurers scoped in and out of the NAIC Liquidity Stress Test Framework on a frequent basis as part of the determination for an insurer; and (B) The performance of, and filing of the results from, a specific year's liquidity stress test shall comply with the NAIC Liquidity Stress Test Framework's instructions and reporting templates for that year and any lead state insurance commissioner determinations, in consultation with the NAIC Financial Stability Task Force or its successor, provided within such framework. (m) Violations. The failure to file a registration statement or any amendment to the registration statement required by this Code section within the time specified for the filing shall be a violation of this Code section."

SECTION 4. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 33-13-5, relating to the standards governing transactions by registered insurers with affiliates generally, extraordinary distributions, and adequacy of surplus, as follows:
"33-13-5. (a)(1) Transactions within a holding company system to which an insurer subject to registration is a party shall be subject to the following standards: (A) The terms shall be fair and reasonable; (B) Agreements for cost sharing services and management shall include such provisions as required by the Commissioner by rule or regulation; (C) Charges or fees for services performed shall be reasonable; (D) Expenses incurred and payment received shall be allocated to the insurer in conformity with customary insurance accounting practices consistently applied; (E) The books, accounts, and records of each party to all such transactions shall be so maintained as to clearly and accurately disclose the nature and details of the transactions, including such accounting information as is necessary to support the reasonableness of the charges or fees to the respective parties;

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(F) The insurer's surplus with regard to policyholders following any dividends or distributions to shareholder affiliates shall be reasonable in relation to the insurer's outstanding liabilities and adequate to its financial needs;
(G)(i) If an insurer subject to this article is deemed by the Commissioner to be in a hazardous financial condition based upon standards prescribed by the Commissioner's rules and regulations or a condition that would be grounds for supervision, conservation, or a delinquency proceeding, then the Commissioner may require the insurer to secure and maintain either a deposit, held by the Commissioner, or a bond, as determined by the insurer at the insurer's discretion, for the protection of the insurer for the duration of any contracts or agreements or the existence of the condition for which the Commissioner required the deposit or the bond. (ii) In determining whether a deposit or a bond is required, the Commissioner should consider whether concerns exist with respect to the affiliated person's ability to fulfill any contracts or agreements if the insurer were to be put into liquidation. Once the insurer is deemed to be in a hazardous financial condition or a condition that would be grounds for supervision, conservation, or a delinquency proceeding, and a deposit or bond is necessary, the Commissioner has discretion to determine the amount of the deposit or bond, not to exceed the value of the contracts or agreements in any one year, and whether such deposit or bond should be required for a single contract, multiple contracts, or a contract only with a specified person or persons; (H)(i) All records and data of the insurer held by an affiliate are and remain the property of the insurer, are subject to control of the insurer, are identifiable, and are segregated or readily capable of segregation, at no additional cost to the insurer, for all other persons' records and data. This includes all records and data that are otherwise the property of the insurer, in whatever form maintained, including but not limited to: claims and claims files; policyholder lists; application files; litigation files; premium records; rate books; underwriting manuals; personnel records; financial records; and similar records within the possession, custody, or control of the affiliate. (ii) At the request of the insurer, the affiliate shall provide that the receiver can: obtain a complete set of all records of any type that pertain to the insurer's business; obtain access to the operational systems on which the data is maintained; obtain the software that runs those systems either through assumption of licensing agreements or otherwise; and restrict the use of the data by the affiliate if it is not operating the insurer's business. The affiliate shall provide a waiver of any landlord lien or other encumbrance to give the insurer access to all records and data in the event of the affiliates' default under a lease other agreement; and (I) Premiums or other funds belonging to the insurer that are collected by or held by an affiliate are the exclusive property of the insurer and are subject to the control of the insurer. Any right of offset in the event an insurer is placed into receivership shall be subjected to Chapter 37 of this title.

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(2) The following transactions involving a domestic insurer and any person in its holding company system, including amendments or modifications of affiliate agreements previously filed pursuant to this Code section, which are subject to any materiality standards contained in subparagraphs (A) through (G) of this paragraph, may not be entered into unless the insurer has notified the Commissioner in writing of its intention to enter into such transaction at least 30 days prior thereto, or such shorter period as the Commissioner may permit, and the Commissioner has not disapproved it within such period. The notice for amendments or modifications shall include the reasons for the change and the financial impact on the domestic insurer. Informal notice shall be reported, within 30 days after a termination of a previously filed agreement, to the Commissioner for determination of the type of filing required, if any:
(A) Sales, purchases, exchanges, loans or extensions of credit, guarantees, or investments, provided such transactions are equal to or exceed: with respect to nonlife insurers, the lesser of 3 percent of the insurer's admitted assets or 25 percent of surplus as regards policyholders; or with respect to life insurers, 3 percent of the insurer's admitted assets; each as of December 31 next preceding; (B) Loans or extensions of credit to any person who is not an affiliate, where the insurer makes such loans or extensions of credit with the agreement or understanding that the proceeds of such transactions, in whole or in substantial part, are to be used to make loans or extensions of credit to, to purchase assets of, or to make investments in any affiliate of the insurer making such loans or extensions of credit to purchase assets of, or to make investments in, any affiliate of the insurer making the loans or extensions of credit, provided such transactions are equal to or exceed: with respect to nonlife insurers, the lesser of 3 percent of the insurer's admitted assets or 25 percent of surplus with regard to policyholders; or with respect to life insurers, 3 percent of the insurer's admitted assets; each as of December 31 next preceding; (C) Reinsurance agreements or modifications thereto, including:
(i) All reinsurance pooling agreements; and (ii) Agreements in which the reinsurance premium or a change in the insurer's liabilities, or the projected reinsurance premium or a change in the insurer's liabilities in any of the next three years, equals or exceeds 5 percent of the insurer's surplus with regard to policyholders, as of December 31 next preceding, including those agreements which may require as consideration the transfer of assets from an insurer to a nonaffiliate, if an agreement or understanding exists between the insurer and nonaffiliate that any portion of the assets will be transferred to one or more affiliates of the insurer; (D) All management agreements, service contracts, tax allocation agreements, guarantees, and all cost-sharing agreements; (E) Guarantees when made by a domestic insurer; provided, however, that a guarantee which is quantifiable as to amount is not subject to the notice requirements of this paragraph unless it exceeds the lesser of one-half of 1 percent of the insurer's admitted

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assets or 10 percent of surplus as regards policyholders as of December 31 next preceding. Further, all guarantees which are not quantifiable as to amount are subject to the notice requirements of this paragraph; (F) Direct or indirect acquisitions or investments in a person that controls the insurer or in an affiliate of the insurer in an agreement which, together with its present holdings in such investments, exceeds 2 1/2 percent of the insurer's surplus to policyholders. Direct or indirect acquisitions or investments in subsidiaries acquired pursuant to Code Section 33-13-2 or authorized under any other Code section of this title, or in nonsubsidiary insurance affiliates that are subject to the provisions of this article, are exempt from this requirement; and (G) Any material transactions, specified by regulation, which the Commissioner determines may adversely affect the interests of the insurer's policyholders. Nothing contained in this paragraph shall be deemed to authorize or permit any transactions which, in the case of an insurer that is not a member of the same holding company system, would be otherwise contrary to law. (3) A domestic insurer may not enter into transactions which are part of a plan or series of like transactions with persons within the holding company system if the purpose of those separate transactions is to avoid the statutory threshold amount and thus avoid the review that would occur otherwise. If the Commissioner determines that such separate transactions were entered into over any 12 month period for such purpose, the Commissioner may exercise his or her authority under Code Section 33-13-11. (4) The Commissioner, in reviewing transactions pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, shall consider whether the transactions comply with the standards set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection and whether they may adversely affect the interests of policyholders. (5) The Commissioner shall be notified within 30 days of any investment of the domestic insurer in any one corporation if the total investment in such corporation by the insurance holding company system exceeds 10 percent of such corporation's voting securities. (6)(A) Any affiliate that is party to an agreement or contract with a domestic insurer that is subject to subparagraph (a)(2)(D) of this Code section shall be subject to the jurisdiction of any supervision, seizure, conservatorship, or receivership proceedings against the insurer and to the authority of any supervisor, conservator, rehabilitator, or liquidator for the insurer appointed pursuant to Chapter 37 of this title for the purpose of interpreting, enforcing, and overseeing the affiliates' obligations under the agreement or contract to perform services for the insurer that:
(i) Are an integral part of the insurer's operations, including but not limited to: management; administration; accounting; data processing; marketing; underwriting; claims handling; investment; and any other similar functions; or (ii) Are essential to the insurer's ability to fulfill its obligations under insurance policies.

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(B) The Commissioner may require that an agreement or contract pursuant to subparagraph (a)(2)(D) of this Code section for the provision of services described in divisions (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph specify that the affiliate consents to the jurisdiction as set forth in this paragraph. (b)(1) No domestic insurer shall apply any extraordinary dividend or make any other extraordinary distribution to its shareholders until 30 days after the Commissioner has received notice of the declaration thereof and has not within such period disapproved such payment, or until the Commissioner has approved such payment within such 30 day period. (2) For the purposes of this subsection, an extraordinary dividend or distribution includes any dividend or distribution of cash or other property, whose fair market value together with that of other dividends or distributions made within the preceding 12 months exceeds the greater of 10 percent of such insurer's surplus with regard to policyholders as of December 31 next preceding, or the net gain from operations of such insurer, if such insurer is a life insurer, or the net income, if such insurer is not a life insurer, not including realized capital gains, for the 12 month period ending December 31 next preceding, but shall not include pro rata distributions of any class of the insurer's own securities. (3) In determining whether a dividend or distribution is extraordinary, an insurer other than a life insurer may carry forward net income from the previous two calendar years that has not already been paid out as dividends. This carry-forward shall be computed by taking the net income from the second and third preceding calendar years, not including realized capital gains, less dividends paid in the second and immediate preceding calendar years. (4) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an insurer may declare an extraordinary dividend or distribution which is conditional upon the Commissioner's approval thereof, and such a declaration shall confer no rights upon shareholders until the Commissioner has approved the payment of such a dividend or distribution or the Commissioner has not disapproved such payment within the 30 day period referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection. (c) For purposes of this article, in determining whether an insurer's surplus with regard to policyholders is reasonable in relation to the insurer's outstanding liabilities and adequate to its financial needs, the following factors, among others, shall be considered: (1) The size of the insurer as measured by its assets, capital and surplus, reserves, premium writings, insurance in force, and other appropriate criteria; (2) The extent to which the insurer's business is diversified among the several lines of insurance; (3) The number and size of risks insured in each line of business; (4) The extent of the geographical dispersion of the insurer's insured risks; (5) The nature and extent of the insurer's reinsurance program; (6) The quality, diversification, and liquidity of the insurer's investment portfolio;

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(7) The recent past and projected future trend in the size of the insurer's surplus as regards policyholders; (8) The surplus with regard to policyholders maintained by other comparable insurers; (9) The adequacy of the insurer's reserves; and (10) The quality and liquidity of investments in affiliates. The Commissioner may treat any such investment as a disallowed asset for purposes of determining the adequacy of surplus with regard to policyholders whenever in the judgment of the Commissioner the investment so warrants."

SECTION 5. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 33-13-8, relating to confidentiality of information and documents obtained during examinations or investigations, sharing certain information, not delegation of regulatory authority or rule making, and responsibility for enforcement, as follows:
"33-13-8. (a)(1) Documents, materials, or other information in the possession or control of the department that are obtained by or disclosed to the Commissioner or any other person in the course of an examination or investigation made pursuant to Code Section 33-13-6 and all information reported or provided to the department pursuant to paragraphs (12) and (13) of subsection (b) of Code Section 33-13-3 and Code Sections 33-13-4, 33-13-5, and 33-13-7.1 are recognized by this state as being proprietary and to contain trade secrets, and shall be confidential by law and privileged, shall not be subject to public disclosure under Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50, shall not be subject to subpoena, and shall not be subject to discovery or admissible in evidence in any private civil action. However, the Commissioner is authorized to use the documents, materials, or other information in the furtherance of any regulatory or legal action brought as a part of the Commissioner's official duties. The Commissioner shall not otherwise make the documents, materials, or other information public without the prior written consent of the insurer to which it pertains unless the Commissioner, after giving the insurer and its affiliates that would be affected thereby notice and opportunity to be heard, determines that the interest of policyholders, shareholders, or the public will be served by the publication thereof, in which event the Commissioner may publish all or any part in such manner as may be deemed appropriate. (2) For purposes of the information reported and provided to the department pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection (l) of Code Section 33-13-4, the Commissioner shall maintain the confidentiality of the group capital calculation and group capital ratio produced within the calculation and any group capital information received from an insurance holding company supervised by the Federal Reserve Board or any United States group-wide supervisor. (3) For purposes of the information reported and provided to the department pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection (l) of Code Section 33-13-4, the Commissioner shall maintain

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the confidentiality of the liquidity stress test results and supporting disclosures and any liquidity stress test information received from an insurance holding company supervised by the Federal Reserve Board and non-United States group-wide supervisors. (b) Neither the Commissioner nor any person who received documents, materials, or other information while acting under the authority of the Commissioner or with whom such documents, materials, or other information are shared pursuant to this article shall be permitted or required to testify in any private civil action concerning any confidential documents, materials, or other information subject to subsection (a) of this Code section. (c) In order to assist in the performance of the Commissioner's duties, the Commissioner: (1) May share documents, materials, or other information, including the confidential and privileged documents, materials, or other information subject to subsection (a) of this Code section, and including proprietary and trade secret documents and materials, with other state, federal, and international regulatory agencies, with the NAIC, any third-party consultant designated by the Commissioner, and state, federal, and international law enforcement authorities, including members of any supervisory college described in Code Section 33-13-7, provided that the recipient agrees in writing to maintain the confidentiality and privileged status of the document, material, or other information and has verified in writing the legal authority to maintain confidentiality; (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of this subsection, may only share confidential and privileged documents, materials, or other information reported pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (l) of Code Section 33-13-4 with commissioners of states having statutes or regulations substantially similar to subsection (a) of this Code section and who have agreed in writing not to disclose such information; (3) May receive documents, materials, or other information, including otherwise confidential and privileged documents, materials, or other information, including proprietary and trade secret information from the NAIC and from regulatory and law enforcement officials of other foreign or domestic jurisdictions and shall maintain as confidential or privileged any document, material, or other information received with notice or the understanding that it is confidential or privileged under the laws of the jurisdiction that is the source of the document, material, or other information; and (4) Shall enter into written agreements with the NAIC and any third-party consultant designated by the Commissioner governing sharing and use of information provided pursuant to this article consistent with this subsection that shall:
(A) Specify procedures and protocols regarding the confidentiality and security of information shared with the NAIC or a third-party consultant designated by the Commissioner pursuant to this article, including procedures and protocols for sharing by the NAIC with other state, federal, and international regulatory agencies. The agreement shall provide that the recipient agrees in writing to maintain the confidentiality and privileged status of the documents, materials, or other information and has verified in writing the legal authority to maintain such confidentiality;

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(B) Specify that ownership of information shared with the NAIC or a third-party consultant designated by the Commissioner pursuant to this article remains with the Commissioner and that the NAIC's or designated third-party consultant's use of the information is subject to the direction of the Commissioner; (C) Excluding documents, materials, or information reported pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection (l) of Code Section 33-13-4, prohibit the NAIC or a third-party consultant designated by the Commissioner from storing the information shared pursuant to this article in a permanent database after the underlying analysis is completed; (D) Require prompt notice to be given to an insurer whose confidential information in the possession of the NAIC or a third-party consultant designated by the Commissioner pursuant to this article is subject to a request or subpoena to the NAIC a third-party consultant designated by the Commissioner for disclosure or production; (E) Require the NAIC or a third-party consultant designated by the Commissioner to consent to intervention by an insurer in any judicial or administrative action in which the NAIC or a third-party consultant designated by the Commissioner may be required to disclose confidential information about the insurer shared with the NAIC or a third-party consultant designated by the Commissioner pursuant to this article; and (F) For documents, materials, or information reporting pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection (l) of Code Section 33-13-4, in the case of an agreement with a third-party consultant designated by the Commissioner, provide for notification of the identity of the consultant to the applicable insurers. (d) The sharing of information by the Commissioner pursuant to this article shall not constitute a delegation of regulatory authority or rule making, and the Commissioner is solely responsible for the administration, execution, and enforcement of the provisions of this article. (e) No waiver of any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality in the documents, materials, or other information shall occur as a result of disclosure to the Commissioner under this Code section or as a result of sharing as authorized in subsection (c) of this Code section. (f) Documents, materials, or other information in the possession or control of the NAIC or a third-party consultant designated by the Commissioner pursuant to this article shall be confidential by law and privileged, shall not be subject to the open records laws, shall not be subject to subpoena, and shall not be subject to discovery or admissible in evidence in any private civil action. (g) The group capital calculation and resulting group capital ratio required under paragraph (2) of subsection (l) of Code Section 33-13-4 and the liquidity stress test along with its results and supporting disclosures required under paragraph (3) of subsection (l) of Code Section 33-13-4 are regulatory tools for assessing group risks and capital adequacy and group liquidity risks, respectively, and are not intended as a means to rank insurers or insurance company systems generally. Therefore, except as otherwise may be required under the provisions of this article, the making, publishing, disseminating, circulating, or

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placing before the public, or causing directly or indirectly to be made, published, disseminated, circulated, or placed before the public in a newspaper, magazine, or other publication, or in the form of a notice, circular, pamphlet, letter, or poster, or over any radio or television station or any electronic means of communication available to the public, or in any other way as an advertisement, announcement, or statement containing a representation or statement with regard to the group capital calculation, group capital ratio, the liquidity stress test results, or supporting disclosures for the liquidity stress test of any insurer or any insurer group, or of any component derived in the calculation by any insurer, broker, or other person engaged in any manner in the insurance business would be misleading and is therefore prohibited; provided, however, that if any materially false statement with respect to the group capital calculation, resulting group capital ratio, an inappropriate comparison of any amount to an insurer's or insurance group's group capital calculation or resulting group capital ratio, liquidity stress test result, supporting disclosures for the liquidity stress test, or an inappropriate comparison of any amount to an insurer's or insurance group's liquidity stress test result or supporting disclosures is published in any written publication and the insurer is able to demonstrate to the Commissioner with substantial proof the falsity of such statement or the inappropriateness, as the case may be, then the insurer may publish announcements in a written publication if the sole purpose of the announcement is to rebut the materially false statement."

SECTION 6. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022.

SECTION 7. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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PROPERTY PROVIDES FOR ELECTRONIC FILING OF RECORDED INSTRUMENTS; EFFECT OF MISSING OR INCORRECT TAX PARCEL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER; REQUIRES CERTAIN INFORMATION ON FIRST PAGE OF SECURITY DEEDS.

No. 754 (House Bill No. 974).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 2 of Title 44 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to recordation and registration of deeds and other instruments, so as to provide for electronic filing; to provide for the effect of a missing or incorrect tax parcel identification number on a recorded instrument; to provide for construction; to amend Chapter 14 of Title 44, relating to mortgages, conveyances to secure debt, and liens, so as to require certain information on the first page of security deeds; to provide for an effective date; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 2 of Title 44 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to recordation and registration of deeds and other instruments, is amended by revising Code Section 44-2-2, relating to duty of clerk to record certain transactions affecting real estate and personal property, priority of recorded instruments, and effect of recording on rights between parties to instruments, as follows:
"44-2-2. (a)(1) The clerk of the superior court shall file, index on a computer program designed for such purpose, and permanently record, in the manner provided constructively in Code Sections 15-6-61 and 15-6-66, the following instruments conveying, transferring, encumbering, or affecting real estate and personal property: (A) Deeds; (B) Mortgages; (C) Liens as provided for by law; (D) Maps or plats relating to real estate in the county; and (E) State tax executions and state tax execution renewals as provided for in Article 2 of Chapter 3 of Title 48. (2) As used in this subsection, the term 'liens' shall have the same meaning as described in Code Sections 15-19-14, 44-14-320, and 44-14-602 and shall include all liens provided by state or federal statute.

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(3) When indexing liens, the clerk shall index the names of parties in the manner provided by such rules and regulations adopted by the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority pursuant to the provisions of Code Section 15-6-61 as authorized by Code Section 15-6-97. (4) When indexing maps or plats relating to real estate in the county, the clerk of the superior court shall index the names or titles provided in the caption of the plat. (b) Deeds, mortgages, and liens of all kinds which are required by law to be recorded in the office of the clerk of the superior court and which are against the interests of third parties who have acquired a transfer or lien binding the same property and who are acting in good faith and without notice shall take effect only from the time they are filed for record in the clerk's office. (c) The clerk of the superior court shall offer electronic filing for the recording of all instruments listed in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section. (d) The clerk of the superior court shall make available a public computer terminal which provides a filer with access to the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority's electronic filing portal. (e) The presence of an incorrect tax parcel identification number, or the absence of a tax parcel identification number, on a recorded instrument shall not: (1) Void or render voidable such instrument; (2) Affect the validity, enforceability, or priority of such instrument; or (3) Affect any notice, constructive or otherwise, provided by the recordation of such instrument. (f) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to affect the validity, enforceability, or priority of any deed, mortgage, judgment, or lien of any kind between the parties thereto."

SECTION 2. Chapter 14 of Title 44, relating to mortgages, conveyances to secure debt, and liens, is amended by revising Code Section 44-14-63, relating to recording of deeds to secure debt and bills of sale to secure debt and effect of failure to record, as follows:
"44-14-63. (a) Every deed to secure debt shall be recorded in the county where the land conveyed is located. Every bill of sale to secure debt shall be recorded in the county where the maker, if a resident of this state, resided at the time of its execution and, if a nonresident, in the county where the personalty conveyed is located. Deeds to secure debt or bills of sale to secure debt not recorded shall remain valid against the persons executing them. (b) A deed to secure debt shall not be recorded unless it includes the following information on the first page:
(1) The date of the document; (2) The names of the signatories of the document; (3) The grantee's mailing address; (4) Map and parcel identification information, if applicable;

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(5) The original loan amount or the amount of any outstanding principal and additional advance pursuant to a loan modification; (6) The initial maturity date or dates for such debt; (7) The amount, if any, of the intangible recording tax imposed on such deed to secure debt; (8) The amount, if any, of the intangible recording tax imposed for an additional advance pursuant to a security deed modification agreement or other additional advance secured by a security deed; and (9) If no intangible tax is imposed, a citation to the authority providing for an exemption of such tax. (c) Failure to comply with this Code section shall not be a defense to any foreclosure or grounds to set aside any foreclosure of any deed to secure debt."

SECTION 3. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2023.

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC EXEMPTS LOW-SPEED VEHICLES FROM CERTAIN PERMITTING REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO LIGHTS.

No. 755 (House Bill No. 1011).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 8 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to equipment and inspection of motor vehicles, so as to exempt low-speed vehicles from permitting requirements relating to amber strobe lights or emergency vehicle designation; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

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SECTION 1. Chapter 8 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to equipment and inspection of motor vehicles, is amended by revising Code Section 40-8-35, relating to operating low-speed vehicles on highway and issuance of permit, as follows:
"40-8-35. Any low-speed vehicle operated on the highways of this state without a properly affixed emblem conforming to the requirements of Code Section 40-8-4 shall display an amber strobe light so as to warn approaching travelers to decrease their speed because of the danger of colliding with such vehicle. Such amber strobe light shall be mounted in a manner so as to be visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of 500 feet from the front and rear of such vehicle."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 40-8-92, relating to designation of emergency vehicles, flashing or revolving lights, permits, fee, and prohibition against use of flashing or revolving green lights by private persons on public property, as follows:
"40-8-92. (a) All emergency vehicles shall be designated as such by the commissioner of public safety. The commissioner shall so designate each vehicle by issuing to such vehicle a permit to operate flashing or revolving emergency lights of the appropriate color. Such permit shall be valid for five years from the date of issuance. Any and all officially marked law enforcement vehicles as specified in Code Section 40-8-91 shall not be required to have a permit for the use of a blue light. Any and all fire department vehicles which are distinctly marked on each side shall not be required to have a permit for the use of a red light. Any and all ambulances, as defined in Code Section 31-11-2, licensed by this state shall not be required to have a permit for the use of a red light. Any low-speed vehicle shall not be required to have a permit for the use of an amber strobe light. (b) The commissioner shall authorize the use of red or amber flashing or revolving lights only when the person or governmental agency shall demonstrate to the commissioner a proven need for equipping a vehicle with emergency lights. The fee for such lights shall be $2.00, provided that no federal, state, county, or municipal governmental agency or an ambulance provider, as defined in Code Section 31-11-2, shall be required to pay such fee. (c) Nothing contained in this Code section shall prohibit the commissioner from issuing a single special use permit to cover more than one vehicle, provided each vehicle covered under such special use permit shall pay the fee specified in subsection (b) of this Code section. (d) Except as provided in this subsection, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to operate any motor vehicle or to park any motor vehicle on public property with flashing or revolving green lights. This subsection shall not apply to any motor vehicle being used by any law enforcement agency, fire department, emergency

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management agency, or other governmental entity to designate the location of the command post for such agency, department, or entity at the site of an emergency."

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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INSURANCE DECREASE MINIMUM NONFORFEITURE INTEREST RATE FOR INDIVIDUAL DEFERRED ANNUITIES.

No. 756 (House Bill No. 1021).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 33-28-3 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to standard nonforfeiture provisions for individual deferred annuities, so as to decrease the minimum nonforfeiture interest rate for individual deferred annuities from 1 percent to 0.15 percent; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 33-28-3 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to standard nonforfeiture provisions for individual deferred annuities, is amended by revising subsection (d) as follows:
"(d) The minimum values as specified in subsections (e) through (h) and (j) of this Code section of any paid-up annuity, cash surrender, or death benefits available under an annuity contract shall be based upon minimum nonforfeiture amounts as defined by the Commissioner by rule and regulation based upon interest rates set by the Commissioner to reflect current and prevailing economic and financial conditions; provided, however, that such interest rates shall not be less than 0.15 percent per annum nor more than 3 percent per annum."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective July 1, 2022, and shall apply to all applicable contracts issued, delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state on or after such date.

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SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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REVENUE AND TAXATION REVISES EXEMPTION FOR SALES OF ADMISSIONS TO NONRECURRING MAJOR SPORTING EVENTS; AMENDS DEFINITION OF "MAJOR SPORTING EVENT" TO INCLUDE ANY MATCH OF A FIFA WORLD CUP.

No. 757 (House Bill No. 1034).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 48-8-3 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to exemptions from sales and use taxes, so as to revise the exemption for sales of admissions to nonrecurring major sporting events; to amend the definition of "major sporting event" to include any match of a FIFA World Cup; to extend the sunset provision for the exemption; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 48-8-3 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to exemptions from sales and use taxes, is amended in paragraph (97) as follows:
"(97)(A) Sales of admissions to nonrecurring major sporting events in this state expected to generate over $50 million in the host locality. (B) As used in this paragraph, the term 'major sporting event' means the National Football League championship game; any semifinal game or championship game of a national collegiate tournament; a Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, or National Basketball Association all-star game; any match of a FIFA World Cup; or any other nonrecurring major sporting event determined by the commissioner of economic development and the state revenue commissioner to be a major sporting event. (C) As used in this paragraph, the term 'nonrecurring' means not occurring in this state more than once every three years. (D) The revenue projections for purposes of this paragraph shall include, but not be limited to, lodging, meals, vehicle rentals, and admissions to tourist attractions. (E) Determinations made under this paragraph by the commissioners on or after July 1, 2016, shall be made prior to the date of the convening of the General Assembly

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immediately preceding the awarding of the sales tax exemption for a major sporting event. Such a determination shall become effective either 30 days prior to the major sporting event or on the first fiscal day of the fiscal year immediately following a year during which such determination was made, whichever is earlier. Such a determination may be rendered null and void by a joint resolution passed by both chambers of the General Assembly. In the event that the presiding officers of the General Assembly, in their discretion, choose to introduce such a joint resolution, a special committee in each respective chamber of the General Assembly will be appointed by the presiding officers of both chambers of the General Assembly for the purpose of considering such a joint resolution, subject to the rules of both respective chambers. (F) This paragraph shall stand automatically repealed on December 31, 2031; provided, however, that this repeal shall not apply to any event for which an application has been submitted prior to December 31, 2031;"

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC REVISES DEFINITION OF ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLE.
No. 758 (House Bill No. 1055).
AN ACT
To amend Code Section 40-1-1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to definitions relative to motor vehicles and traffic, so as to revise the definition of "all-terrain vehicle"; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
SECTION 1. Code Section 40-1-1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to definitions relative to motor vehicles and traffic, is amended by revising paragraph (3) as follows:
"(3) 'All-terrain vehicle' means a motorized vehicle originally manufactured for off-highway use which is equipped with three or more nonhighway tires, is 80 inches or less in width with a dry weight of 3,500 pounds or less, and is designed for or capable of

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cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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RETIREMENT AND PENSIONS REPEALS CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS AND REQUIREMENTS CONCERNING AUTHORITY TO MAKE ALTERNATIVE
INVESTMENTS AND INCREASES PERCENTAGE OF ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS ALLOWABLE FOR GEORGIA FIREFIGHTERS' PENSION FUND.

No. 759 (House Bill No. 1056).

AN ACT

To amend Title 47 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to retirement and pensions, so as to repeal certain restrictions and requirements concerning the authority to make alternative investments for the Georgia Firefighters' Pension Fund; to increase the percentage of alternative investments allowable for the Georgia Firefighters' Pension Fund; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Title 47 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to retirement and pensions, is amended in Chapter 7, relating to the Georgia Firefighters' Pension Fund, by repealing Code Section 47-7-127, relating to the definition of alternative investments and a code of ethics.

SECTION 2. Said title is further amended in Chapter 20, relating to public retirement systems standards, by revising subsection (d) of Code Section 47-20-87, relating to eligible large retirement systems authorized to invest in certain alternative investments, as follows:
"(d)(1)(A) Alternative investments by an eligible large retirement system shall not in the aggregate exceed 10 percent of the eligible large retirement system's assets at any time.

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(B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, alternative investments by the Georgia Firefighters' Pension Fund shall not in the aggregate exceed 15 percent of its assets at any time. (C) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the Teachers' Retirement System of Georgia shall not in the aggregate exceed 5 percent of such system's assets at any time. (D) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the Employees' Retirement System of Georgia shall not in the aggregate exceed 5 percent of such system's assets at any time. (2) The board of trustees of an eligible large retirement system shall have the discretion to designate whether any investment that is permitted to be made as an alternative investment pursuant to this Code section that is also permitted to be made as an investment pursuant to Code Section 47-20-83 shall be treated as an alternative investment made pursuant to this Code section and subject to and included within the percentage limitations provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection or as an investment made pursuant to Code Section 47-20-83. (3) If an eligible large retirement system is not in compliance with the limitations imposed by this subsection, it shall make a good faith effort to come into compliance within two years and in any event as soon as practicable thereafter; provided, however, that during any period of noncompliance, the eligible large retirement system shall not increase the percentage of its assets committed to be invested in alternative investments but shall be permitted during such period to continue to make investments as required by the then existing commitments of the eligible large retirement system to alternative investments made before the period of noncompliance."

SECTION 3. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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INSURANCE EXCLUSIONS TO UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES AND UNLAWFUL INDUCEMENTS; PROVIDES FOR VALUE-ADDED PRODUCTS OR SERVICES.

No. 760 (House Bill No. 1059).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 24 of Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance generally, so as to provide for exclusions to unfair trade practices and unlawful inducements; to allow an insurer or insurance producer to offer or provide a value-added product or service under certain conditions; to allow an insurer or insurance producer to implement a pilot program offering or providing a value-added product or service under certain conditions; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 24 of Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance generally, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"33-24-59.31. The following shall not be construed as an unfair trade practice under subsection (b) of Code Section 33-6-4 or an unlawful inducement under subsection (c) of Code Section 33-9-36:
(1) An insurer or insurance producer, by or through employees, affiliates, or third-party representatives, may offer or provide a value-added product or service at no or reduced cost when such product or service is not specified in the policy of insurance when:
(A) The value-added product or service relates to the insurance coverage; (B) The value-added product or service is offered in a manner that is not unfairly discriminatory, and the availability of the value-added product or service is based on documented objective criteria that is maintained by the insurer or insurance producer and produced upon request by the Commissioner; (C) The cost to the insurer or insurance producer for offering or providing the value-added product or service is reasonable in comparison to the premiums or insurance coverage for the policy class; and (D) The value-added product or service is primarily designed to:
(i) Provide loss mitigation or loss control; (ii) Reduce claim costs or claim settlement costs; (iii) Provide education about liability risks or risk of loss to persons or property;

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(iv) Monitor or assess risk, identify sources of risk, or develop strategies for eliminating or reducing risk; (v) Provide post-loss services; or (vi) Encourage behavioral changes to reduce the risk of death or disability of a customer or potential customer that is a policyholder, potential policyholder, certificate holder, potential certificate holder, insured, potential insured or applicant; and (2) When an insurer or insurance producer does not have sufficient evidence but has a good-faith belief that the value-added product or service meets the criteria in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1) of this Code section, the insurer or insurance producer may offer or provide a value-added product or service in a manner that is not unfairly discriminatory as part of a pilot program for no more than a year. An insurer or insurance producer must notify the Commissioner prior to implementing the pilot program and may proceed with such program unless the Commissioner objects in writing within 21 days of notice."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022, and shall apply to all policies or contracts issued, delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state on or after such date.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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HEALTH LOWERS AGE FOR INFLUENZA VACCINATIONS FOR CERTAIN INPATIENTS PRIOR TO HOSPITAL DISCHARGE.

No. 761 (House Bill No. 1086).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 31-7-18 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to influenza vaccinations for discharged patients aged 65 and older, vaccinations or other measures for health care workers in hospitals, immunity from liability, and standing orders, so as to lower the age to 50 years old for hospitals to offer inpatients vaccinations for the influenza virus prior to discharge; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

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BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 31-7-18 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to influenza vaccinations for discharged patients aged 65 and older, vaccinations or other measures for health care workers in hospitals, immunity from liability, and standing orders, is amended by revising subsection (a) as follows:
"(a) Prior to discharging any inpatient who is 50 years of age or older, a hospital shall offer the inpatient a vaccination for the influenza virus. Prior to discharging any inpatient who is 65 years of age or older, a hospital shall offer the inpatient a vaccination for pneumococcal disease. Such vaccinations shall be provided in accordance with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and any applicable rules and regulations of the department, unless contraindicated and contingent on availability of such vaccine. A hospital may offer other patients such vaccinations in accordance with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and any applicable rules and regulations of the department. The vaccinations may be administered pursuant to a standing order that has been approved by the hospital's medical staff."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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PROPERTY AUTHORIZES NONJUDICIAL FORECLOSURE OF TIME-SHARE ESTATES.

No. 762 (House Bill No. 1088).

AN ACT

To amend Part 7 of Article 5 of Chapter 3 of Title 44 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to miscellaneous provisions regarding time-share projects and programs, so as to authorize nonjudicial foreclosure of time-share estates; to provide for notice; to provide for transfer of title; to provide for a power of attorney; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

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SECTION 1. Part 7 of Article 5 of Chapter 3 of Title 44 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to miscellaneous provisions regarding time-share projects and programs, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"44-3-206. (a) An owners' association may foreclose its lien upon a time-share estate in accordance with subsection (c) of Code Section 44-3-109 or may foreclose its lien under a power of sale that such owners' association shall have under this Code section in order to sell a time-share estate for the purpose of paying any or all unpaid assessments and other charges owed by the owner of such time-share estate.
(b)(1) In order for an owners' association to foreclose its lien upon a time-share estate under a power of sale, a notice of sale shall be:
(A) Accomplished in writing sent by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, to the property address of the owner most recently provided to the owners' association no later than 30 days prior to the date of the proposed sale and shall be deemed given on the official postmark day or the day on which it is received for delivery by a commercial delivery firm; (B) Provided in writing to any lien holder, sent by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested; and (C) Provided by advertising the time, place, and terms of said sale in a newspaper in which sheriff's advertisements are published in the county where the development is located, once a week during the four calendar weeks immediately preceding the calendar week of the date of such sale. (2) Any sale pursuant to this subsection shall occur on a legal sale day within the legal hours of sale at the legal place of sale in the county where the development is located. (c) A sale undertaken as authorized by this Code section shall divest the owner of all right, title, interest, and equity that such owner has in or to the time-share estate and shall vest fee simple title to the time-share estate in the purchaser or purchasers at said sale. The proceeds of said sale shall be applied first in accordance with the lien priorities set forth in paragraphs (1) through (4) of subsection (a) of Code Section 44-3-109, after which any remaining proceeds shall be applied to the payment in full of such unpaid assessments and other charges and next to the payment of all expenses actually incurred by the owners' association in connection with said proceedings, including attorneys' fees, and any remaining proceeds shall be paid to the owner. The owners' association may bid at said sale and purchase the time-share estate. (d) For the purpose of carrying out and effectuating the power of sale authorized by this Code section, the owners' association shall be constituted the true and lawful attorney-in-fact of such owner to sell such time-share estate, as provided in this Code section, and convey the same to the purchaser or purchasers at said sale in as full and ample a manner as such owner could do in person. The power and agency hereby granted are coupled with an interest and are irrevocable by death or otherwise."

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SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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REVENUE AND TAXATION ROAD TAX ON MOTOR CARRIERS; VIOLATION OF REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS; REVISE PENALTIES.

No. 763 (House Bill No. 1089).

AN ACT

To amend Article 2 of Chapter 9 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to road tax on motor carriers, so as to increase the penalty for certain violations of registration requirements for motor vehicles operated by motor carriers; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Article 2 of Chapter 9 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to road tax on motor carriers, is amended by revising Code Section 48-9-45, relating to penalties, violation of registration provisions, untimely reports, failure to pay, interest, and other punitive measures, as follows:
"48-9-45. (a) Whenever any motor carrier operates a motor vehicle in violation of the registration provisions of this article, the motor carrier shall be subject to a penalty of $145.00 for each motor vehicle in violation. (b) Whenever any motor carrier required to file a report as provided by this article fails to file the report within the time prescribed, he or she shall be subject to a penalty of $25.00 for each failure to file. (c) Whenever any motor carrier fails to pay the road taxes or any part of the road taxes due pursuant to this article, the motor carrier shall be subject to a penalty of $10.00 or 10 percent of the amount of the unpaid tax due, whichever is greater, and to interest on the

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unpaid tax at the rate specified in Code Section 48-2-40 from the time the road tax became due until the tax is paid. (d) Any penalties and interest imposed by this Code section shall be assessed and collected by the commissioner in the manner provided by law. In addition to imposing penalties and interest, the commissioner may suspend or revoke any certificate, permit, or other evidence of right issued by the commissioner and held by the motor carrier found to be in default."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2022.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC REVISES DEFINITION OF HEAVY-DUTY EQUIPMENT MOTOR VEHICLE.
No. 764 (House Bill No. 1103).
AN ACT
To amend Code Section 40-2-167 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to separately stated fees in a rental agreement, so as to revise the definition of "heavy-duty equipment motor vehicle" for the purposes of said Code section; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
SECTION 1. Code Section 40-2-167 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to separately stated fees in a rental agreement, is amended by revising subsection (a) as follows:
"(a) As used in this Code section, the term: (1) 'Heavy-duty equipment motor vehicle' means a motor vehicle with all its attachments and parts which is self-propelled, weighs 1,500 pounds or more, and is primarily designed and used for construction, industrial, maritime, or mining uses, provided that such motor vehicles are not required to be registered and have a license plate.

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(2) 'Motor vehicle rental company' means an individual or business entity whose business activity is renting motor vehicles to consumers under rental agreements for periods of 90 days or less or renting heavy-duty equipment motor vehicles under rental agreements for periods of less than 365 days or under open-ended agreements. (3) 'Recoverable facility charges' means governmental and private concession fees, including airport concession fees, consolidated facility charges, and the fees and charges incurred thereon, actually paid by a motor vehicle rental company. (4) 'Recoverable fees and taxes' means costs incurred by a motor vehicle rental company to license, title, register, plate, and inspect rental motor vehicles and ad valorem taxes imposed in connection with the registration of rental motor vehicles or a 1 1/2 percent property tax recovery fee on heavy-duty equipment motor vehicles. (5) 'Rental agreement' means an agreement under which a rental motor vehicle is rented or leased. (6) 'Rental motor vehicle' means a motor vehicle that is rented or leased without a driver."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC EQUIPPING OF LAW ENFORCEMENT VEHICLES WITH BLUE FLASHING OR REVOLVING LIGHTS; REMOVES RESTRICTION ON GEORGIA STATE PATROL VEHICLES.

No. 765 (House Bill No. 1146).

AN ACT

To amend Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to motor vehicles and traffic, so as to provide for vehicles operated by certain law enforcement to be equipped with flashing or revolving lights which are primarily blue in color; to remove a restriction relating to motor vehicles of the Georgia State Patrol; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

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SECTION 1. Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to motor vehicles and traffic, is amended by revising Code Section 40-1-7, relating to blue light required for officers enforcing traffic and exception, as follows:
"40-1-7. Whenever pursuing a person in violation of a traffic related offense, a uniformed law enforcement officer who is assigned routinely or primarily to traffic law enforcement or other traffic safety duties on the roadways or highways of this state shall place a visible blue light on the roof of his or her vehicle if such vehicle is not equipped with permanent exterior mounted roof blue lights; provided, however, that the provisions of this Code section shall not apply to law enforcement officers operating vehicles manufactured prior to 2001. This Code section shall not apply to any officer assigned to special operations activities or responding to an immediate threat to public safety as a result of an accident or other emergency. This Code section shall not apply to vehicles of the Georgia State Patrol or of a sheriff's office or police department which office or police department provides law enforcement services by certified peace officers 24 hours a day, seven days a week where the vehicles are marked in accordance with Code Section 40-8-91, with flashing or revolving lights, primarily blue in color, visible under normal atmospheric conditions for a distance of 500 feet from the front and rear of such vehicles, and which also have illuminating agency identifiers reasonably visible to a driver of a vehicle subject to a traffic stop; provided, however, that a sheriff's office or police department shall not be permitted to have more than one vehicle per agency without such exterior mounted roof lights. An otherwise lawful arrest shall not be invalidated or in any manner affected by failure to comply with this Code section."

SECTION 2. Said title is further amended in Code Section 40-8-91, relating to marking and equipment of law enforcement vehicles and motorist allowed to continue to safe location before stopping for law enforcement officer vehicles, by revising subsection (b) as follows:
"(b) Any motor vehicle, except as hereinafter provided in this subsection, used by any employee of the Georgia State Patrol for the purpose of enforcing the traffic laws of this state shall be distinctly painted, marked, and equipped in such manner as shall be prescribed by the commissioner of public safety pursuant to this Code section. The commissioner in prescribing the manner in which such vehicles shall be painted, marked, or equipped shall:
(1) Require that all such motor vehicles be painted in a two toned uniform color or a solid color. For vehicles painted in a two toned uniform color, the hood, top, and the top area not to exceed 12 inches below the bottom of the window opening thereof shall be a light gray color and the remaining portion of said motor vehicle shall be painted a dark blue color;

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(2) Require that any such motor vehicle be equipped with at least one lamp which when lighted shall display a flashing or revolving light, primarily blue in color, visible under normal atmospheric conditions for a distance of 500 feet from the front and rear of such vehicle; and (3) Require that any such motor vehicle shall be distinctly marked on each side and the back thereof with the wording 'State Patrol' in letters not less than six inches in height of a contrasting color from the background color of the motor vehicle."

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CLARIFIES BOND FORFEITURE CONDITIONS; PROVIDES FOR CONDITIONS APPLICABLE TO PROFESSIONAL BONDING COMPANIES THAT HAVE OPERATED CONTINUOUSLY FOR 18 MONTHS OR LONGER IN PARTICULAR COUNTY.

No. 766 (House Bill No. 1183).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 6 of Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to bonds and recognizances, so as to clarify bond forfeiture conditions; to provide for conditions applicable to professional bonding companies that have operated continuously for 18 months or longer in a particular county; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 6 of Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to bonds and recognizances, is amended by revising subparagraph (b)(1)(E) of Code Section 17-6-15, relating to necessity for commitment where bail tendered and accepted, opportunity for bail, receipt of bail after commitment and imprisonment, imprisonment of person who offers bond for amount of bail set, and effect upon common-law authority of court, as follows:

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"(E) Establishment of a cash escrow account or other form of collateral as follows: (i) For any professional bonding company that is new to the county or that has operated continuously in the county for less than 18 months, in an amount and upon terms and conditions as determined and approved by the sheriff; (ii) 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 5 percent of the current outstanding bail bond liability of the professional bonding company and such cash escrow account shall not be required to have on deposit an amount in excess of $1,000,000.00; and (iii) 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."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended by revising subsections (d) and (e) of Code Section 17-6-72, relating to conditions not warranting forfeiture of bond for failure to appear and remission of forfeiture, as follows:
"(d) In cases in which subsection (e) of this Code section is not applicable, the court shall order remission under the following conditions:
(1) Provided the bond amount has been paid within 120 days after entry of the judgment and the delay has not prevented prosecution of the principal and upon application filed within 120 days from the payment of judgment with prior notice to the prosecuting attorney of such application, said court shall direct remission of 95 percent of the bond amount remitted to the surety if the principal is produced or otherwise appears before the court that has jurisdiction of the bond within such 120 day period following payment of the judgment; (2) Provided the bond amount has been paid within 120 days after the entry of judgment and the delay has not prevented prosecution of the principal, should the surety, within two years of the principal's failure to appear, locate the principal in the custody of the sheriff in the jurisdiction where the bond was made or in another jurisdiction causing the return of the principal to the jurisdiction where the bond was made, apprehend, surrender, or produce the principal, if the apprehension or surrender of the principal is substantially procured or caused by the surety, or if the location of the principal by the surety causes the adjudication of the principal in the jurisdiction in which the bond was made, the surety shall be entitled to a refund of 50 percent of the bond amount. The application for 50 percent remission shall be filed no later than 30 days following the expiration of the two-year period following the date of judgment; or (3) Remission shall be granted upon condition of the payment of court costs and of the expenses of returning the principal to the jurisdiction by the surety.

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(e)(1) If, within 120 days from entry of the judgment, the surety surrenders the principal to the sheriff or responsible law enforcement officer, or said surrender has been denied by the sheriff or responsible law enforcement officer, or the surety locates the principal in custody in another jurisdiction, the surety shall only be required to pay costs and 5 percent of the face amount of the bond, which amount includes all surcharges. If it is shown to the satisfaction of the court, by the presentation of competent evidence from the sheriff or the holding institution, that said surrender has been made or denied or that the principal is in custody in another jurisdiction or that said surrender has been made and that 5 percent of the face amount of the bond and all costs have been tendered to the sheriff, the court shall direct that the judgment be marked satisfied and that the writ of fieri facias be canceled.
(2)(A) The court shall direct that the judgment be marked satisfied and that the writ of fieri facias be canceled, if within 120 days from entry of the judgment, the surety:
(i) Tenders an amount equal to 5 percent of the face amount of the bond and all costs to the sheriff; and (ii) Provides, in writing, the court and the prosecuting attorney for the court that has jurisdiction of the bond with competent evidence giving probable cause to believe that the principal is located in another jurisdiction within the United States and states that it will provide for the reasonable remuneration for the rendition of the principal, as estimated by the sheriff; and (B) The prosecuting attorney for the court that has jurisdiction of the bond: (i) Declines, in writing, to authorize or facilitate extradition; or (ii) Within ten business days of the notice provided pursuant to division (2)(A)(ii) of this subsection, fails to enter the appropriate extradition approval code into the computerized files maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Crime Information Center, thereby indicating an unwillingness to extradite the principal."

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC UPDATES FEDERAL REGULATIONS REFERENCE REGARDING SAFE OPERATION OF MOTOR CARRIERS AND COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES.

No. 767 (House Bill No. 1194).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 40-1-8 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to safe operations of motor carriers, commercial motor vehicles, and drivers and safe transportation of hazardous materials, so as to update the reference date to federal regulations regarding the safe operation of motor carriers and commercial motor vehicles; to revise a definition; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 40-1-8 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to safe operations of motor carriers, commercial motor vehicles, and drivers and safe transportation of hazardous materials, is amended by revising subsection (a) as follows:
"(a) As used in this Code section, the term: (1) 'Commissioner' means the commissioner of public safety. (2) 'Department' means the Department of Public Safety. (3) 'Present regulations' means the regulations promulgated under 49 C.F.R. in force and effect on January 1, 2022."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT INTERLOCAL RISK MANAGEMENT AGENCIES; AUDITS OF AGENCIES.

No. 768 (House Bill No. 1195).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 85 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to interlocal risk management agencies in local government, so as to provide that audits of funds may be conducted in accordance with statutory accounting principles; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 85 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to interlocal risk management agencies in local government, is amended by revising Code Section 36-85-19, relating to audits of funds, as follows:
"36-85-19. Each fund established under this chapter shall have an annual audit of its books and accounts performed by a certified public accountant. Such audit shall be conducted in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles or statutory accounting principles. A copy of such audit shall be made available to fund members."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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EDUCATION ALLOWS STUDENT TO WITHDRAW FROM LOCAL SCHOOL AND ENROLL IN CHARTER SCHOOL; REQUIRES LOCAL TRANSFER PROCESSES; PROVIDES FOR ADJUSTMENT OF LOCAL REVENUES BY LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS; REPEALS CERTAIN REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR DEPARTMENT OF AUDITS AND ACCOUNTS REGARDING CERTAIN CHARTER SCHOOLS.

No. 769 (House Bill No. 1215).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to elementary and secondary education, so as to revise and provide for certain definitions; to provide for students to withdraw without penalty from a local school in the school system in which such student resides and enroll in a charter school with available classroom space; to require local boards of education to adopt a universal, streamlined transfer process that allows for such transfers; to require local boards of education to periodically adjust the calculated amount of allocated local revenue based upon collected local revenues; to repeal certain reporting requirements for the Department of Audits and Accounts regarding certain charter schools that offer virtual instruction; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to elementary and secondary education, is amended by revising Code Section 20-2-2062, relating to definitions under the Charter Schools Act of 1998, as follows:
"20-2-2062. As used in this article, the term:
(1) 'Charter' means a performance based contract between a local board and a charter petitioner, the terms of which are approved by the local board and by the state board in the case of a local charter school; between the state board and a charter petitioner, the terms of which are approved by the state board in the case of a state chartered special school; or between a local board and the state board, the terms of which are approved by the state board in the case of a charter system. By entering into a charter, a charter

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petitioner and local board shall be deemed to have agreed to be bound to all the provisions of this article as if such terms were set forth in the charter. (1.1) 'Charter attendance zone' means all or any portion of the local school system in which the charter school is located and may include all or any portion of other local school systems if the charter school is jointly authorized pursuant to subsection (c) of Code Section 20-2-2063. (2) 'Charter petitioner' means a local school, local board of education, private individual, private organization, or state or local public entity that submits or initiates a petition for a charter. The term 'charter petitioner' does not include home study programs or schools, sectarian schools, religious schools, private for profit schools, private educational institutions not established, operated, or governed by the State of Georgia, or existing private schools. On and after July 1, 2013, a charter for a local charter school, if approved, shall be a three-party agreement between a charter petitioner, a local board of education, and the State Board of Education, and the charter petitioner for such local charter school shall be a party other than the local board of education. (3) 'Charter school' means a public school that:
(A) Operates under the terms of a charter that is subject to the provisions of this article or Article 31A of this chapter; (B) Operates under the supervision and direction of a charter school governing board; (C) Has a school code assigned by the Department of Education; and (D) Is the subject of a school report card prepared and distributed by the Office of Student Achievement as provided in Code Section 20-14-34. (3.1) 'Charter school governing board' or 'governing board' means the governing board of the nonprofit organization that is involved in school-level governance of the local charter school and that is subject to the training requirements provided for in Code Section 20-2-2072. (3.2) 'Charter system' means a local school system that is operating under the terms of a charter pursuant to Code Section 20-2-2063.2. (4) 'Conversion charter school' means a charter school that existed as a local school prior to becoming a charter school. (4.1) 'Educationally disadvantaged students' means all or a subset of the following: students who are economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, limited English proficient students, neglected or delinquent students, and homeless students, as each such subset is defined by the State Board of Education in accordance with federal education guidelines and regulations. (5) 'Faculty and instructional staff members' means all certificated personnel assigned to the school on a full-time basis and all paraprofessionals assigned to the school on a full-time basis. The term 'paraprofessional' shall have the same meaning as set out in Code Section 20-2-204.

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(5.1) 'Governing council' means a school level council of parents, teachers, administrators, and others who are involved in school level governance within a charter system. (5.2) 'High school cluster' means a high school and all of the middle and elementary schools which contain students who matriculate to such high school. The schools in a high school cluster may include charter schools, local schools, or a combination of both. (6) 'Local board' means a county or independent board of education exercising control and management of a local school system pursuant to Article VIII, Section V, Paragraph II of the Constitution. (7) 'Local charter school' means a conversion charter school or start-up charter school that is authorized by a local board and the state board to operate under the terms of a charter approved by the charter petitioner, the local board, and the state board. (8) 'Local revenue' means local taxes budgeted for school purposes in excess of the local five mill share, combined with any applicable equalization grant and budgeted revenues from any of the following: investment earnings, unrestricted donations, and the sale of surplus property; but exclusive of revenue from bonds issued for capital projects, revenue to pay debt service on such bonds and local option sales tax for capital projects. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to prevent a local board from including a local charter school in projects specified in the ballot language of a local option sales tax or bond referendum. (9) 'Local school' means a public school in Georgia that is under the management and control of a local board. (10) 'Local school system' means the system of public schools established and maintained by a local board within its limits pursuant to Article VIII, Section V, Paragraph I of the Constitution. (11) 'Petition' means a proposal to establish a charter school or a charter system. (12) 'QBE formula earnings' means funds earned for the Quality Basic Education Formula pursuant to Code Section 20-2-161, including the portion of such funds that are calculated as the local five mill share in accordance with Code Section 20-2-164. (12.1) 'School level governance' means decision-making authority in personnel decisions, financial decisions, curriculum and instruction, resource allocation, establishing and monitoring the achievement of school improvement goals, and school operations. (13) 'Special school' means a school whose creation is authorized pursuant to Article VIII, Section V, Paragraph VII of the Constitution. (14) 'Start-up charter school' means a charter school that did not exist as a local school prior to becoming a charter school. (15) 'State board' means the State Board of Education.

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(16) 'State chartered special school' means a charter school created as a special school that is authorized by the state board to operate under the terms of a charter between the charter petitioner and the state board. (17) 'System charter school' means a school within a charter system."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended in Code Section 20-2-2066, relating to admission enrollment, and withdrawal of students under the Charter Schools Act of 1998, by revising subsection (d) as follows:
"(d)(1) A student may withdraw without penalty from a charter school at any time and enroll in a local school in the school system in which such student resides as may be provided for by the policies of the local board. A student who is suspended or expelled from a charter school as a result of a disciplinary action taken by a charter school shall be entitled to enroll in a local school within the local school system in which the student resides, if, under the disciplinary policy of the local school system, such student would not have been subject to suspension or expulsion for the conduct which gave rise to the suspension or expulsion. In such instances, the local board shall not be required to independently verify the nature or occurrence of the applicable conduct or any evidence relating thereto. (2) A student may withdraw without penalty from a local school in the school system in which such student resides at any time and enroll in a charter school with available classroom space in accordance with the enrollment provisions of this Code section."

SECTION 3. Said chapter is further amended in Code Section 20-2-2068.1, relating to charter school funding, by revising subsections (c) and (c.3) as follows:
"(c) In addition to the earnings set out in subsection (b) of this Code section, local revenue shall be allocated to a local charter school on the same basis as for any local school in the local school system; provided, however, that the calculation of such allocation of local revenue shall be adjusted at least semiannually based upon collected local revenues. In the case of a start-up charter school, local revenue earnings shall be calculated as follows:
(1) Determine the total amount of state and local five mill share funds earned by students enrolled in the local start-up charter school as calculated by the Quality Basic Education Formula pursuant to Part 4 of Article 6 of this chapter including any funds for psychologists and school social workers but excluding 5 percent of system-wide funds for central administration and excluding any categorical grants not applicable to the charter school; (2) Determine the total amount of state and local five mill share funds earned by all students in the public schools of the local school system, including any charter schools that receive local revenue, as calculated by the Quality Basic Education Formula but excluding categorical grants and other non-QBE formula grants;

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(3) Divide the amount obtained in paragraph (1) of this subsection by the amount obtained in paragraph (2) of this subsection; and (4) Multiply the quotient obtained in paragraph (3) of this subsection by the school system's local revenue. The product obtained in paragraph (4) of this subsection shall be the amount of local funds to be distributed to the local start-up charter school by the local board; provided, however, that nothing in this subsection shall preclude a charter petitioner and a local board of education from specifying in the charter a greater amount of local funds to be provided by the local board to the local start-up charter school if agreed upon by all parties to the charter. Local funds so earned shall be distributed to the local start-up charter school by the local board. Where feasible and where services are provided, funds for construction projects shall also be distributed to the local start-up charter school as earned. In all other fiscal matters, including applicable federal allotments, the local board shall treat the local start-up charter school no less favorably than other local schools located within the applicable school system and shall calculate and distribute the funding for the start-up charter school on the basis of its actual or projected enrollment in the current school year according to an enrollment counting procedure or projection method stipulated in the terms of the charter. The local school system shall distribute to each local charter school the proportionate amount of federal funds for which such local charter school is eligible under each federal program, including, but not limited to, funds earned pursuant to Title I, Title II, and Title III of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act and pursuant to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; provided, however, that a local charter school and a local board of education may mutually collaborate and agree upon specific ways for some or all of the charter school's proportionate amount of federal funds to be provided by the local school system through in-kind services, with the terms of such mutual agreement to be included in the charter. Local charter schools shall use any federal funds received pursuant to this subsection for the purposes of the federal program for which they were earned." "(c.3)(1) Each local board of education that has one or more local charter schools shall provide each local charter school with a preliminary annual allotment sheet itemizing the preliminary calculation of state, local, and federal allocations to be provided by the local school system to the local charter school for the upcoming fiscal year not later than 45 calendar days after the local school system receives its preliminary annual allotment sheet from the Department of Education. (2) The local board of education shall publish in a prominent location on its website the calculation of earnings to each local charter school made pursuant to subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this Code section, including federal funds received by each local charter school. Such calculations shall be published as soon as practicable prior to the distribution of funds to the local charter school by the local board, and no later than October 1 of each year, and shall be updated:

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(A) Upon receipt of any additional federal funds received pursuant to state reallocation of federal funds and distributed to local charter schools; and (B) At least semiannually based upon collected local revenues. Such calculations may be published in conjunction with the financial and transparency information required to be published by local boards of education pursuant to Part 3B of Article 2 of Chapter 14 of Title 20. In the event that the Department of Education makes such calculations available on its website, a local board of education may post a link in a prominent location on its website to the Department of Education's web page which contains such calculations to comply with this subsection. (3) In the event that the local board of education determines that an adjustment to the allocation for a local charter school is necessary, including, but not limited to, adjustments as provided for in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of this subsection, the local board of education shall provide the local charter school with 30 days' notice before the allocation is adjusted, shall provide an amended itemized allotment sheet to the local charter school, and shall publish the amended itemized allotment sheet in a prominent location on its website."

SECTION 4. Said chapter is further amended in Article 31, the "Charter Schools Act of 1998," by repealing Code Section 20-2-2076, relating to annual report on state chartered special schools that offer virtual instruction, requirements, and publication on website.

SECTION 5. Said chapter is further amended in Article 31A, relating to state charter schools, by repealing Code Section 20-2-2093, relating to annual report on state charter schools that offer virtual instruction, minimum requirements, and publication on website.

SECTION 6. Said chapter is further amended in Code Section 20-2-2131, relating to enrollment of students in school to which not originally assigned, procedure, annual notification, and exception, by revising subsection (e) as follows:
"(e) This Code section shall not apply to charter schools; provided, however, that each local board of education shall adopt a universal, streamlined transfer process that allows for transfers pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection (d) of Code Section 20-2-2066."

SECTION 7. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES GAME AND FISH WATERS OF THE STATE, PORTS, AND WATERCRAFT DELAYS EARLIEST EFFECTIVE
DATE FOR CERTAIN RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR WHICH CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS MAY BE ESTABLISHED; SETS CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS
FOR WEAPONS USED FOR HUNTING MIGRATORY GAME BIRDS; REPEAL CREEL AND POSSESSION LIMITS OF CERTAIN BASS SPECIES.

No. 770 (House Bill No. 1233).

AN ACT

To amend Article 1 of Chapter 2 of Title 12, Title 27, and Article 1 of Chapter 7 of Title 52 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions of the Department of Natural Resources, game and fish, and general provisions of the registration, operation, and sale of watercraft, respectively, so as to delay the earliest effective date for certain rules and regulations for which criminal violations may be established; to set certain requirements for weapons used for hunting migratory game birds; to repeal creel and possession limits of certain bass species; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Article 1 of Chapter 2 of Title 12 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions of the Department of Natural Resources, is amended by revising paragraph (5) of subsection (c) of Code Section 12-2-2, relating to the Environmental Protection Division, as follows:
"(5) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, for purposes of establishing criminal violations of the standards, rules, and regulations promulgated by the Board of Natural Resources as provided in this title, the term 'standards, rules, and regulations' shall mean those standards, rules, and regulations of the Board of Natural Resources in force and effect on January 1, 2022."

SECTION 2. Title 27 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to game and fish, is amended in Chapter 1, relating to general provisions, by revising Code Section 27-1-39, relating to the rules and regulations used to establish criminal violations, as follows:
"27-1-39. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, for purposes of establishing criminal violations of the rules and regulations promulgated by the Board of Natural Resources as

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provided in this title, the term 'rules and regulations' means those rules and regulations of the Board of Natural Resources in force and effect on January 1, 2022."

SECTION 3. Said title is further amended in Article 1 of Chapter 2, relating to hunting, trapping, or fishing, by revising subsection (c) of Code Section 27-2-6, relating to Georgia waterfowl and migratory bird stamps, as follows:
"(c) It shall be unlawful for any person who has attained the age of 16 years to hunt migratory game birds unless such person has in his or her possession a Georgia waterfowl and migratory bird stamp in addition to the required hunting license; provided, however, that a Georgia waterfowl and migratory bird stamp or a landowner Georgia waterfowl and migratory bird stamp shall be required for any resident of this state to hunt migratory birds on premises owned by him or her or his or her immediate family."

SECTION 4. Said title is further amended in Part 1 of Article 1 of Chapter 3, relating to general provisions of hunting, by revising paragraph (4) of subsection (a) of Code Section 27-3-4, relating to legal weapons for hunting wildlife generally, as follows:
"(4) Weapons for hunting small game shall be limited to shotguns with shot shell size of no greater than 3 1/2 inches in length with No. 2 lead shot or smaller or federally approved nontoxic shot size of F or smaller shot, .22 caliber or smaller rimfire firearms, air rifles, muzzleloading firearms, longbows, recurve bows, crossbows, and compound bows; provided, however, that in addition to the weapons listed in this paragraph, any center-fire firearm of .17 caliber or larger may be used for hunting fox and bobcat. For hunting migratory game birds, shotguns are limited to a capacity of not more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined. Further, the plug shall be of a single piece incapable of being removed through the loading end of the magazine. Nothing contained in this paragraph shall permit the taking of protected species;"

SECTION 5. Said title is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 27-4-10, relating to creel and possession limits and size restrictions, as follows:
"(a) It shall be unlawful to take in one day or to possess at any one time, except at a commercial storage facility or at one's place of abode, more than the creel and possession limits established by the board for that fish species; provided, however, that it shall be illegal to possess more than a total of 50 individuals of all fresh water species named in this Code section. It shall be unlawful to take from the waters of this state or to possess any fish species larger or smaller or in numbers greater than the limits established by the board in accordance with this Code section. The board shall establish creel and possession limits which shall be no greater than the following limits and shall establish sizes of fish species within the following ranges which may not be taken:

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Species
(1) Genus micropterus (black bass) (2) Mountain trout (3) White bass (4) Striped bass (5) Striped white bass
hybrids (6) Any one or combination
of the species of bream or sunfish (7) Walleye (8) Sauger (9) Chain pickerel (10) Grass pickerel (11) Redfin pickerel (12) Black crappie (13) White crappie (14) American shad (15) Hickory shad (16) Amberjack (17) Atlantic croaker (18) Atlantic sturgeon (19) Black drum (20) Black sea bass (21) Blue marlin

Ranges of Sizes Within Which Fish May Not Be Taken
0 -- 24 inches
0 -- 24 inches 0 -- 36 inches 0 -- 36 inches 0 -- 36 inches
0 -- 10 inches
0 -- 24 inches 0 -- 24 inches 0 -- 24 inches 0 -- 12 inches 0 -- 12 inches 0 -- 14 inches 0 -- 14 inches 0 -- 30 inches 0 -- 24 inches 0 -- 50 inches 0 -- 10 inches 0 -- 86 inches 0 -- 36 inches 0 -- 15 inches

Maximum Daily Creel And
Possession Limit 10
8 15 15 15
50
15 15 15 15 15 30 30 8 8 5 25
1 15 15 3

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(22) Bluefish (23) Cobia (24) Dolphin (25) Flounder (Paralicthys
spp.) (26) Gag grouper (27) King mackerel (28) Red drum (29) Red porgy (30) Red snapper (31) Sailfish (32) Sand tiger shark (33) Sharks (34) Sheepshead (35) Small sharks composite
(Atlantic sharpnose, bonnethead, and spiny dogfish) (36) Spanish mackerel (37) Spot (38) Spotted sea trout (39) Tarpon (40) Tripletail (41) Weakfish (42) White marlin

0 -- 20 inches 0 -- 40 inches 0 -- 24 inches 0 -- 15 inches
0 -- 25 inches 0 -- 36 inches 0 -- 36 inches 0 -- 20 inches 0 -- 25 inches
0 -- 140 inches 0 -- 120 inches 0 -- 20 inches 0 -- 54 inches
0 -- 20 inches 0 -- 10 inches 0 -- 25 inches 0 -- 90 inches 0 -- 25 inches 0 -- 15 inches

311 15 5 15 15
5 5 5 10 5 3 1 2 15 4
20 25 15 1 5 15 3 "

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SECTION 6. Article 1 of Chapter 7 of Title 52 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions of the registration, operation, and sale of watercraft, is amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 52-7-26, relating to penalties, as follows:
"(a) Except as otherwise provided in this article, any person who violates this article or any rule or regulation promulgated hereunder shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. For purposes of establishing criminal violations of the rules and regulations promulgated by the board as provided in this article, the term 'rules and regulations' means those rules and regulations of the board in force and effect on January 1, 2022."

SECTION 7. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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HEALTH REQUIRES POSTING OF STATISTICAL REPORTS CONTAINING DATA RELATING TO STATE HEALTH PLANS ON DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY HEALTH WEBSITE.

No. 771 (House Bill No. 1276).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 2 of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Department of Community Health, so as to require that statistical reports containing data relating to state health plans be posted on the department website; to provide for a definition; to provide for content of the reports; to provide for statutory construction; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 2 of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Department of Community Health, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"31-2-17. (a) As used in this Code section, the term 'state health plan' means:
(1) Medical assistance program provided pursuant to Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49; (2) PeachCare for Kids Program provided pursuant to Article 13 of Chapter 5 of Title 49;

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(3) The state employees' health insurance plan established pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 18 of Title 45; (4) The health insurance plan for public school teachers established pursuant to Subpart 2 of Part 6 of Article 17 of Chapter 2 of Title 20; and (5) The health insurance plan for public school employees established pursuant to Subpart 3 of Part 6 of Article 17 of Chapter 2 of Title 20. (b) On and after July 1, 2022, the department shall post in a prominent location on the department website a statistical report or reports containing data relating to the state health plans administered by the department. Such reports shall be updated and posted no less than biannually and shall contain, but shall not be limited to, the following metrics: (1) The number of, type of, and changes in enrolled providers; (2) County-level data on primary care providers enrolled per 1,000 people and indicating which counties fall below defined benchmarks; (3) Data on hospital utilization and costs, including but not limited to, the number of inpatient admissions, average length of stay, readmission rate, emergency department utilization information, including diagnosis and non-emergent utilization, and amounts paid per facility, including plan paid amounts or net payment per admission; (4) Membership or beneficiary enrollment data including demographic and population based reporting on common disease states; (5) Data on prescription drug spending, including data on aggregate payment amounts for the ten most frequently prescribed medications and the ten most costly medications, as well as historical data related to the volume and cost of such medications, whether brand name drug or generic brand drug utilization, and costs; (6) Financial results by aid category or plan group, as applicable, including per-member per-month cost figures for low-income Medicaid, PeachCare for Kids, and fee-for-service program categories; and (7) Long-term care data, including waiver services participation and net payments by category of service. (c) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to require the inclusion in the report or reports posted pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section of any information which would violate the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, P.L. 104-191, or which is exempt from disclosure under the provisions of Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50, relating to open records."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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EDUCATION PROHIBITS STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN 4-H SPONSORED ACTIVITIES OR PROGRAMS FROM BEING COUNTED AS ABSENT FROM SCHOOL UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS.

No. 772 (House Bill No. 1292).

AN ACT

To amend Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to education, so as to prohibit students who participate in 4-H sponsored activities or programs from being counted as absent from school, subject to certain conditions; to provide for such conditions; to provide for related matters; to provide for a definition; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to education, is amended in Subpart 2 of Part 1 of Article 16 of Chapter 2, relating to compulsory attendance, by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"20-2-692.3. (a) A student who participates in an activity or program sponsored by 4-H shall be credited as present by the school in which enrolled in the same manner as an educational field trip, and such participation in an activity or program sponsored by 4-H shall not be counted as an absence, either excused or unexcused, for any day, portion of a day, or days missed from school. (b) Upon request from a school principal or the principal's designee, a 4-H representative shall provide documentation as proof of a student's participation in an activity or program sponsored by 4-H. As used in this subsection, the term '4-H representative' means an individual officially recognized or designated by the University of Georgia Extension 4-H Program as a 4-H professional or a 4-H adult volunteer."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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INSURANCE ALLOWS SPONSOR OF HEALTH BENEFIT PLAN TO CONSENT ON BEHALF OF ENROLLEE TO ELECTRONIC DELIVERY OF RELATED COMMUNICATIONS AND HEALTH INSURANCE IDENTIFICATION CARD FOR PLAN; ALLOWS ENROLLEE OPPORTUNITY TO REFUSE TO AGREE TO RECEIVE MAILINGS ELECTRONICALLY.

No. 773 (House Bill No. 1308).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 24 of Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance generally, so as to allow a plan sponsor of a health benefit plan to consent on behalf of an enrollee to the electronic delivery of all communications related to the plan and the health insurance identification card for such plan; to allow the enrollee an opportunity to refuse to agree to receive mailings electronically; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 24 of Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance generally, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"33-24-14.1. (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Health benefit plan' means a policy, contract, certificate, or agreement entered into, offered by, or issued by an insurer to provide, deliver, arrange for, pay for, or reimburse any of the costs of healthcare services, including a vision or dental benefit plan. (2) 'Plan sponsor' means a person, other than a regulated entity, who establishes, adopts, or maintains a health benefit plan that covers residents of this state, including a plan established, adopted, or maintained by an employer or jointly by an employer and one or more employee organizations, an association, a committee, a joint board of trustees, or any similar group of representatives who establish, adopt, or maintain a plan. (b) The plan sponsor of a health benefit plan may, on behalf of a party enrolled in the plan, provide the consent to the mailing of all communications related to the plan by electronic means otherwise required by paragraph (2) of subsection (d) of Code Section 33-24-14 and to the electronic delivery of any health insurance identification card required by Code Section 33-24-57.1. (c) Before consenting on behalf of a party, a plan sponsor must confirm that the party routinely uses electronic communications during the normal course of employment.

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(d) Before providing delivery by electronic means, the insurer for the health benefit plan must:
(1) Provide the party an opportunity to opt out of delivery by electronic means; and (2) Document that the remaining conditions under paragraphs (4) through (9) of subsection (d) of Code Section 33-24-14 are satisfied."

SECTION 2. This Act shall become effective July 1, 2022, and shall apply to all policies or contracts issued, delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state on or after such date.

SECTION 3. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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REVENUE AND TAXATION INCORPORATES CERTAIN FEDERAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE PROVISIONS; REVISES PROVISIONS FOR GRANTING EXTENSIONS FOR RETURNS.

No. 774 (House Bill No. 1320).

AN ACT

To amend Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to revenue and taxation, so as to revise the terms "Internal Revenue Code" and "Internal Revenue Code of 1986" and thereby incorporate certain provisions of the federal law into Georgia law; to revise provisions for granting the extension of time for returns; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to revenue and taxation, is amended by revising paragraph (14) of Code Section 48-1-2, relating to definitions, as follows:
"(14) 'Internal Revenue Code' or 'Internal Revenue Code of 1986' means for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, the provisions of the United States Internal

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Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, provided for in federal law enacted on or before January 1, 2022, except that Section 108(i), Section 163(e)(5)(F), Section 168(b)(3)(I), Section 168(e)(3)(B)(vii), Section 168(e)(3)(E)(ix), Section 168(e)(8), Section 168(k), Section 168(m), Section 168(n), Section 179(d)(1)(B)(ii), Section 179(f), Section 199, Section 381(c)(20), Section 382(d)(3), Section 810(b)(4), Section 1400L, Section 1400N(d)(1), Section 1400N(f), Section 1400N(j), Section 1400N(k), and Section 1400N(o) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, shall be treated as if they were not in effect, and except that Section 168(e)(7), Section 172(b)(1)(F), and Section 172(i)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, shall be treated as they were in effect before the 2008 enactment of federal Public Law 110-343, and except that Section 163(i)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, shall be treated as it was in effect before the 2009 enactment of federal Public Law 111-5, and except that Section 13(e)(4) of 2009 federal Public Law 111-92 shall be treated as if it was not in effect, and except that Section 118, Section 163(j), and Section 382(k)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, shall be treated as they were in effect before the 2017 enactment of federal Public Law 115-97; provided, however, that all provisions in federal Public Law 117-58 (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) that change or affect in any manner Section 118 shall be treated as if they were in effect, and except that all provisions in federal Public Law 116-136 (CARES Act) that change or affect in any manner Section 172 and Section 461(l) shall be treated as if they were not in effect, and except that all provisions in federal Public Law 117-2 (American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) that change or affect in any manner Section 461(l) shall be treated as if they were not in effect, and except that the limitations provided in Section 179(b)(1) shall be $250,000.00 for tax years beginning in 2010, shall be $250,000.00 for tax years beginning in 2011, shall be $250,000.00 for tax years beginning in 2012, shall be $250,000.00 for tax years beginning in 2013, and shall be $500,000.00 for tax years beginning in 2014, and except that the limitations provided in Section 179(b)(2) shall be $800,000.00 for tax years beginning in 2010, shall be $800,000.00 for tax years beginning in 2011, shall be $800,000.00 for tax years beginning in 2012, shall be $800,000.00 for tax years beginning in 2013, and shall be $2 million for tax years beginning in 2014, and provided that Section 1106 of federal Public Law 112-95 as amended by federal Public Law 113-243 shall be treated as if it is in effect, except the phrase 'Code Section 48-2-35 (or, if later, November 15, 2015)' shall be substituted for the phrase 'section 6511(a) of such Code (or, if later, April 15, 2015),' and notwithstanding any other provision in this title, no interest shall be refunded with respect to any claim for refund filed pursuant to Section 1106 of federal Public Law 112-95, and provided that subsection (b) of Section 3 of federal Public Law 114-292 shall be treated as if it is in effect, except the phrase 'Code Section 48-2-35' shall be substituted for the phrase 'section 6511(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986' and the phrase 'such section' shall be substituted for the phrase 'such subsection.' In the event a reference is made in this title to the Internal Revenue Code or the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 as

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it existed on a specific date prior to January 1, 2022, the term means the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code or the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 as it existed on the prior date. Unless otherwise provided in this title, any term used in this title shall have the same meaning as when used in a comparable provision or context in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, which were as of January 1, 2022, enacted into law but not yet effective shall become effective for purposes of Georgia taxation on the same dates upon which they become effective for federal tax purposes."

SECTION 2. Said title is further amended by revising subsection (b) of Code Section 48-2-36, relating to extension of time for returns, as follows:
"(b) Notwithstanding any other provision in the laws of this state, in the case of a taxpayer determined by the commissioner to be affected by a Federally declared disaster, as such term is defined in Internal Revenue Code Section 165(i)(5), a fire with respect to which assistance is provided under Section 420 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, or a terroristic or military action, as defined in Internal Revenue Code Section 692(c)(2), the commissioner may specify a period of up to one year that may be disregarded in determining, under the laws of this state, in respect of any tax liability, fee liability, or other liability of such taxpayer:
(1) Whether any of the actions described in subsection (c) of this Code section were performed within the time prescribed therefor, determined without regard to extension under any other provision of the laws of this state for periods after the date, as determined by the commissioner, of such disaster or action; (2) The amount of any interest, penalty, or addition to the taxes, fees, or other liability for periods after the date, as determined by the commissioner, of such disaster or action; and (3) The amount of any refund."

SECTION 3. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval. Section 1 of this Act shall be applicable to all taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2021.

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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COURTS CLERKS OF SUPERIOR COURT; CONSTRUCTION OF LAW.

No. 775 (House Bill No. 1346).

AN ACT

To amend Article 2 of Chapter 6 of Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to clerks of superior courts, so as to provide for construction; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Article 2 of Chapter 6 of Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to clerks of superior courts, is amended by revising Code Section 15-6-52, relating to practice of law restricted, as follows:
"15-6-52. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, the clerks of the superior courts are prohibited from practicing law in their own or another's name, as a partner or otherwise, in any court except in their own case. (b) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to limit in any way the ability of a clerk of a superior court to serve as or offer advice in his or her role as a judge advocate or in any other military role in an active duty or reserve component of the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard, United States Air Force, United States Space Force, United States National Guard, Georgia National Guard, Georgia Air National Guard, Georgia Naval Militia, the Georgia State Defense Force, or in the National Guard or Air National Guard of any state or territory of the United States."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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HEALTH LEAD POISONING PREVENTION; CONFORMS PROVISIONS TO NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED GUIDELINES; REVISES PROVISIONS RELATING TO ABATEMENT OF LEAD POISONING HAZARDS; EXPANDS WRITTEN ADVERTISEMENT REQUIREMENTS AND APPLICABILITY.

No. 776 (House Bill No. 1355).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 41 of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to lead poisoning prevention, so as to update provisions to comport with nationally recognized guidelines; to revise definitions; to revise provisions relating to abatement of lead poisoning hazards; to expand written advisement requirements; to expand applicability of provisions; to provide for related matters; to provide for a funding contingency; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 41 of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to lead poisoning prevention, is amended in Code Section 31-41-4, relating to the establishment of lead-based paint hazard reduction program, training programs, licensure and certification requirements, written information on renovation, and record keeping requirements, by revising paragraph (3) of subsection (c) as follows:
"(3) A person who is employed by a state or county health department or state or federal agency to conduct lead investigations to determine the sources of lead poisonings, as determined by the department, shall be subject to licensing pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection as a lead inspector or lead risk assessor but shall not be required to pay any fees as otherwise required under this chapter or under rules and regulations promulgated by the board under this chapter."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended in Code Section 31-41-11, relating to legislative findings regarding the "Childhood Lead Exposure Control Act," by revising subsection (a) as follows:
"(a) The General Assembly finds that childhood lead poisoning prevention activities are currently carried out within the Environmental Health, Epidemiology, and Laboratory sections of the Department of Public Health. These activities include lead poisoning case identification, laboratory support, identification of exposure sources, environmental management, and lead hazard reduction. Childhood lead poisoning cases are identified

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through screening tests conducted by public health clinics and private health care providers and by laboratory reporting of test results. In 1994, lead poisoning was established as a notifiable condition and made part of the Notifiable Disease reporting system."

SECTION 3. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 31-41-12, relating to definitions regarding the "Childhood Lead Exposure Control Act," as follows:
"31-41-12. As used in this article, the term:
(1) 'Confirmed lead poisoning' means a confirmed concentration of lead equal to or greater than 3.5 micrograms of lead per deciliter using a single venous blood test or two capillary blood tests taken within 12 weeks of each other. (2) 'Day-care facility' means a structure or structures used as a school, nursery, child care center, clinic, treatment center, or other facility serving the needs of children under six years of age including the grounds, any outbuildings, or other structures appurtenant to the facility. (3) 'Department' means the Department of Public Health. (4) 'Dwelling,' 'dwelling unit,' or 'residential housing unit' means the interior or exterior of a structure, all or part of which is designed or used for human habitation. (5) 'Elevated blood lead level' means a blood lead concentration of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter or greater in any test. (5.1) 'Lead hazard abatement' means the removal and correction, in a manner no more strict than what is determined to be absolutely necessary, of a specifically identified hazard which causes a confirmed lead poisoning. (6) 'Lead poisoning hazard' means the presence of readily accessible or mouthable lead-bearing substances measuring 1.0 milligram per square centimeter or greater by X-ray fluorescence or 0.5 percent or greater by chemical analysis; 10 micrograms per square foot or greater for dust on floors; 100 micrograms per square foot or greater for dust on window sills; or 400 parts per million in bare soil in outdoor areas of a dwelling, dwelling unit, school, or day-care facility used by children as play areas or an average of 1,200 parts per million in bare soil in other outdoor areas of the dwelling, dwelling unit, school, or day-care facility not used for children's play. (7) 'Lead safe housing' is housing that was built since 1978 or that has been tested by a person who has been licensed or certified by the Board of Natural Resources to perform such testing and either found to have no lead-based paint hazards within the meaning of Title X of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, 14 U.S.C. Code Section 185(b)(15) or housing that has been found to meet the requirements of the maintenance standard. (8) 'Maintenance standard' means the following:
(A) Repairing and repainting areas of deteriorated paint inside a residential housing unit;

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(B) Cleaning the interior of the unit to a standard of cleaning which is at least customary in the local area at lease origination or as part of the abatement plan, whichever is first, to remove dust that constitutes a lead poisoning hazard; (C) Adjusting doors and windows to minimize friction or impact on surfaces; (D) Subject to the occupant's approval, appropriately cleaning any carpets at lease origination or as part of the abatement plan, whichever is first; (E) Taking such steps as are necessary to ensure that all interior surfaces on which dust might collect are readily cleanable; and (F) Providing the occupant or occupants all information required to be provided under the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 and amendments thereto. (9) 'Managing agent' means any person who has charge, care, or control of a building or part thereof in which dwelling units or rooming units are leased. (10) 'Mouthable lead-bearing substance' means any substance on surfaces or fixtures five feet or less from the floor or ground that form a protruding corner or similar edge, protrude one-half inch or more from a flat wall surface, or are freestanding and contain lead contaminated dust at a level that constitutes a lead poisoning hazard. Mouthable surfaces or fixtures include vinyl miniblinds, doors, door jambs, stairs, stair rails, windows, window sills, and baseboards. (11) 'Readily accessible lead-bearing substance' means any substance containing lead at a level that constitutes a lead poisoning hazard which can be ingested or inhaled by a child under six years of age. Readily accessible substances include deteriorated paint that is peeling, chipping, cracking, flaking, or blistering to the extent that the paint has separated from the substrate. Readily accessible substances also include paint that is chalking. (12) 'Regularly visits' means presence at a dwelling, dwelling unit, school, or day-care facility for at least two days a week for more than three hours per day. (13) 'Supplemental address' means a dwelling, dwelling unit, school, or day-care facility where a child with an elevated blood lead level or a confirmed lead poisoning regularly visits or attends. Supplemental address also means a dwelling, school, or day-care facility where a child resided, regularly visited, or attended within the six months immediately preceding the determination of an elevated blood lead level or a confirmed lead poisoning."

SECTION 4. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 31-41-14, relating to abatement of lead poisoning hazard, as follows:
"31-41-14. (a) Upon determination that a child less than six years of age has a confirmed lead poisoning and that the child resides in, attends, or regularly visits a dwelling, dwelling unit, school, or day-care facility containing lead poisoning hazards, the department shall require

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a lead hazard abatement. The department shall also require a lead hazard abatement at the supplemental addresses of a child less than six years of age with a confirmed lead poisoning. Upon confirming that all other potential sources of the confirmed lead poisoning have tested negative and making every reasonable effort to obtain consent from such dwelling's owner or managing agent to comply with this Code section, the department shall solicit a court order from the superior court with jurisdiction over such dwelling to order the dwelling's owner to perform a lead hazard abatement. (b) When abatement is required under subsection (a) of this Code section, the owner or managing agent shall submit a written lead poisoning hazard abatement plan to the department within 30 days of receipt of the lead poisoning hazard notification and shall obtain written approval of the plan prior to initiating abatement. The lead poisoning hazard abatement plan shall comply with subsection (g) of this Code section. The written plan shall be deemed approved if the department does not respond within 30 days of receipt. (c) If the abatement plan submitted fails to meet the requirements of this Code section, the department shall issue an abatement order requiring submission of a modified abatement plan. The order shall indicate the modifications which shall be made to the abatement plan and the date by which the plan as modified shall be submitted to the department. (d) If the owner or managing agent does not submit an abatement plan within 30 days, the department shall issue an abatement order requiring submission of an abatement plan within five days of receipt of the order. (e) The owner or managing agent shall notify the department and the occupants of the dates of abatement activities at least three days prior to the commencement of abatement activities. (f) Abatement shall be completed within 60 days of the department's approval of the abatement plan. If the abatement activities are not completed within 60 days as required, the department shall issue an order requiring completion of abatement activities. An owner or managing agent may apply to the department for an extension of the deadline for abatement. The department may issue an order extending the deadline for 30 days upon proper written application by the owner or managing agent. (g) All lead-containing waste and residue of the abatement of lead shall be removed and disposed of by the person performing the abatement in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and rules. (h) The department shall verify by clearance inspection that the approved abatement plan has been completed. The department may also require residual lead dust monitoring. (i) Removal or exclusion of children from the dwelling, school, or day-care facility shall not constitute abatement if the property continues to be used as a dwelling, school, or day-care facility. If the property will not be used as a dwelling, school, or day-care facility, the property owner shall submit a notarized document to the department certifying that the structure or structures will no longer be used as a dwelling, school, or day-care facility."

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SECTION 5. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 31-41-17, relating to advice regarding cleaning activities in homes occupied by children with elevated blood lead levels, as follows:
"31-41-17. In any residential housing unit, day-care facility, or school occupied by a child less than six years old who has an elevated blood lead level, the department shall advise, in writing, the owner or managing agent and the child's parents or legal guardian as to the importance of carrying out routine cleaning activities in the units they occupy, own, or manage. Such cleaning activities shall include:
(1) Wiping clean all window sills with a damp cloth or sponge at least weekly; (2) Regularly washing all surfaces accessible to the child; (3) In the case of a leased residential housing unit, identifying any deteriorated paint in the unit and notifying the owner or managing agent of such conditions within 72 hours of discovery; and (4) Identifying and understanding potential lead poisoning hazards in the environment of each child under the age of six in the housing unit, including vinyl miniblinds, playground equipment, soil, and painted surfaces, and taking steps to prevent the child from ingesting lead, such as encouraging the child to wash his or her face and hands frequently and especially after playing outdoors."

SECTION 6. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 31-41-18, relating to the application of the "Childhood Lead Exposure Control Act," as follows:
"31-41-18. This article shall only apply to:
(1) Owners of residential rental property that accept compensation for the use of residential property by another; (2) Landlords that accept compensation for the use of residential property by another; (3) Day-care facilities; and (4) Schools."

SECTION 7. This Act shall become effective only upon the effective date of a specific appropriation of funds for purposes of this Act, as expressed in a line item making specific reference to this Act in a General Appropriations Act enacted by the General Assembly.

SECTION 8. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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FIRE PROTECTION AND SAFETY PUBLIC UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION REVISES "GEORGIA UTILITY FACILITY PROTECTION ACT."

No. 777 (House Bill No. 1372).

AN ACT

To amend Title 25 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to fire protection and safety, so as to revise the provisions and short title of Chapter 9, the "Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act"; to enhance the processes for locate requests and to require that 9-1-1 be contacted if an excavator damages a gas or hazardous liquid pipeline; to change and provide for certain definitions; to provide for certain procedures in extraordinary circumstances; to provide limitations on the recovery of costs of damages; to establish a statute of limitations on enforcement; to amend Code Section 46-3-34, relating to utilities protection center, funding of activities, notice of work delay, and responsibility for completing safety requirements, so as to correct a cross-reference; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Title 25 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to fire protection and safety, is amended by revising Chapter 9, relating to blasting or excavating near certain facilities, as follows:

"CHAPTER 9

25-9-1. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the 'Georgia Underground Facility Protection Act.'

25-9-2. The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public from physical harm, prevent injury to persons and property, and prevent interruptions of service resulting from damage to underground facilities and sewer laterals caused by blasting or excavating operations by providing a method whereby the location of underground facilities and sewer laterals will be made known to persons planning to engage in blasting or excavating operations so that such persons may observe proper precautions with respect to such underground facilities and sewer laterals.

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25-9-3. As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) 'Abandoned underground facility' means an underground facility taken out of service by a facility owner or operator on or after January 1, 2001. (2) 'Appropriate notice' means a notice period that:
(A) Is associated with an effective date; (B) Begins at 7:00 A.M. on the first business day following receipt by the UPC of a locate request submitted in compliance with Code Section 25-9-6; and (C) Ends at 7:00 A.M. on the business day immediately following a period of time that is not:
(i) Less than two business days; or (ii) More than eight business days. (3) 'Betterments' means any upgrading of the underground facility being repaired made solely for the benefit of and at the election of the facility owner or operator and not attributable to the damage. (4) 'Blasting' means any operation by which the level or grade of land is changed or by which earth, rock, buildings, structures, or other masses or materials are rended, torn, demolished, moved, or removed by the detonation of dynamite or any other explosive agent. (5) 'Business days' means Monday through Friday, excluding the following holidays: New Year's Day, Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Any such holiday that falls on a Saturday shall be observed on the preceding Friday. Any such holiday that falls on a Sunday shall be observed on the following Monday. If Christmas Eve falls on a Friday, it shall be observed on the preceding Thursday. If Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, it shall be observed on the following Tuesday. (6) 'Business hours' means the time from 7:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. local time on business days. (7) 'Commission' means the Public Service Commission. (8) 'Corporation' means any corporation; municipal corporation; county; authority; joint-stock company; partnership; association; business trust; cooperative; organized group of persons, whether incorporated or not; or receiver or receivers or trustee or trustees of any of the foregoing. (9) 'Damage' means any impact or exposure that results in the need to repair an underground facility or sewer lateral due to the weakening or the partial or complete destruction of the facility or sewer lateral including, but not limited to, the protective coating, lateral support, cathodic protection, or the housing for the line, device, sewer lateral, or facility.

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(10) 'Design locate request' means a communication to the UPC in which a request for locating existing underground facilities for bidding, predesign, or advance planning purposes is made. (11) 'Designate' means to stake or mark on the surface of the tract or parcel of land the location of an underground facility or sewer lateral. (12) 'Effective date' means the calendar day on which blasting or excavating is anticipated to begin as indicated by the excavator in the locate request. (13) 'Emergency' means a sudden or unforeseen occurrence involving a clear and imminent danger to life, health, or property; the interruption of underground services; or repairs to transportation facilities that require immediate action. (14) 'Emergency 9-1-1 call' means using the digits, address, internet protocol address, or other information to access or initiate contact with a public safety answering point.
(15)(A) 'Excavating' means any operation using mechanized equipment or explosives to move earth, rock, or other material below existing grade. Such term shall include, but shall not be limited to, augering, blasting, boring, digging, ditching, dredging, drilling, driving-in, grading, plowing-in, ripping, scraping, trenching, and tunneling. (B) Such term shall not include:
(i) Farming activities; (ii) Milling or pavement repair that does not exceed the depth of the existing pavement or 12 inches, whichever is less; or (iii) Routine road maintenance or railroad maintenance activities carried out by road maintenance or railroad employees or contractors, provided that such activities:
(I) Occur entirely within the right of way of a public road, street, railroad, or highway of the state; (II) Are carried out with reasonable care so as to protect any underground facilities and sewer laterals placed in the right of way by permit; are carried out within the limits of any original excavation on the traveled way, shoulders, or drainage ditches of a public road, street, railroad, or highway, and do not exceed 18 inches in depth below the grade existing prior to such activities; and (III) If involving the replacement of existing guard rails and sign posts, replace such guard rails and sign posts in their previous locations and at their previous depth. (16) 'Excavator' means any person engaged in blasting or excavating. (17) 'Extraordinary circumstances' means circumstances other than normal operating conditions which exist making it impractical or impossible for a facility owner or operator to comply with the provisions of this chapter. Such extraordinary circumstances may include, but shall not be limited to, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, ice and snow, and other acts of God. (18) 'Facility owner or operator' means any person or entity with the sole exception of a homeowner that owns, operates, or controls the operation of an underground facility.

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(19) 'Farming activities' means the tilling of the fields related to agricultural activities but shall not include other types of mechanized excavating on a farm. (20) 'Horizontal directional drilling' or 'HDD' means a type of trenchless excavation that uses guidable boring equipment to excavate in an essentially horizontal plane without disturbing or with minimal disturbance to the ground surface. (21) 'Large project' means an excavation that involves more work to locate underground facilities than can reasonably be completed within the requirements of subsection (a) of Code Section 25-9-7. (22) 'Local governing authority' means:
(A) A county, municipality, or local authority created by or pursuant to a general, local, or special Act of the General Assembly, or by the Constitution of the State of Georgia; and (B) Any local authority that is created or activated by an appropriate ordinance or resolution of the governing body of a county or municipality individually or jointly with other political subdivisions of this state. (23) 'Locate request' means a communication between an excavator and the UPC in which a request for designating underground facilities, sewer laterals, or both is processed. (24) 'Locator' means a person that is acting on behalf of facility owners and operators in designating the location of the underground facilities and sewer laterals of such owners and operators. (25) 'Mechanized excavating equipment' means all equipment powered by any motor, engine, or hydraulic or pneumatic device which is used for excavating. (26) 'Milling' means the process of grinding asphaltic concrete. (27) 'Minimally intrusive excavation methods' means methods of excavation that minimize the potential for damage to underground facilities and sewer laterals. Such term shall include, but shall not be limited to, air entrainment/vacuum extraction systems and water jet/vacuum excavation systems operated by qualified personnel and careful hand tool usage and other methods as determined by the commission. Such term shall not include the use of trenchless excavation. (28) 'Notice period' means the period of time during which the designation of underground facilities or sewer laterals, or both, is supposed to occur in accordance with this chapter. (29) 'Permanent marker' means a visible indication of the approximate location of an underground facility or sewer lateral that can reasonably be expected to remain in position for the life of the facility. Such term shall include, but shall not be limited to, sewer cleanouts; water meter boxes; and etching, cutting, or attaching medallions or other industry accepted surface markers to curbing, pavement, or other similar visible fixed surfaces. (30) 'Person' means an individual, firm, joint venture, partnership, association, local governing authority, state, or other governmental unit, authority, department, agency, or

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a corporation and shall include any trustee, receiver, assignee, employee, agent, or personal representative thereof. (31) 'Positive response information system' or 'PRIS' means the automated information system operated and maintained by the UPC at its location that allows excavators, locators, facility owners or operators, and other affected parties to determine the status of a locate request or a design locate request. (32) 'Public safety answering point' shall have the same meaning as provided in Code Section 46-5-122. (33) 'Routine road maintenance' means work that is planned and performed on a routine basis to maintain and preserve the condition of the public road system and includes routine road surface scraping, mowing grass, animal removal, cleaning of inlets and culverts, trash removal, striping and striping removal, and cutting of trees; however, stump removal shall be considered excavation. (34) 'Sewer lateral' means an individual customer service line which transports waste water from one or more building units to an underground sewer facility. (35) 'Sewer system owner or operator' means the owner or operator of a sewer system. Sewer systems shall be considered to extend to the connection to the customer's facilities. (36) 'Traffic control devices' means all electronic or electrically powered roadway signs, sign structures, or signals of a local governing authority or the Department of Transportation and all associated underground infrastructure on which the public relies for informational, regulatory, or warning messages concerning the public rights of way. (37) 'Traffic management system' means a network of traffic control devices, monitoring sensors, and personnel of a local governing authority or the Department of Transportation, with all associated communications and power services, including all system control and management centers. (38) 'Tolerance zone' means the width of the underground facility or sewer lateral plus 18 inches on either side of the outside edge of the underground facility or sewer lateral on a horizontal plane. (39) 'Trenchless excavation' means a method of excavation that uses boring equipment to excavate with minimal or no disturbance to the ground surface. Such term shall include HDD. (40) 'Underground facility' means an underground or submerged fiber, conductor, pipe, or structure used or installed for use in providing traffic control, traffic management, electric service, or communications service, or in carrying, providing, or gathering gas, oil or oil products, sewage, waste water, storm drainage, or water or other liquids. All underground facilities shall be considered to extend up to the connection to the customer's facilities. Such term shall not include sewer laterals or publicly or privately owned railroad facilities. (41) 'Unlocatable facility' means an underground facility that cannot be marked with reasonable accuracy using generally accepted techniques or equipment commonly used to designate underground facilities and sewer laterals. Such term shall include, but shall

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not be limited to, nonconductive underground facilities and sewer laterals and nonmetallic underground facilities that have no trace wires or records that indicate a specific location. (42) 'Utilities Protection Center' or 'UPC' means the corporation or other organization formed by facility owners or operators to provide a joint notification service for the purpose of receiving advance notification from persons planning to blast or excavate and distributing such notifications to its affected facility owner or operator members. (43) 'White lining' means marking the route of the excavation either electronically or with white paint, flags, stakes, or a combination of such methods to outline the dig site prior to notifying the UPC and before the locator arrives on the job.

25-9-4. (a) Any person may submit a design locate request to the UPC. Such design locate request shall:
(1) Describe the tract or parcel of land for which the design locate request has been submitted with sufficient particularity, as defined by policies developed and promulgated by the UPC, to enable the facility owner or operator to ascertain the precise tract or parcel of land involved; and (2) State the name, address, and telephone number of the person that has submitted the design locate request, as well as the name, address, and telephone number of any other person authorized to review any records subject to inspection as provided in paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of this Code section. (b) Within ten business days after a design locate request has been submitted to the UPC for a proposed project, the facility owner or operator shall respond to the person calling in the design locate request under the guidelines listed below: (1) For single address requests, designate or cause to be designated by a locator in accordance with Code Sections 25-9-7 and 25-9-9 the location of all underground facilities and sewer laterals within the area of the proposed excavation; or (2) For multiple address requests:
(A) Provide the person submitting the design locate request the best available description of all underground facilities and sewer laterals in the area of proposed excavation, which might include drawings of underground facilities and sewer laterals already built in the area, or other facility records that are maintained by the facility owner or operator; or (B) Allow the person submitting the design locate request or any other authorized person to inspect or copy the drawings or other records for all underground facilities and sewer laterals within the proposed area of excavation. (c) Upon responding using any of the methods provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, the facility owner or operator shall provide the response to the UPC in accordance with UPC procedures. (d) A design locate request shall not be used for excavation purposes.

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(e) A design locate request shall not be required as a condition for approving a utility permit application.

25-9-5. (a) Except as otherwise provided by subsection (b) of this Code section, all facility owners or operators operating or maintaining underground facilities within the state shall participate as members in and cooperate with the UPC. No duplicative center shall be established. The activities of the UPC shall be funded by all facility owners or operators. (b) Persons that install water and sewer facilities or that own such facilities until those facilities are accepted by a local governing authority or other entity are not required to participate as members of the UPC and shall not be considered facility owners or operators. All such persons shall install and maintain permanent markers identifying all water and sewer facilities at the time of the facility installation. Notwithstanding the above, all owners or operators of water and sewer facilities that provide service from such facilities shall be considered facility owners or operators and shall be members of the UPC. (c) All permanent markers other than sewer cleanouts, water meter boxes, or any other visible components of an underground facility that establish the exact location of the underground facility shall be placed accurately in accordance with Code Section 25-9-9 and shall be located within the public right of way. Sewer cleanouts, water meter boxes, or any other visible components of an underground facility that establish the exact location of the underground facility shall be located within ten feet of the public right of way to be considered a permanent marker. (d) The UPC shall maintain a list of the name, address, and telephone number of the office, department, or other source from or through which information as to the location of underground facilities of its participating facility owners or operators may be obtained during business hours on business days.

25-9-6. (a) No person shall commence, perform, or engage in blasting or in excavating with mechanized excavating equipment on any tract or parcel of land in any county in this state unless and until the person planning the blasting or excavating has submitted a locate request to the UPC that provides appropriate notice. Any person performing excavation is responsible for being aware of all information timely entered into the PRIS prior to the commencement of excavation. If, prior to the expiration of the appropriate notice period, all identified facility owners or operators have responded to the locate request, and if all such facility owners or operators have indicated that their facilities either are not in conflict or have been marked, then the person planning to perform blasting or excavating shall be authorized to commence work, subject to the other requirements of this Code section, without waiting until the end of the notice period. No appropriate notice shall be required for excavating where minimally intrusive excavation methods are used exclusively. Any

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locate request received by the UPC after business hours shall be deemed to have been received by the UPC the next business day. Such locate request shall:
(1) Describe the tract or parcel of land upon which the blasting or excavating is to take place with sufficient particularity, as defined by policies developed and promulgated by the UPC, to enable the facility owner or operator to ascertain the precise tract or parcel of land involved; (2) State the name, address, and telephone number of the person that will engage in the blasting or excavating; (3) Describe the type of blasting or excavating to be engaged in by the person; (4) Specify an effective date for the requested blasting or excavating and the duration of time in which such blasting or excavating is expected to take place; and (5) Provide appropriate notice. (b) In the event the location upon which the blasting or excavating is to take place cannot be described with sufficient particularity to enable the facility owner or operator to ascertain the precise tract or parcel involved, the person proposing the blasting or excavating shall mark the route or boundary of the site of the proposed blasting or excavating by means of white lining, as practical, or schedule an on-site meeting with the locator or facility owner or operator and inform the UPC, within a reasonable time, of the results of such meeting. The person marking a site using white lining shall comply with the rules and regulations of the Department of Transportation as to the use of such markings so as not to obstruct signs, pavement markings, pavement, or other safety devices. (c) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, no blasting or excavating undertaken pursuant to a locate request shall take place more than 30 calendar days after the effective date. In the event that the blasting or excavating that is the subject of a locate request submitted pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section will not be completed within 30 calendar days following the effective date of such locate request, an additional locate request with appropriate notice must be submitted to the UPC. Additional appropriate notices for an existing locate request shall not expand the tract or parcel of land upon which the blasting or excavation is to take place. (d) For emergencies, no blasting or excavating shall take place after 7:00 A.M. on the third business day after the locate request is submitted to the UPC. (e) Except for those persons submitting design locate requests, no person, including any facility owner or operator, shall request marking of a site through the UPC unless excavating is scheduled to commence. In addition, no person shall make repeated requests for re-marking, unless the repeated request is required for excavating to continue or due to circumstances not reasonably within the control of such person. Any person that willfully fails to comply with this subsection shall be liable to the facility owner or operator for $100.00 or for actual costs, whichever is greater, for each repeated request for re-marking.

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(f) If, subsequent to submitting a locate request to the UPC required by subsection (a) of this Code section, a person planning excavating determines that such work will require blasting, then such person shall promptly so notify the UPC and shall refrain from any blasting until the facility owner or operator responds within 48 hours, excluding hours during days other than business days, following receipt by the UPC of such notification. (g) When a locate request is made in accordance with subsection (a) of this Code section, excavators other than the person planning the blasting or excavating may conduct such activity, provided that the person planning the blasting or excavating shall remain responsible for ensuring that any stakes or other markings placed in accordance with this chapter remain in place and reasonably visible until such blasting or excavating is completed; and provided, further, that such blasting or excavating is:
(1) Performed on the tract or parcel of land identified in the locate request; (2) Performed by a person authorized by and having a contractual relationship with the person planning the blasting or excavating; (3) The type of blasting or excavating described in the locate request; and (4) Carried out in accordance with all other requirements of this chapter. (h) Facility owners or operators may bill an excavator for their costs related to any requests for re-marking other than for re-marks with no more than five individual addresses on a single locate request. Such costs shall be documented actual costs and shall not exceed $100.00 per re-mark request.

25-9-7. (a)(1) Prior to 7:00 A.M. on the effective date, each facility owner or operator shall determine whether or not underground facilities are located on the tract or parcel of land upon which the blasting or excavating is to occur. If underground facilities are determined to be present, the facility owner or operator shall designate, through stakes, flags, permanent markers, or other marks on the surface of the tract or parcel of land, the location of such underground facilities. This subsection shall not apply to large projects. (2) Designation of the location of underground facilities through staking, flagging, permanent markers, or other marking shall be in accordance with the American Public Works Association (APWA) color code in place at the time the location of the underground facility is designated. Additional marking requirements beyond color code, if any, shall be prescribed by rules and regulations promulgated by the commission. (3) A facility owner or operator is not required to mark its own facilities pursuant to the time frame set out in paragraph (1) of this subsection if the facility owner or operator or its agents are the only parties performing the excavation; however, such facilities shall be designated prior to the actual start of excavation. (b)(1) Prior to 7:00 A.M. on the effective date indicated in a locate request submitted in accordance with Code Section 25-9-6, each sewer system owner or operator shall determine whether sewer laterals are located or likely to be located on the tract or parcel of land upon which the blasting or excavating is to occur. If sewer laterals are

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determined to be present or likely to be present, then the sewer system owner or operator shall assist in designating sewer laterals up to the edge of the public right of way. Such assistance shall not constitute ownership or operation of the sewer lateral by the sewer system owner or operator. Good faith compliance with provisions of this subsection in response to a locate request shall constitute full compliance with this chapter, and no person shall be found liable to any party for damages or injuries as a result of performing in compliance with the requirements of this subsection. (2) To assist in designating sewer laterals, the sewer system owner or operator shall provide its best available information regarding the location of the sewer laterals to the excavator. Such information shall be conveyed to the excavator in a manner that may include, but shall not be limited to, any one of the following methods:
(A) Marking the location of sewer laterals in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, provided that:
(i) Any sewer lateral designated using the best available information shall constitute a good faith attempt and shall be deemed to be in compliance with this subsection, provided that such mark represents only the best available information of the sewer system owner or operator and may not be accurate; and (ii) If a sewer lateral is unlocatable, a triangular green mark shall be placed at the sewer main pointing at the address in question to indicate the presence of an unlocatable sewer lateral; (B) Providing electronic copies of or delivering the records through facsimile or by other means to an agreed upon location within 48 hours beginning the next business day following receipt by the UPC of the locate request submitted in accordance with Code Section 25-9-6, excluding hours during days other than business days; provided, however, that for local governing authorities that receive fewer than 50 locate requests annually, the local governing authority may designate the agreed upon location and communicate such designation to the excavator; (C) Arranging to meet the excavator on site to provide the best available information about the location of the sewer laterals; (D) Providing the records through other processes and to other locations approved by documented agreement between the excavator and the facility owner or operator; or (E) Any other reasonable means of conveyance approved by the commission after receiving recommendations from the advisory committee, provided that such means are equivalent to or exceed the provisions of subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of this paragraph. (c) Each facility owner or operator, either upon determining that no underground facility or sewer lateral is present on the tract or parcel of land or upon completion of the designation of the location of any underground facilities or sewer laterals on the tract or parcel of land as required by subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section, shall provide such information to the UPC in accordance with procedures developed by the UPC, which may include the use of the PRIS. In no event shall such information be provided later than

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midnight of the business day prior to the effective date of the locate request submitted in accordance with Code Section 25-9-6. (d) In the event the facility owner or operator is unable to designate the location of the underground facilities or sewer laterals due to extraordinary circumstances, such facility owner or operator shall notify the UPC and provide an estimated completion date in accordance with procedures developed by the UPC, which may include the use of the PRIS. The UPC shall also have the ability to declare extraordinary circumstances on behalf of any or all operators if the UPC is unable to transmit locate requests as required by this statute. (e) If, at the end of the time period specified in subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section, any facility owner or operator has not complied with the requirements of subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this Code section, as applicable, the UPC shall issue a second request to each such facility owner or operator. If the facility owner or operator does not respond to such second request by 12:00 Noon of that business day, either by notifying the UPC in accordance with procedures developed by the UPC that no underground facilities or sewer laterals are present on the tract or parcel of land, or by designating the location of such underground facilities or sewer laterals in accordance with the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section, as applicable, then the person that submitted the locate request pursuant to Code Section 25-9-6 may proceed with the blasting or excavating, provided that there is no visible and obvious evidence of the presence of an unmarked underground facility or sewer lateral on the tract or parcel of land. Such person shall not be subject to any liability resulting from damage to the underground facility or sewer lateral as a result of the blasting or excavating, provided that such person complies with the requirements of Code Section 25-9-8. (f) If visible and obvious evidence of the presence of an unmarked underground facility or sewer lateral does exist and the facility owner or operator either refuses to comply with subsections (a) through (d) of this Code section, as applicable, or is not a member of the UPC, then the excavator shall attempt to designate such facility or sewer lateral prior to excavating. The facility owner or operator shall be strictly liable for the actual costs associated with the excavator designating such underground facilities and sewer laterals and any associated downtime. Such costs shall not exceed $100.00 or documented actual costs, whichever is greater, for each locate request. (g) All underground facilities installed by facility owners or operators on or after January 1, 2001, shall be installed in a manner which will make them locatable using a generally accepted electronic locating method. All sewer laterals installed on or after January 1, 2006, shall be installed in a manner which will make them locatable by facility owners or operators using a generally accepted electronic locating method. In the event that an unlocatable underground facility or unlocatable sewer lateral becomes exposed when the facility owner or operator is present or in the case of sewer laterals when the underground sewer owner or operator is present on or after January 1, 2006, such underground facility or sewer lateral shall be made locatable through the use of a permanent marker or an updating of permanent records.

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(h) Facility owners or operators shall either maintain recorded information concerning the location and other characteristics of abandoned underground facilities, maintain such abandoned underground facilities in a locatable manner, or remove such abandoned underground facilities. Facility owners or operators shall provide information on abandoned underground facilities, when possible, in response to a locate request or design locate request. When the presence of an abandoned underground facility within an excavation site is known, the facility owner or operator should attempt to designate the abandoned underground facility or provide information to the excavator regarding such facilities. When located or exposed, all abandoned underground facilities and sewer laterals shall be treated as live underground facilities and sewer laterals. (i) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a facility owner or operator may use a locator to designate any or all underground facilities and sewer laterals. The use of a locator shall not relieve the facility owner or operator of any responsibility under this chapter. However, by contract a facility owner or operator may be indemnified by a locator for any failure on the part of the locator to comply with the provisions of this chapter. (j) Large project rules shall be promulgated by the commission. These rules shall include, but shall not be limited to, the establishment of detailed processes. Such rules may also include changes in the time period allowed for a facility owner or operator to comply with the provisions of this chapter and the time period for which designations are valid.
(k)(1) Within the notice period of the locate request submitted in accordance with Code Section 25-9-6, excluding hours during days other than business days, each facility owner or operator shall determine whether or not unlocatable facilities other than sewer laterals are present. In the event that such facilities are determined to be present, the facility owner or operator shall exercise reasonable care in locating such facilities. The exercise of reasonable care shall require, at a minimum, the use of the best available information to designate the facilities and notification to the UPC of such attempted location. Placing markers or otherwise leaving evidence of locations of facilities is deemed to be an acceptable form of notification to the excavator or locator. (2) This subsection shall not apply to sewer laterals.

25-9-8. (a) Persons engaged in blasting or in excavating with mechanized excavating equipment shall not strike, damage, injure, or loosen any underground facility or sewer lateral which has been staked, flagged, or marked in accordance with this chapter. (b) When blasting or excavating is to take place within the tolerance zone, the excavator shall exercise reasonable care for the protection of the underground facility or sewer lateral, including permanent markers and paint placed to designate underground facilities. Such protection shall include, but shall not be limited to, at least one of the following based on geographical and climate conditions: hand digging, pot holing, soft digging, vacuum excavation methods, pneumatic hand tools, or other technical methods that may be

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developed. Other mechanical methods may be used with the approval of the facility owner or operator. (c) If the precise location of the underground facilities cannot be determined by the excavator, the facility owner or operator thereof shall be notified by the excavator so that the operator and the excavator shall work together to determine the precise location of the underground facilities prior to continuing the excavation. (d) When conducting trenchless excavation the excavator shall exercise reasonable care, as described in subsection (b) of this Code section, and shall take additional care to attempt to prevent damage to underground facilities and sewer laterals. The advisory committee may recommend to the commission more stringent criteria as it deems necessary to define additional care. The commission is authorized to adopt additional criteria to define additional care. (e) Any person engaged in blasting or in excavating with mechanized excavating equipment that strikes, damages, injures, or loosens any underground facility or sewer lateral, regardless as to whether the underground facility or sewer lateral is marked, shall immediately cease such blasting or excavating and notify the UPC and the appropriate facility owner or operator, if known. Upon receiving such notification from the excavator or the UPC, the facility owner or operator shall send personnel to the location as soon as possible to effect temporary or permanent repair of such damage. Until such time as the damage has been repaired, no person shall engage in blasting or excavating activities that may cause further damage to the underground facility or sewer lateral except as provided in Code Section 25-9-12. (f) The excavator shall make an emergency 9-1-1 call to alert emergency services upon striking or damaging an underground facility that carries:
(1) Gas as defined in 49 C.F.R. Parts 192 and 193; or (2) Hazardous liquid as defined in 49 C.F.R. Part 195.

25-9-9. (a) For the purposes of this chapter, the location of underground facilities provided by a facility owner or operator in accordance with subsection (a) of Code Section 25-9-7 to any person engaging in scheduled blasting and excavating shall be accurate to within 18 inches, measured horizontally from the outer edge of either side of such underground facilities. If any underground facility becomes damaged by an excavator due to the furnishing of inaccurate information as to its location by the facility owner or operator, the excavator shall not be subject to any liability resulting from damage to the underground facility as a result of the blasting or excavating, provided that such person engaging in scheduled blasting or excavating complies with the requirements of Code Section 25-9-8 and there is no visible and obvious evidence to the excavator of the presence of a mismarked underground facility. (b) Upon documented evidence that the person seeking information as to the location of underground facilities has incurred losses or expenses due to inaccurate information, lack

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of information, or unreasonable delays in supplying information by the facility owners or operators, such facility owners or operators shall be liable to such person for any such losses or expenses.

25-9-10. This chapter does not affect and is not intended to affect any right, title, power, or interest that any facility owner or operator may have with relation to any underground facility or to any easement, right of way, license, permit, or other interest in or with respect to the land on which the underground facility is located.

25-9-10.1. (a)(1) On and after July 1, 2023, the Department of Transportation shall participate in and cooperate with the UPC for purposes of receiving locate requests in the Department of Transportation's right of way for underground facilities following a process consistent with Code Sections 25-9-6, 25-9-7, and 25-9-8 and subsection (a) of Code Section 25-9-9. (2) The Department of Transportation shall not be subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of Code Section 25-9-9 or the enforcement provisions of subsections (h) and (i) of Code Section 25-9-14. (3) The Department of Transportation shall not participate in the funding of the UPC or its activities.
(b) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to deem the Department of Transportation to be a utility owner or a utility provider.

25-9-11. This chapter does not affect and is not intended to affect any rights, powers, interest, or liability of the state or the Department of Transportation with respect to the state highway system, the county road system, or the municipal street system, or of a county with respect to the county road system or of a municipality with respect to the city street system, with relation to any underground facility which is or may be installed within the limits of any public road or street right of way, whether the installation is by written or verbal permit, easement, or any form of agreement whatsoever.

25-9-11.1. No local governing authority shall enforce any ordinance or resolution which imposes fines for a violation of a local ordinance or resolution that establishes requirements for white lining, marking of underground facilities, re-marking of underground facilities, or otherwise locating underground facilities or sewer laterals for any locate request or large project.

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25-9-12. The appropriate notice requirements prescribed by Code Section 25-9-6 shall not be required of persons performing emergency excavations; provided, however, that any person that engages in an emergency excavation shall take all reasonable precautions to avoid or minimize damage to any existing underground facilities and sewer laterals; provided, further, that any person that engages in an emergency excavation shall give notification of such emergency excavation as soon as practical to the UPC. In giving such notification, such person shall specifically identify the dangerous condition involved. If it is later determined that the excavation did not qualify as an emergency excavation, all liabilities and penalties will accrue as if no notification had been given.

25-9-13. The appropriate notice requirements prescribed by Code Section 25-9-6 shall be required of persons performing nonemergency excavations in an area where one or more facility owners or operators has declared extraordinary circumstances in accordance with subsection (d) of Code Section 25-9-7. When a situation of extraordinary circumstances has been declared, the excavator shall be responsible for securing knowledge of the PRIS status of all facility owners or operators in the area to be excavated, as not all facility owners or operators may have declared extraordinary circumstances. Once the PRIS status of all facility owners or operators is known, excavation may commence in accordance with the requirements of subsection (e) of Code Section 25-9-7. If there is visible and obvious evidence of the presence of an unmarked underground facility or sewer lateral of a facility owner or operator that has declared extraordinary circumstances, the excavator shall exercise reasonable care for the protection of such underground facilities and sewer laterals when excavating.

25-9-14. (a) Any person that violates the requirements of subsection (a), (f), or (g) of Code Section 25-9-6 and when resultant blasting or excavating damages underground facilities or sewer laterals such person shall be strictly liable for:
(1) All costs incurred by the facility owner or operator in repairing or replacing its damaged facilities, excluding betterments. An investigation of any damages shall be initiated by the completion of the next business day following the repair of the reported damage. All repair invoices shall be sent to the excavator within 90 days of completion of the repair; and (2) Any injury or damage to persons or property resulting from damaging the underground facilities and sewer laterals. (b) Each local governing authority is authorized to require by ordinance any bonds on underground contractors or on persons performing blasting or excavating within any public right of way or any dedicated underground easement as it may determine to assure compliance with subsection (a) of this Code section.

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(c) Any person that violates the requirements of Code Section 25-9-6 and when resultant blasting or excavating damages underground facilities or sewer laterals such person shall also indemnify the affected facility owner or operator against all claims or costs incurred, if any, for personal injury, property damage, or service interruptions resulting from damaging the underground facilities and sewer laterals. Such obligation to indemnify shall not apply to any county, city, town, or state agency except as permitted by law. (d) In addition to the other provisions of this Code section, a professional licensing board shall be authorized to suspend or revoke any professional or occupational license, certificate, or registration issued to a person pursuant to Title 43 w in instances when such person has repeatedly violated the requirements of Code Section 25-9-6 or 25-9-8. (e) Subsections (a), (c), and (d) of this Code section shall not apply to any person that commences, performs, or engages in blasting or in excavating with mechanized equipment on any tract or parcel of land in any county in this state if the facility owner or operator to which appropriate notice was given with respect to such blasting or excavating with mechanized equipment as prescribed in subsection (a) of Code Section 25-9-6 has failed to comply with Code Section 25-9-7 or has failed to become a member of the UPC as required by Code Section 25-9-5. A facility owner or operator to which appropriate notice of blasting or excavating with mechanized equipment as prescribed in subsection (a) of Code Section 25-9-6 was given shall be prohibited from seeking claims for damages if no designation of underground facilities or sewer laterals was performed prior to the damage being incurred and the person blasting or excavating complied with the provisions in Code Section 25-9-8. (f) The enforcement provisions of this Code section shall not apply to any person that commences, performs, or engages in blasting or in excavating with mechanized equipment within the curb lines or edges of the pavement of any public road and that causes damage to an underground facility located within the roadway hard surface or the graded aggregate base therein if such person has complied with the provisions of this chapter and there is no indication that an underground facility is in conflict with the proposed excavation. (g) Any person engaged in excavating the concrete or asphalt of a road maintained by a local governing authority for the purpose of road repair, full depth reclamation, potholing, or general road repair that complies with Code Section 25-9-6 shall not be held liable for damage claims if the underground facility or sewer facility falls within the depth of the existing pavement and subbase materials or 12 inches below the road surface, whichever is less. (h) The commission shall enforce the provisions of this chapter. The commission may promulgate any rules and regulations necessary to implement the commission's authority to enforce this chapter. In order to provide local governing authorities adequate time for initial budgeting and staffing, the starting date for enforcement of the requirement to locate traffic control devices and traffic management systems shall be January 1, 2024. (i) Enforcement actions brought under this chapter shall commence within three years from the date that the probable violation was reported to the commission.

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(j)(1) The Governor shall appoint an advisory committee as follows: (A) One member to represent the Department of Transportation; (B) One member to represent traffic control devices, traffic management systems, water systems, or water and sewer systems owned or operated by local governing authorities; (C) One member to represent the UPC; (D) One member to represent traffic control devices, traffic management systems, water systems, or water and sewer systems owned or operated by counties; (E) One member to represent traffic control devices, traffic management systems, water systems, or water and sewer systems owned or operated by municipalities; (F) One member to represent the nonmunicipal electric industry; (G) Five members to represent excavators to include the following: (i) One member to represent licensed utility contractors; (ii) One member to represent licensed general contractors; (iii) One member to represent licensed plumbers; (iv) One member to represent landscape contractors; and (v) One member to represent highway contractors; (H) One member to represent locators; (I) One member to represent the nonmunicipal telecommunications industry; (J) One member to represent the nonmunicipal natural gas industry; (K) One member to represent municipal gas, electric, or telecommunications providers; and (L) The commission chairperson or such chairperson's designee.
The commission chairperson or his or her designee shall serve as chairperson of the advisory committee and shall cast a vote only in the case of a tie. Persons appointed to the advisory committee shall have expert knowledge of this chapter and specific operations expertise with the subject matter encompassed by the provisions of this chapter. (2) The advisory committee shall establish rules of operation including an attendance policy. In the event a committee member resigns or fails to meet the criteria of the attendance policy, the advisory committee shall appoint an interim member to represent the same stakeholder group until such time as the Governor appoints a replacement. (3) The advisory committee shall assist the commission in the enforcement of this chapter, make recommendations to the commission regarding rules and regulations, and perform duties to be assigned by the commission including, but not limited to, the review of reported violations of this chapter and the preparation of recommendations to the commission as to the appropriate penalties to impose on persons violating the provisions of this chapter. (4) The members of the advisory committee shall be immune, individually and jointly, from civil liability for any act or omission done or made in the performance of their

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duties while serving as members of such advisory committee, but only in the absence of willful misconduct. (k)(1) Commission enforcement of this chapter shall follow the procedures described in this subsection. Nothing in this subsection shall limit the authority of the commission delegated from the federal government and authorized in other state law.
(2)(A) The commission is not authorized to impose civil penalties on any local governing authority except as provided in this paragraph. The commission may recommend training for local governing authorities in response to any probable or proven violation. Civil penalties may be recommended for or imposed on any local governing authority for refusal to comply with the requirements of Code Section 25-9-7 or for other violations of Code Section 25-9-7 that result in injury to people, damage to property, or the interruption of underground facility service in the event that investigators find that a local governing authority has demonstrated a pattern of willful noncompliance. Civil penalties may be recommended or imposed, for violations of provisions of this chapter other than Code Section 25-9-7 in the event that investigators find that the severity of an excavation violation warrants civil penalties or that a local governing authority has demonstrated a pattern of willful noncompliance. Any such civil penalty shall be recommended or imposed in accordance with a tiered penalty structure designed for local governing authorities. In the event that the investigators determine that a local governing authority has made a good faith effort to comply with this chapter, the investigators shall not recommend a civil penalty. For purposes of this subsection 'refusal to comply' means that an underground facility owner or operator does not respond in PRIS to a locate request, does not respond to a direct telephone call to designate their facilities, or other such direct refusal. Refusal to comply shall not mean a case where the volume of requests or some other mitigating circumstance prevents the underground facility owner or operator from locating in accordance with Code Section 25-9-7. (B) No later than January 1, 2006, the advisory committee shall recommend to the commission for adoption a tiered penalty structure for local governing authorities. Such structure shall take into account the size, annual budget, gross receipts, number of underground facility connections and types of utilities within the territory of the local governing authority. Such penalty structure shall also take into account the number of locate requests received annually by the local governing authority, the number of locate codes made annually to the local governing authority from the UPC, the number of customers whose service may have been interrupted by violations of this chapter, and the duration of such interruptions. Such penalty structure shall also consider the cost of compliance. The penalty structure shall establish for each tier the maximum penalty per violation and per 12 month period at a level to induce compliance with this chapter. Such maximum penalty shall not exceed $5,000.00 per violation or $50,000.00 per 12 month period for the highest tier.

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(3) If commission investigators find that a probable violation has occurred, they may recommend training in lieu of penalties to any person for any violation. The commission shall provide suggestions for corrective action to any person requesting such assistance. Commission investigators shall make recommended findings or offers of settlement to the respondent. (4) Any respondent may accept or disagree with the settlement recommended by the investigators. If the respondent disagrees with the recommended settlement, the respondent may dispute the settlement recommendation to the advisory committee. The advisory committee shall then render a recommendation either supporting the investigators' recommendation, rejecting the investigators' recommendation, or substituting its own recommendation. With respect to an investigation of any probable violation committed by a local governing authority, any recommendation by the advisory committee shall be in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (2) of this subsection. In its deliberations the advisory committee shall consider the gravity of the violation or violations; the degree of the respondent's culpability; the respondent's history of prior offenses; and such other mitigating factors as may be appropriate. If the advisory committee determines that a respondent has made a good faith effort to comply with this chapter, the committee shall not recommend civil penalties against the respondent. To the extent that a respondent does not accept a settlement agreement or request to dispute the recommendation of the investigators to the advisory committee, the respondent shall be assigned to a hearing officer or administrative law judge. (5) If any respondent disagrees with the recommendation of the advisory committee, after notice and hearing by a hearing officer or administrative law judge, such officer or judge shall make recommendations to the commission regarding enforcement, including civil penalties. Any such recommendations relating to a local governing authority shall comply with the provisions of paragraph (2) of this subsection. The acceptance of the recommendations by the respondent at any point shall stop further action by the investigators in such case. (6) When the respondent agrees with the advisory committee recommendation, the investigators shall present such agreement to the commission. The commission is then authorized to adopt the recommendation of the advisory committee regarding a civil penalty, or to reject such a recommendation. The commission is not authorized to impose a civil penalty greater than the civil penalty recommended by the advisory committee or to impose any civil penalty if the advisory committee does not recommend a civil penalty. (7) The commission may, by judgment entered after a hearing on notice duly served on any person not less than 30 days before the date of the hearing, impose a civil penalty not exceeding $10,000.00 for each violation, if it is proved that the person violated any of the provisions of this chapter as a result of a failure to exercise additional care in accordance with subsection (d) of Code Section 25-9-8 or reasonable care in accordance with other provisions of this chapter. Any such recommendations relating to a local governing

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authority shall comply with the provisions of paragraph (2) of this subsection. Any proceeding or civil penalty undertaken pursuant to this Code section shall neither prevent nor preempt the right of any party to obtain civil damages for personal injury or property damage in private causes of action except as otherwise provided in this chapter. (l) All civil penalties ordered by the commission and collected pursuant to this Code section shall be deposited in the general fund of the state treasury."

SECTION 2. Code Section 46-3-34, relating to utilities protection center, funding of activities, notice of work delay, and responsibility for completing safety requirements, is amended by revising subsection (a) as follows:
"(a) All utilities shall organize, participate as members in, and cooperate with the utilities protection center. In lieu of organizing a new center, if the organization defined as the Utilities Protection Center (UPC) in Code Section 25-9-3 undertakes to serve as the utilities protection center referred to in this part, it may do so and no duplicative center shall thereafter be established. The activities of the center relating to high-voltage lines shall be funded by all utilities."

SECTION 3. This Act shall become effective on September 1, 2022.

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVISES ANNEXATION REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

No. 778 (House Bill No. 1385).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 36 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to annexation of territory, so as to revise annexation reporting requirements to require the provision of reports to the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office of the General Assembly; to require the submission of a digital shapefile with such reports; to provide for regional commissions to assist certain municipalities in the production of such digital files; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

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BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 36 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to annexation of territory, is amended by revising Code Section 36-36-3, relating to report identifying annexed property, maps and surveys, and technical assistance to municipalities, as follows:
"36-36-3. (a) The clerk, city attorney, or other person designated by the governing authority of any municipality annexing property shall file a report identifying any property annexed with the Department of Community Affairs, the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office of the General Assembly, and with the county governing authority of the county in which the property being annexed is located. Such reports shall be filed, at a minimum, not more than 30 days following the last day of the quarter in which the annexation becomes effective but may be filed more frequently. Each report shall include the following:
(1) The legal authority under which the annexation was accomplished, which shall be the ordinance or resolution number for any annexation effected pursuant to Article 2, 3, 4, or 6 of this chapter or the Act number if effected by local Act of the General Assembly; (2) The name of the county in which the property being annexed is located; the total acreage annexed; the enactment date and effective date of the annexation ordinance, resolution, or local Act of the General Assembly; (3) A letter from the governing authority of any municipality annexing property stating its intent to add the annexed area to maps provided by the United States Bureau of the Census during their next regularly scheduled boundary and annexation survey of the municipality and stating that the survey and map will be completed as instructed and returned to the United States Bureau of the Census; (4) A list identifying roadways, bridges, and rights of way on state routes that are annexed and, if necessary, the total mileage annexed; and (5) A digital shapefile of the annexed area. (b) The submission of a report required under subsection (a) of this Code section shall be made in writing and in electronic format to the Department of Community Affairs, the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office of the General Assembly, and to others as required by the submitting municipality. (c)(1) The Department of Community Affairs shall notify the clerk, city attorney, or other person designated by the governing authority of the annexing municipality within 30 days after receipt of a report submitted under subsection (a) of this Code section if it determines the submission to be incomplete. The Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office of the General Assembly shall notify the clerk, city attorney, or other person designated by the governing authority of the annexing municipality within 60 days after receipt of a report submitted under subsection (a) of this Code section if it determines the submission to be incomplete. The annexing municipality shall file a corrected report with the department, Legislative and

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Congressional Reapportionment Office of the General Assembly, and the county governing authority where the annexed property is located within 45 days from the date of the notice of any deficiency. (2) No annexed area shall be added to the state map until such report has been properly submitted to the Department of Community Affairs and the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office of the General Assembly. The Department of Community Affairs shall not provide a certification of annexation to the United States Census Bureau unless the governing authority of the annexing municipality has filed a completed report as required under subsection (a) of this Code section. (3) Compliance with the requirements of this Code section shall be construed to be merely ancillary to and not an integral part of the annexation procedure such that an annexation shall, if otherwise authorized by law, become effective even though required filings under this Code section are temporarily delayed. (d) The Department of Community Affairs may provide technical assistance to any municipality with respect to the requirements of subsection (a) of this Code section. (e) The Department of Community Affairs shall maintain the annexation reports submitted to it pursuant to this Code section for two years. Annexation reports shall be subject to disclosure and inspection under Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50 while maintained in the possession of the Department of Community Affairs. Two years after receipt of an annexation report from a municipality, the Department of Community Affairs shall transfer possession of such report to the Division of Archives and History for permanent retention. (f) In the event that any municipality annexing property cannot produce the digital shapefile required by paragraph (5) of subsection (a) of this Code section by utilizing its own geographic information system, the regional commission established pursuant to Article 2 of Chapter 8 of Title 50 for the county that includes such municipality shall assist such municipality in producing and providing such digital shapefile. . (g) The governing authority of any municipality annexing property shall add all annexed areas to maps provided by the United States Census Bureau during the next regularly scheduled boundary and annexation survey of the municipality, complete the survey and map as instructed, and return them to the United States Census Bureau within the time frame requested."

SECTION 2. Said Chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 36-36-59, relating to filing of identification of annexed territory with Department of Community Affairs and county governing authority, as follows:
"36-36-59. Whenever the limits of a municipal corporation are enlarged in accordance with this article, it shall be the duty of the clerk, city attorney, or other person designated by the governing authority of the municipal corporation to cause an identification of the annexed territory to be filed with the Department of Community Affairs, the Legislative and Congressional

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Reapportionment Office of the General Assembly, and with the governing authority of the county in which the property is located in accordance with Code Section 36-36-3."

SECTION 3. Said Chapter is further amended in Code Section 36-36-92, relating to annexation of unincorporated islands, procedures, and provision of municipal services, by revising subsection (b) as follows:
"(b) Annexation of unincorporated islands as authorized in subsection (a) of this Code section shall be accomplished by ordinance at a regular meeting of the municipal governing authority within 30 days after written notice of intent to annex such property is mailed to the owner of such property at the last known address for such owner as it appears on the ad valorem tax records of the county in which such property is located. After the adoption of the annexation ordinance, an identification of the property annexed shall be filed with the Department of Community Affairs, the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office of the General Assembly, and with the governing authority of the county in which the property is located, in accordance with Code Section 36-36-3."

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS RIGHT OF ACTION AGAINST LOCAL GOVERNMENT FOR RETALIATION; CIVIL RELIEF; CORRECTIVE AND REMEDIAL ACTION.

No. 779 (House Bill No. 1390).

AN ACT

To amend Title 34 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to labor and industrial relations, so as to provide for a right of action against a local government for retaliation; to provide for a definition; to provide for elements of such right; to provide for civil relief; to provide for corrective or remedial action; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

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SECTION 1. Title 34 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to labor and industrial relations, is amended by adding a new chapter to read as follows:

"CHAPTER 5A

34-5A-1. As used in this chapter, the term 'sexual harassment' means sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual or sex-based conduct, or any other unwelcome and offensive conduct of a sexual nature where:
(A) Submission to the conduct involved is made, implicitly or explicitly, a term or condition of work; (B) Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for a personnel decision affecting the individual's work; or (C) Such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment, provided that an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment is not created when the conduct does not rise above the level of what a reasonable person would consider merely tactless, inconsiderate, overfamiliar, or otherwise impolite, particularly with regard to the totality of the circumstances.

34-5A-2. (a) Any individual working for a county, municipality, or consolidated government as an employee or in a similar capacity shall have a cause of action for retaliation against the county, municipality, or consolidated government if such county, municipality, or consolidated government has discharged, suspended, demoted, or taken any other adverse action against the individual in the terms or conditions of the work relationship because the individual has:
(1) Opposed sexual harassment; (2) Made a report or a charge, or filed any complaint related to sexual harassment; (3) Instituted or caused to be instituted, assisted, or participated in any manner in any investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action related to sexual harassment; or (4) Provided information, testified, or is known by the county, municipality, or consolidated government to be planning to testify in any manner in any such investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action related to sexual harassment. (b) Such individual may institute such a civil action in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection (e) of Code Section 45-1-4, and a court may order any or all of the relief described in paragraph (2) of subsection (e) and subsection (f) of Code Section 45-1-4. (c) Nothing in this Code section shall be interpreted to prohibit the county, municipality, or consolidated government from taking appropriate corrective or remedial action against any individual who it determines has engaged in or facilitated sexual harassment."

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SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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CRIMINAL PROCEDURE REVISES COMPENSATION OF PUBLIC DEFENDERS AND ASSISTANT PUBLIC DEFENDERS.

No. 780 (House Bill No. 1391).

AN ACT

To amend Article 2 of Chapter 12 of Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public defenders, so as to revise the compensation of public defenders and assistant public defenders; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Article 2 of Chapter 12 of Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public defenders, is amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 17-12-25, relating to salary of public defender and private practice prohibited, as follows:
"(a) Each circuit public defender shall receive an annual salary equal to the annual salary of a district attorney and shall receive any cost-of-living adjustments that may be given by the General Assembly in the General Appropriations Act for which district attorneys are eligible. Any increase granted pursuant to this subsection shall become effective at the same time that funds are made available for the increase for such employees. Each circuit public defender may also be entitled to an accountability court salary supplement as set forth in Code Section 17-12-25.1."

SECTION 2. Said article is further amended by revising subsection (c) of Code Section 17-12-27, relating to appointment of assistant public defenders, salary, and promotions, as follows:
"(c) Each assistant public defender appointed pursuant to this Code section shall be compensated based on a salary range established in accordance with subsection (c) of Code Section 17-12-30. The salary range for each job established in accordance with subsection (b) of this Code section shall be as follows:

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(1) Assistant public defender I. Not less than $38,124.00 nor more than 65 percent of the compensation of the circuit public defender; (2) Assistant public defender II. Not less than $40,884.00 nor more than 70 percent of the compensation of the circuit public defender; (3) Assistant public defender III. Not less than $45,108.00 nor more than 80 percent of the compensation of the circuit public defender; and (4) Assistant public defender IV. Not less than $52,176.00 nor more than 95 percent of the compensation of the circuit public defender."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS CHANGES PROVISIONS RELATED TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS; INCREASES COMPENSATION
BENEFITS FOR TOTAL DISABILITY AND TEMPORARY PARTIAL DISABILITY AND TOTAL PAYABLE TO SURVIVING SPOUSE AS SOLE DEPENDENT AT TIME OF DEATH.

No. 781 (House Bill No. 1409).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 9 of Title 34 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to workers' compensation, so as to change certain provisions related to workers' compensation benefits; to increase the compensation benefits for total disability and temporary partial disability; to increase the total compensation payable to a surviving spouse as a sole dependent at the time of death; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 9 of Title 34 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to workers' compensation, is amended by revising Code Section 34-9-261, relating to compensation for total disability, as follows:

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"34-9-261. While the disability to work resulting from an injury is temporarily total, the employer shall pay or cause to be paid to the employee a weekly benefit equal to two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage but not more than $725.00 per week nor less than $50.00 per week, except that when the weekly wage is below $50.00, the employer shall pay a weekly benefit equal to the average weekly wage. The weekly benefit under this Code section shall be payable for a maximum period of 400 weeks from the date of injury; provided, however, that in the event of a catastrophic injury as defined in subsection (g) of Code Section 34-9-200.1, the weekly benefit under this Code section shall be paid until such time as the employee undergoes a change in condition for the better as provided in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 34-9-104."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 34-9-262, relating to compensation for temporary partial disability, as follows:
"34-9-262. Except as otherwise provided in Code Section 34-9-263, where the disability to work resulting from the injury is partial in character but temporary in quality, the employer shall pay or cause to be paid to the employee a weekly benefit equal to two-thirds of the difference between the average weekly wage before the injury and the average weekly wage the employee is able to earn thereafter but not more than $483.00 per week for a period not exceeding 350 weeks from the date of injury."

SECTION 3. Said chapter is further amended in Code Section 34-9-265, relating to compensation for death resulting from injury and other causes, penalty for death from injury proximately caused by intentional act of employer, and payment of death benefits where no dependents found, by revising subsection (d) as follows:
"(d) The total compensation payable under this Code section to a surviving spouse as a sole dependent at the time of death and where there is no other dependent for one year or less after the death of the employee shall in no case exceed $290,000.00."

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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GENERAL PROVISIONS CODE REVISER BILL.

No. 782 (House Bill No. 1428).

AN ACT

To amend the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, so as to revise, modernize, correct errors or omissions in, and reenact the statutory portion of said Code, as amended, in furtherance of the work of the Code Revision Commission; to repeal portions of said Code, or Acts in amendment thereof, which have become obsolete, have been declared to be unconstitutional, or have been preempted or superseded by subsequent laws; to codify principles of law derived from decisions of the state Supreme Court; to provide for other matters relating to revision, reenactment, and publication of said Code; to provide for effect in event of conflicts; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

Reserved.

SECTION 1.

SECTION 2. Title 2 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to agriculture, is amended in: (1) Code Section 2-8-11, relating to definitions regarding agricultural commodity commissions generally, in paragraphs (4), (10), and (11), by replacing "he" with "he or she" each time the term appears. (2) Code Section 2-8-23, relating to approval by producers prerequisite to issuance of marketing order or major amendment, notice, rules and regulations, expiration, extensions, and referendum, in paragraph (c)(1), by replacing "appointive" with "appointed" and in subsection (d), by deleting "posting and". (3) Code Section 2-12-47, relating to the sale of noncomplying, toxic, or domestic septage material prohibited, in subsection (c), by replacing "40 CFR 503.9" with "40 C.F.R. 503.9". (4) Code Section 2-12-50, relating to notice and prosecution of violations, hearings, and penalty, in subsections (d) and (e), by replacing "40 CFR 503.9" with "40 C.F.R. 503.9" each time the term appears. (5) Code Section 2-12-71, relating to definitions regarding soil amendments, in subparagraph (1)(D), by replacing "40 CFR 503.9" with "40 C.F.R. 503.9". (6) Code Section 2-12-80, relating to promulgation and adoption of rules and regulations and sharing of information by the Commissioner of Agriculture, at the end of subparagraph (1)(A), by deleting "and". (7) Code Section 2-12-83, relating to penalties regarding soil amendments, in subsections (b) and (c), by replacing "40 CFR 503.9" with "40 C.F.R. 503.9" each time the term appears.

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(8) Code Section 2-23-4, relating to required licenses, research by colleges and universities, and processing of other products relative to hemp farming, in paragraph (a)(3), by deleting "or under 7 U.S.C. Section 5940," and in subsection (b), by deleting "pursuant to 7 U.S.C. Section 5940 on and after May, 10, 2019, or". (9) Code Section 2-23-6.1, relating to bond requirements, breach of bond, hearing, enforcement, and insufficient bond funds relative to hemp farming, in subsection (a), by replacing "$1,000,000.00" with "$1 million". (10) Code Section 2-23-7, relating to business agreements, transportation, and reimbursement for crop destruction relative to hemp farming, in division (b)(1)(A)(i) and subparagraph (b)(2)(A), by deleting "or under 7 U.S.C. Section 5940".

Reserved.

SECTION 3.

SECTION 4. Title 4 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to animals, is amended in: (1) Code Section 4-11-3, relating to licenses for pet dealers and kennel, stable, or animal shelter operators, requirement, issuance, and application, in subparagraph (c.1)(1)(B), by replacing "9 equines" with "nine equines" both times the phrase appears.

Reserved.

SECTION 5.

Reserved.

SECTION 6.

SECTION 7. Title 7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to banking and finance, is amended in: (1) Code Section 7-1-239.5, which is repealed, by designating said Code section as reserved. (2) Code Section 7-1-432, relating to meetings of shareholders of a bank or trust company, in paragraph (a)(3), by replacing "Code section" with "Code Section". (3) Code Section 7-1-682, relating to exemption from licensing requirements, in paragraph (9), by replacing "clearing house" with "clearing-house". (4) Code Section 7-1-1001, relating to exemption for certain persons and entities, registration requirements, and authorized actions of licensed mortgage lenders, in paragraph (a)(9), by replacing "instrumentality of: the" with "instrumentality of the".

Reserved.

SECTION 8.

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SECTION 9. Title 9 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to civil practice, is amended in: (1) Code Section 9-11-5, relating to service and filing of pleadings subsequent to the original complaint and other papers, in subsection (b) and in subparagraphs (f)(1)(A) and (f)(1)(B), by replacing "e-mail" with "email" each time the term appears.

SECTION 10. Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to commerce and trade, is amended in: (1) Code Section 10-1-310, relating to definitions, record keeping, offenses, and cooperation with law enforcement regarding organized retail crime prevention, in paragraphs (a)(5) and (a)(6), subsection (b), and the introductory language of subsections (c) and (e), by replacing "Third party" with "Third-party" and "third party" with "third-party" each time the terms appear.

Reserved.

SECTION 11.

Reserved.

SECTION 12.

Reserved.

SECTION 13.

SECTION 14. Title 14 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to corporations, partnerships, and associations, is amended in: (1) Code Section 14-2-140, relating to definitions regarding business corporations, in paragraph (9), by replacing "e-mail" with "email". (2) Code Section 14-2-1807, relating to notice, performance reporting, and optional additional requirements regarding benefit corporations, in paragraph (c)(2), by replacing "Internet" with "internet". (3) Code Section 14-3-709, relating to remote communication by members relative to meetings of nonprofit corporations, in subparagraph (2)(A), by adding the opening parenthesis around the subparagraph (A) designation.

Reserved.

SECTION 15.

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SECTION 16. Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to crimes and offenses, is amended in: (1) Code Section 16-6-5.1, relating to improper sexual contact by employee, agent, or foster parent, consent not a defense, and penalty, in paragraph (f)(1), by replacing "by employee, improper sexual contact by a person in a position of trust in the first degree, or agent" with "by employee or agent, improper sexual contact by a person in a position of trust in the first degree," and by replacing "10" with "ten". (2) Code Section 16-11-90, relating to prohibition on nude or sexually explicit electronic transmissions, in subparagraphs (b)(1)(A) and (b)(2)(A), by deleting the comma following "board". (3) Code Section 16-12-191, relating to possession, manufacture, distribution, or sale of low THC oil and penalties, in subparagraph (b)(1)(A), by deleting "pursuant to Chapter 51 of Title 31", at the end of division (b)(1)(A)(x), by inserting "and", by deleting subparagraph (b)(1)(B), by redesignating subparagraph (b)(1)(C) as subparagraph (b)(1)(B), and in subsection (e), by deleting "pursuant to Chapter 51 of Title 31" following "agent" and by replacing "personnel, provided that such person has in his or her possession a permit issued as provided in Code Section 31-51-7 and such possession, purchase, sale, manufacturing, distribution, or dispensing is solely for the purposes set forth in Chapter 51 of Title 31." with "personnel.". (4) Code Section 16-12-206, relating to annual, nontransferable dispensing license, adoption of rules, and fees regarding general provisions of access to medical cannabis, in subsection (c), by replacing "commission shall each be" with "commission shall be". (5) Code Section 16-12-235, relating to research in compliance with federal regulations and other research permitted regarding dispensing and distribution of medical cannabis, by deleting the subsection (a) designation and by deleting subsection (b).

Reserved.

SECTION 17.

Reserved.

SECTION 18.

SECTION 19. Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to domestic relations, is amended in: (1) Code Section 19-8-24, relating to advertising restrictions and requirements, "inducements" defined, unlawful inducements, penalties, exemption for personal communications, and civil actions regarding general provisions of adoption, in paragraph (a)(1), by replacing "Internet" with "internet" and in subsection (e), by inserting a comma following "or both".

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(2) Code Section 19-9-3, relating to establishment and review of child custody and visitation, in subparagraph (a)(3)(I), by replacing "paragraph (3) of subsection (a) of Code Section 19-9-3" with "this paragraph".

SECTION 20. Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to education, is amended in: (1) Code Section 20-1-30, relating to establishment of school policies on hazing, public disclosure of incidents, and confidentiality of student information, in subsection (d), by replacing "the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 USC 1232g" with "the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. Section 1232g". (2) Code Section 20-2-14.1, relating to the Georgia Foundation for Public Education, authorization to accept transfers of certain property held in trust by the State Board of Education, authorization for nonprofit corporation, authorization to receive donations from taxpayers, requirements, and annual report, in subsection (b), by replacing "subparagraph (g.1)(1)" with "paragraph (1) of subsection (g.1)". (3) Code Section 20-2-167.2, relating to virtual instruction through virtual schools and no waivers, by revising subsection (b) as follows:
"(b) A local school system that provides virtual instruction through a virtual school whose total student enrollment is composed of more than 5 percent out-of-system students shall:
(1) Ensure that 90 percent of funds earned pursuant to this article for out-of-system students are expended for costs for virtual instruction for such out-of-system students and shall return any excess funds to the state treasury which are not expended for such purposes; and (2) Include in the virtual school and local school system's College and Career Ready Performance Index data academic achievement results for out-of-system students."

SECTION 21. Title 21 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to elections, is amended in: (1) Code Section 21-2-2, relating to definitions regarding elections and primaries generally, in paragraph (2.1), by replacing "devices;" with "devices," and in paragraph (7.1), by replacing "and a navigational" with "and navigational".

Reserved.

SECTION 22.

Reserved.

SECTION 23.

Reserved.

SECTION 24.

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Reserved.

SECTION 25.

SECTION 26. Title 26 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to food, drugs, and cosmetics, is amended in: (1) Code Section 26-5-21, relating to the State Commission on Narcotic Treatment Programs and abolishment, which was automatically abolished on January 1, 2017, by designating said Code section as repealed and reserved.

Reserved.

SECTION 27.

Reserved.

SECTION 28.

SECTION 29. Title 29 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to guardian and ward, is amended in: (1) Code Section 29-5-10, relating to petition for appointment of conservator and requirements of petition, at the end of paragraph (b)(13), by replacing the period with a semicolon.

Reserved.

SECTION 30.

SECTION 31. Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to health, is amended in: (1) Code Section 31-1-40, relating to prohibition on expenditure or use of state resources to advocate for or intend to influence citizens in support of Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act, by redesignating said Code section as Code Section 31-1-19. (2) Code Section 31-9A-4, relating to information to be made available by the Department of Public Health under the Woman's Right to Know Act, format requirements, availability, and requirements for website, in subsection (d), by replacing "Internet" with "internet". (3) Code Section 31-11-55.2, relating to administration of hydrocortisone sodium succinate intramuscular by emergency medical services personnel, training, reporting, and immunity, in paragraph (a)(1), by replacing "salt wasting" with "salt-wasting". (4) Code Section 31-22-9.1, relating to HIV tests and who may perform tests, in paragraph (a)(1), by replacing "Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS Related Complex" with "acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS related complex", in paragraph (a)(10), by replacing "Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Human T-Cell

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Lymphotropic Virus Types III or IV, Lymphadenopathy Associated Virus Types I or II, AIDS Related Virus," with "human immunodeficiency virus, human T-cell lymphotropic virus types III or IV, lymphadenopathy associated virus types I or II, AIDS related virus,", and in the introductory language of paragraph (a)(13), by replacing "'Institutional care facility'"means" with "'Institutional care facility' means". (5) Code Section 31-22-12, relating to injunction of operation of clinical laboratories not certified, by inserting a comma following "of this chapter".

SECTION 32. Title 32 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to highways, bridges, and ferries, is amended in: (1) Code Section 32-2-82, relating to alternative contracting methods, in subsection (f), by replacing "ten year" with "ten-year" and in subsection (i), by inserting a comma following "2026". (2) Code Section 32-10-60, relating to definitions regarding general provisions of the State Road and Tollway Authority, by revising paragraph (6.1) as follows:
"(6.1) 'Revenue' or 'revenues' shall mean any and all moneys received from the collection of tolls authorized by Code Sections 32-10-64 and 32-10-65, any federal highway funds and reimbursements, any other federal highway assistance received from time to time by the authority, any other moneys of the authority pledged for such purpose, any other moneys received by the authority pursuant to the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, and any moneys received pursuant to a public-private initiative as authorized pursuant to Code Section 32-2-78."
(3) Code Section 32-10-63, relating to powers of the State Road and Tollway Authority generally, in paragraph (7), by deleting the subparagraph (A) designation and deleting subparagraph (B), which was repealed on July 1, 2021.

SECTION 33. Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance, is amended in: (1) Code Section 33-2-28, relating to the scope of judicial review and the disposition of action by the reviewing court, at the end of subparagraph (c)(2)(E), by inserting "and". (2) Code Section 33-6-4, relating to enumeration of unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices and penalties regarding insurance, in subparagraphs (b)(12)(A) and (b)(12)(B), by replacing "medicare" with "Medicare" each time the term appears. (3) Code Section 33-7-6, relating to property insurance, contract requirements, rules and regulations, and exemptions, in subparagraph (c)(3)(B), by replacing "subparagraph (c)(3)(A)" with "subparagraph (A) of this paragraph" and in paragraph (c)(4), by replacing "purchase," with "purchase price," and "pro rate" with "pro rata".

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(4) Code Section 33-7-11, relating to uninsured motorist coverage under motor vehicle liability policies, in paragraph (a)(4), by replacing "the term 'legal liability' is" with "the term "legal liability" is". (5) Code Section 33-20C-2, relating to online provider directories, printed directories by request, required content, accessibility, and public health emergency, by revising paragraphs (g)(3) and (g)(4) as follows:
"(3) This subsection shall not apply if the: (A) Provider becomes out-of-network due to suspension, expiration, or revocation of such provider's license; (B) Provider unilaterally terminates participation in the insurer's network plan without cause; or (C) Insurer terminates the provider for cause for fraud, misrepresentation, or other actions constituting a termination for cause under such provider's contract.
(4) Paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply if the insurer's provider directory accessed through the insurer's website accurately displayed any future date on which such provider would become out of network, 15 days prior to the beginning of and all during, the designated open enrollment time frame. (5) The provisions of subsection (d) of Code Section 33-20C-3 shall not apply to the circumstances described in paragraph (1) of this subsection." (6) Code Section 33-23-43.8, relating to prohibited acts of adjusters, in subsection (b), by replacing "8 A.M." with "8:00 A.M." and by replacing "10 P.M." with "10:00 P.M." both times the term appears and at the end of paragraphs (g)(3) and (g)(4), by replacing the periods with semicolons.

Reserved.

SECTION 34.

Reserved.

SECTION 35.

SECTION 36. Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to local government, is amended in: (1) Code Section 36-8-6, which is repealed, by designating said Code section as reserved. (2) Code Section 36-32-12, relating to municipal court held outside municipality, by replacing "code section" with "Code section".

SECTION 37. Title 37 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to mental health, is amended in: (1) Code Section 37-1-53, relating to classification of privileged materials regarding hearings and evidence, by replacing "subsection" with "Code section".

360 Reserved.

GENERAL ACTS AND RESOLUTIONS, VOL. I SECTION 38.

Reserved.

SECTION 39.

SECTION 40. Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to motor vehicles and traffic, is amended in: (1) Code Section 40-5-27, relating to the examination of applicants for a driver's license, in paragraph (d)(2), by inserting a comma following "however".

Reserved.

SECTION 41.

SECTION 42. Title 42 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to penal institutions, is amended in: (1) Code Section 42-1-12, relating to the state sexual offender registry, in subparagraph (a)(10)(B.3), by inserting a comma following "July 1, 2019".

SECTION 43. Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to professions and businesses, is amended in: (1) Code Section 43-10-6, relating to rules and regulations relative to barbers and cosmetologists as to sanitary requirements, instructions on HIV and AIDS, inspections, and unsanitary conditions as nuisance, in subsection (b), by replacing "Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome" with "human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)". (2) Code Section 43-10A-50, relating to the short title of the "Professional Counselors Licensure Compact Act," by replacing "as 'The Professional" with "as the 'Professional". (3) Code Section 43-27-2, relating to the creation and membership of the State Board of Long-Term Care Facility Administrators, at the end of paragraph (a)(4), by replacing "; and" with a period. (4) Code Section 43-28-20, relating to the short title of the "Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact Act," by replacing "as 'The Occupational" with "as the 'Occupational". (5) Code Section 43-34-23, relating to delegation of authority to nurses or physician assistants regarding medical practice, in division (b)(1)(A)(ii), by replacing "or clinical nurse specialist, psychiatric/mental health" with "or clinical nurse specialist in psychiatric/mental health".

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Reserved.

SECTION 44.

SECTION 45. Title 45 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public officers and employees, is amended in: (1) Code Section 45-18-7.3, relating to employees of Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund, Georgia Firefighters' Pension Fund, and Sheriffs' Retirement Fund of Georgia and their spouses and dependent children, by replacing "Peace Officers' Annuity Benefit Fund" with "Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund".

Reserved.

SECTION 46.

Reserved.

SECTION 47.

SECTION 48. Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to revenue and taxation, is amended in: (1) Code Section 48-7-21, relating to taxation of corporations, in paragraph (b)(3), by replacing "state including," with "state, including," and by replacing "losses including," with "losses, including,", at the end of subparagraph (b)(7)(B), by replacing the period with "; and", and in division (b)(7)(C)(iii), by replacing "however, such" with "however, that such". (2) Code Section 48-7-23, relating to taxation of partnerships, computation of net income, disallowance of charitable contributions, individual liability of partners, individual returns of distributive shares, taxable years, and elections, in paragraph (b)(3), by replacing "this Code Section," with "this Code section,", in paragraph (b)(4), by replacing "however, such" with "however, that such", and in paragraph (b)(7), by replacing "an "S" corporation" with "an 'S' corporation". (3) Code Section 48-7-24, relating to nonresident members of resident partnerships, resident members of nonresident partnerships, profits, distributive shares, taxability, and applicability, at the beginning of subsection (d), by replacing "This Code Section" with "This Code section". (4) Code Section 48-7-32, relating to taxation of railroad and public service corporations, computation of net income where business is within and outside state, and net income for all other such corporations, in subsection (b), by inserting a comma following "of the corporation". (5) Code Section 48-7-37, relating to taxes due from members of armed forces dying on active duty, applicability of tax to particular taxable years, assessment of unpaid taxes, abatement, and credit or refund of collected payments, in paragraph (1), by replacing "his

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death" with "his or her death" and by replacing "he" with "he or she" and in paragraph (2), by replacing "his death" with "his or her death,". (6) Code Section 48-7-108, relating to employer's liability, in subsection (c), by inserting a comma following "limitations". (7) Code Section 48-7-161, relating to definitions regarding setoff debt collection, in paragraph (.1), by replacing "means entity" with "means the entity". (8) Code Section 48-8-3, relating to exemptions regarding general provisions of state sales and use tax, in paragraph (103), which was repealed effective January 1, 2021, by designating said paragraph as "Reserved; or". (9) Code Section 48-8-3.3, relating to state sales tax exemptions for agricultural operations, by redesignating the provisions of paragraph (d)(5) as paragraph (e)(5). (10) Code Section 48-8-77, relating to sourcing, definitions, sales of advertising and promotional direct mail and other direct mail, and sales of telecommunications service, in paragraph (b)(4), by inserting "the term" following "this paragraph,". (11) Code Section 48-8-97, relating to levy of joint county and municipal sales and use tax by consolidated governments, use of proceeds, and referendum, in paragraph (e)(2), by replacing "subsections (g) and (f)" with "subsections (f) and (g)". (12) Code Section 48-13-50.3, relating to additional nightly tax levied on public accommodations, collection and remittance by innkeepers, exemptions, use of funds from additional taxes, and provisions for termination, in paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3), by redesignating the text of current paragraph (a)(2) as new paragraph (a)(3) and by redesignating the text of current paragraph (a)(3) as new paragraph (a)(2), in subsection (e), which is repealed, by designating said subsection as reserved, and in subsection (f), by deleting "subsection (e) of this Code section or".

Reserved.

SECTION 49.

Reserved.

SECTION 50.

SECTION 51. Title 51 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to torts, is amended in: (1) Code Section 51-12-73, relating to structured settlement purchase companies and requirements for doing business, in paragraph (b)(5), by replacing "obligations to payee" with "obligations to the payee". (2) Code Section 51-12-76, relating to separate disclosure statement provided to payee and requirements, in paragraph (6), by inserting a comma following "effect".

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SECTION 52. Title 52 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to waters of the state, ports, and watercraft, is amended in: (1) Code Section 52-2-30, relating to the confirmation and validation of revenue bonds and venue of actions to confirm and validate bonds or to enforce rights under the "Georgia Ports Authority Act," by replacing "provided, however," with "provided, however, that". (2) Code Section 52-7-3, relating to definitions regarding the "Georgia Boat Safety Act," in paragraph (25), by replacing "provided, however," with "provided, however, that". (3) Code Section 52-7-14, relating to collisions, accidents, and casualties and salvage rights regarding the "Georgia Boat Safety Act," at the end of subparagraph (c)(3)(S), by inserting "and".

SECTION 53. Title 53 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to wills, trusts, and administration of estates, is amended in: (1) Code Section 53-3-6, relating to issuance of citation and publication of notices and mailing of petitions to tax commissioners, at the end of paragraph (c)(2), by replacing "date and time for objections to be filed shown in the citation." with "date and time shown in the citation for objections to be filed.". (2) Code Section 53-6-60, relating to amount of compensation for administrators and personal representatives, in subsection (e), by replacing "provided, however," with "provided, however, that".

SECTION 54. (a) In accordance with subsection (c) of Code Section 28-9-5, the following portions included in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated published under authority of the state by LEXIS Publishing, including all 2021 supplements and revised volumes thereof, are hereby reenacted and such reenactment shall have the effect of adopting and giving force and effect of law to the following portions as contained in such volumes and supplements:
(1) Statutory text; and (2) Arrangement and numbering system, including, but not limited to, title, chapter, article, part, subpart, Code section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, division, and subdivision numbers and designations. (b) The following portions included in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated published under authority of the state by LEXIS Publishing, including all 2021 supplements and revised volumes thereof, are specifically not enacted or reenacted, have no binding authority, bear no weight or effect, and shall not be construed to have the imprimatur of the General Assembly or the State of Georgia: (1) Case annotations; (2) Research references, including, but not limited to:
(A) Law reviews;

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(B) Collateral references to secondary sources; (C) Opinions of the Georgia Attorney General; (D) Advisory opinions of the State Bar; and (E) Cross-references; (3) Captions; (4) Catchlines; (5) Headings; (6) Title and chapter analyses; (7) History lines; (8) Repeal lines; (9) Editorial notes; (10) Amendment notes; (11) Code Commission notes; (12) Effective date notes; (13) Tables; (14) User's Guide; (15) General Index; (16) Volume indices; (17) Indices related to local and special laws; (18) Conversion tables; (19) The United States Constitution; (20) The Georgia Constitution; (21) Rules and regulations of state agencies, departments, boards, commissions, or other entities; (22) Material in brackets or parentheses and editorial, delayed effective date, effect of amendment, or other similar notes within the text of a Code section which has been added by the publisher in order to explain or to prevent a misapprehension concerning the contents of the Code section; and (23) Any other matter published in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated which is not included in subsection (a) of this Section. (c) The reenactment of the portions of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated by subsection (a) of this section shall not affect, supersede, or repeal any Act of the General Assembly, or portion thereof, which is not contained in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated and which was not repealed by Code Section 1-1-10, specifically including those Acts which have not yet been included in the text of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated because of effective dates which extend beyond the effective date of the Code or the publication date of the Code or its supplements. This subsection shall not apply to any Act or portion thereof which was superseded due to conflict as provided by subsection (b) of Code Section 28-9-5. (d) The provisions contained in Sections 1 through 53 of this Act and in the other Acts enacted at the 2021 regular session of the General Assembly of Georgia shall supersede the

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provisions of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated ratified and reenacted by subsection (a) of this section. (e) In the event of a conflict between a provision in Sections 1 through 53 of this Act and a provision of another Act enacted at the 2022 regular session of the General Assembly, the provision of such other Act shall control over the conflicting provision in Sections 1 through 53 of this Act to the extent of the conflict.

SECTION 55. This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval.

SECTION 56. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

__________

LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND AGENCIES REVISES CRIMINAL JUSTICE COORDINATING COUNCIL ADVISORY BOARD.

No. 783 (House Bill No. 1433).

AN ACT

To amend Code Section 35-6A-11 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to advisory board created and membership relative to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, so as to revise and update the composition of the advisory board; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Code Section 35-6A-11of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to advisory board created and membership relative to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, is amended by revising subsections (a) and (b) as follows:
"(a) There is established an advisory board to the council which shall consist of at least 15 and not more than 33 members appointed by the Governor who have training, experience, or special knowledge concerning the prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency, the

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administration of juvenile justice, or the reduction of juvenile delinquency and shall be composed of:
(1) At least three members of the council, two of whom are not full-time government employees or elected officials; (2) At least one locally elected official representing general purpose local government; (3) Representatives of law enforcement and juvenile justice agencies, including juvenile and family court judges, prosecuting attorneys, attorneys for children and youth, and probation workers; (4) Representatives of public agencies concerned with delinquency prevention or treatment, such as welfare, social services, mental health, education, special education, recreation, and youth services; (5) Representatives of private nonprofit organizations, including individuals with a special focus on preserving and strengthening families, parent groups and parent self-help groups, youth development, delinquency prevention and treatment, neglected or dependent children, the quality of juvenile justice, education, and social services for children; (6) Volunteers who work with delinquent children or potential delinquent children; (7) Representatives of programs that are alternatives to incarceration, including programs providing organized recreation activities; (8) Individuals with special experience and competence in addressing problems related to school violence and vandalism and alternatives to suspension and expulsion; and (9) Persons, licensed or certified by the applicable state, with expertise and competence in preventing and addressing mental health and substance abuse issues in delinquent youth and youth at risk of delinquency; and (10) Representatives of victim or witness advocacy groups, including at least one individual with expertise in addressing the challenges of sexual abuse and exploitation and trauma, particularly the needs of youth who experience disproportionate levels of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trauma before entering the juvenile justice system. (b)(1) A majority of the members of the advisory board, including the chairperson, shall not be full-time employees of the federal, state, or local government. (2) At least one-fifth of the members of the advisory board shall be under 28 years of age at the time of their appointment. (3) At least three members shall have been or shall currently be under the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system of this state or, if not feasible and in appropriate circumstances, shall be a parent or guardian of a person who has been or is currently under the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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DOMESTIC RELATIONS DATING VIOLENCE.

No. 784 (House Bill No. 1452).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 13A of Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to dating violence protective orders, so as to revise a definition; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 13A of Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to dating violence protective orders, is amended by revising paragraph (2) of Code Section 19-13A-1, relating to definitions, as follows:
"(2) 'Dating violence' means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between persons through whom a current pregnancy has developed or who are currently, or within the last 12 months were, in a dating relationship:
(A) Any felony; or (B) Commission of the offenses of simple battery, battery, simple assault, or stalking."

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

__________

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVISES ANNEXATION DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROVISIONS.

No. 785 (House Bill No. 1461).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 36 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to annexation of territory, so as to revise provisions relating to dispute resolution; to provide definitions; to revise notice provisions; to revise provisions relating to deadlines; to provide additional grounds to object to an annexation; to revise qualifications for arbitration panel members; to provide for court reporters and hearing officers during arbitrations; to revise

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provisions relating to sharing the costs of arbitration; to provide for rule making; to authorize virtual and teleconference arbitration meetings; to require arbitration findings to be sent to the Department of Community Affairs; to provide for regular reports on arbitration findings; to revise per diems for arbitration panel members; to extend the period of a zoning freeze following an arbitration; to revise provisions regarding notice municipalities must provide to counties regarding annexation applications; to provide for written notice of public hearings to property owners in proposed areas of annexation, under certain circumstances; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 36 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to annexation of territory, is amended by revising Article 7, relating to procedure for resolving annexation disputes, as follows:

"ARTICLE 7

36-36-110. The procedures of this article shall apply to all annexations pursuant to this chapter but shall not apply to annexations by local Acts of the General Assembly.

36-36-110.1. As used in this article, the term:
(1) 'Cost' or 'costs' means expenses incurred by a county, municipality, and property owner or owners whose property is at issue, including, but not limited to, per diems, venue rental, teleconference charges, the use of court reporters or hearing officers, and arbitrators' fees and expenses. (2) 'Department' means the Department of Community Affairs. (3) 'Impacted school system' means a county or independent school system operating or providing services to the territory to be annexed or which would operate or provide services in a territory to be annexed. (4) 'Notice' or 'notify' means a letter that includes a description of the property to be annexed, a description of the proposed zoning classification and land use of the area to be annexed, and pursuant to Code Section 36-36-4, information on the time and place of the public hearing on zoning of the property to be annexed. (5) 'Verifiable delivery' means hand delivery, electronic mail, certified mail, or statutory overnight delivery, provided that the means of delivery allows for verification of the delivery of such notice.

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36-36-111. Within 30 days of a municipal corporation's acceptance of a petition of annexation, the municipal corporation shall notify the governing authority of the county and any impacted school system in which the territory to be annexed is located by verifiable delivery. Such notice shall include a copy of the annexation petition which shall include the proposed zoning and land use for such area. The municipal corporation shall take no final action on such annexation except as otherwise provided in this article.

36-36-112. If no objection is received as provided in Code Section 36-36-113, the annexation may proceed as otherwise provided by law; provided, however, that as a condition of the annexation, the municipal corporation shall not change the zoning or land use plan relating to the annexed property to a more intense density than that stated in the notice provided for in Code Section 36-36-111 for one year after the effective date of the annexation unless such change is made in the service delivery agreement or comprehensive plan and is adopted by the affected city and county and all required parties.

36-36-113. (a) The county governing authority may by majority vote, as defined by applicable general or local law, object to the annexation because of a material increase in burden upon the county directly related to any one or more of the following:
(1) The proposed change in zoning or land use; (2) Proposed increase in density; and (3) Infrastructure demands related to the proposed change in zoning or land use. (b) Delivery of services may not be a basis for a valid objection but may be used in support of a valid objection if directly related to one or more of the subjects enumerated in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of subsection (a) of this Code section. (c) The objection provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section shall document the nature of the objection specifically providing evidence of any financial impact forming the basis of the objection and shall be delivered to the municipal governing authority and the department by verifiable delivery to be received not later than the end of the forty-fifth calendar day following receipt of the notice provided for in Code Section 36-36-111. (d) In order for an objection pursuant to this Code section to be valid, the proposed annexation must: (1) Result in:
(A) A substantial change in the intensity of the allowable use of the property or a change to a significantly different allowable use; or (B) A use which significantly increases the net cost of infrastructure or significantly diminishes the value or useful life of a capital outlay project, as such term is defined in Code Section 48-8-110, which is furnished by the county to the area to be annexed; and

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(2) Authorize or result in a land use that differs substantially from the existing uses suggested for the property by the county's comprehensive land use plan or permitted for the property pursuant to the county's zoning ordinance or its land use ordinances.

36-36-114. (a) Not later than the fifteenth calendar day following the date the department received the first objection provided for in Code Section 36-36-113, an arbitration panel shall be appointed as provided in this Code section. (b) The arbitration panel shall be composed of five members to be selected as provided in this subsection. The department shall develop three pools of arbitrators, one pool which consists of persons who are currently or within the previous six years have been municipal elected officials, one pool which consists of persons who are currently or within the previous six years have been county elected officials, and one pool which consists of persons with a master's degree or higher in public administration or planning and who are currently employed by an institution of higher learning in this state, other than the Carl Vinson Institute of Government of the University of Georgia. The pool shall be sufficiently large to ensure as nearly as practicable that no person shall be required to serve on more than four panels in any one calendar year and serve on no more than one panel in any given county in any one calendar year. The department is authorized to coordinate with the Georgia Municipal Association, the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the Council of Local Governments, and similar organizations in developing and maintaining such pools. (c) Upon receiving notice of a disputed annexation, the department shall choose at random four names from the pool of municipal officials, four names from the pool of county officials, and three names from the pool of academics; provided, however, that none of such selections shall include a person who is a resident of the county which has interposed the objection or any municipal corporation located wholly or partially in such county, and further provided that none of such selections shall include a person who has already served on four other arbitration panels in the then-current calendar year. The municipal corporation shall be permitted to strike or excuse two of the names chosen from the county officials pool; the county shall be permitted to strike or excuse two of the names chosen from the municipal officials pool; and the county and municipal corporation shall each be permitted to strike or excuse one of the names chosen from the academic pool. (d) Prior to being eligible to serve on any of the three pools, persons interested in serving on such panels shall receive joint training in alternative dispute resolution together with zoning and land use training, which may be designed and overseen by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government of the University of Georgia in conjunction with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association, provided such training is available. Provided that the General Assembly appropriates sufficient funds in an applicable fiscal year, the Carl Vinson Institute of Government of the University of

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Georgia shall provide at least one training program per year to train new potential panel members. (e) At the time any person is selected to serve on a panel for any particular annexation dispute, he or she shall sign the following oath: 'I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will faithfully perform my duties as an arbitrator in a fair and impartial manner without favor or affection to any party, and that I have not and will not have any ex parte communication regarding the facts and circumstances of the matters to be determined, other than communications with my fellow arbitrators, and will only consider, in making my determination, those matters which may lawfully come before me.' (f) The department shall develop and maintain a list of court reporters and hearing officers that may be employed by the department at the request of an arbitration panel to assist the panel in formulating the record before the panel. An arbitration panel may by majority vote of its members elect to employ court reporters and hearing officers from such list. Any costs or charges related to the employment of court reporters and hearing officers pursuant to this subsection shall be evenly divided between the city and the county. (g) The department shall promulgate rules and regulations to provide for uniform procedures and operations of arbitration panels established pursuant to this article. Notwithstanding any provision of Chapter 13 of Title 50, the 'Georgia Administrative Procedure Act,' to the contrary, such proposed rules and regulations shall be submitted to the chairperson of the House Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Committee on State and Local Government Operations.

36-36-115. (a)(1)(A) The arbitration panel appointed pursuant to Code Section 36-36-114 shall meet as soon after appointment as practicable and shall receive evidence and argument from the municipal corporation, the county, and the applicant or property owner and shall by majority vote render a decision which shall be binding on all parties to the dispute as provided for in this article not later than 60 days following such appointment, provided that the chairperson of the arbitration panel shall be authorized to extend such deadline one time for a period of up to ten business days. Notwithstanding anything in this subparagraph to the contrary, the municipal corporation and county may by mutual agreement, postpone the arbitration procession for a period of up to 180 days to negotiate a potential settlement, and such postponement shall stay the 60 day deadline provided herein. (B) Meetings of the panel may occur in person, virtually, or via teleconference. The meetings of the panel in which evidence is submitted or arguments of the parties are made, whether such meeting is in person, virtual, or via teleconference, shall be open to the public pursuant to Chapter 14 of Title 50. (C) The panel shall first determine the validity of the grounds for objection as specified in the objection. If an objection involves the financial impact on the county as a result of a change in zoning or land use or the provision of maintenance of infrastructure, the

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panel shall quantify such impact in terms of cost. As to any objection which the panel has determined to be valid, the panel, in its findings, may establish reasonable zoning, land use, or density conditions applicable to the annexation and propose any reasonable mitigating measures as to an objection pertaining to infrastructure demands. (2) In arriving at its determination, the panel shall consider: (A) The existing comprehensive land use plans of both the county and city; (B) The existing land use patterns in the area of the subject property; (C) The existing zoning patterns in the area of the subject property; (D) Each jurisdiction's provision of infrastructure to the area of the subject property and to the areas in the vicinity of the subject property; (E) Whether the county has approved similar changes in intensity or allowable uses on similar developments in other unincorporated areas of the county; (F) Whether the county has approved similar developments in other unincorporated areas of the county which have a similar impact on infrastructure as complained of by the county in its objection; and (G) Whether the infrastructure or capital outlay project which is claimed adversely impacted by the county in its objection was funded by a county-wide tax. (3) The county shall provide supporting evidence that its objection is consistent with its land use plan and the pattern of existing land uses and zonings in the area of the subject property, which may include, but not be limited to, adopted planning documents and capital or infrastructure plans. (4) The cost of the arbitration shall be equally divided between the city and the county; provided, however, that if the panel determines that any party has advanced a position that is not valid, the costs shall be borne by the party or parties that have advanced such position. (5) The reasonable costs of participation in the arbitration process of the property owner or owners whose property is at issue shall be borne by the county and the city in the same proportion as costs are apportioned under paragraph (4) of this subsection. (6) The panel shall deliver its findings and recommendations to the parties and the department by verifiable delivery. The department shall maintain a data base and record of arbitration panel results and at least annually publish a report on such decisions and make such report freely available on the department's website. (b) If the decision of the panel contains zoning, land use, or density conditions, the findings and recommendations of the panel shall be recorded in the deed records of the county with a caption describing the name of the current owner of the property, recording reference of the current owner's acquisition deed and a general description of the property, and plainly showing the expiration date of any restrictions or conditions. (c) The arbitration panel shall be dissolved on the tenth day after it renders its findings and recommendations but may be reconvened as provided in Code Section 36-36-116.

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(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of Code Section 45-7-21, the members of the arbitration panel shall receive the same per diem, expenses, and allowances for their service on the panel as authorized by law for members of the General Assembly. (e) If the panel so agrees, any one or more additional annexation disputes which may arise between the parties prior to the panel's initial meeting may be consolidated for the purpose of judicial economy if there are similar issues of location or similar objections raised to such other annexations or the property to be annexed in such other annexations is within 2,500 feet of the subject property.

36-36-116. The municipal or county governing authority or an applicant for annexation may appeal the decision of the arbitration panel by filing an action in the superior court of the county within ten calendar days from receipt of the panel's findings and recommendations. The sole grounds for appeal shall be to correct errors of fact or of law, the bias or misconduct of an arbitrator, or the panel's abuse of discretion. The superior court shall schedule an expedited appeal and shall render a decision within 20 days from the date of filing. If the court finds that an error of fact or law has been made, that an arbitrator was biased or engaged in misconduct, or that the panel has abused its discretion, the court shall issue such orders governing the proposed annexation as the circumstances may require, including remand to the panel. Any unappealed order shall be binding upon the parties. The appeal shall be assigned to a judge who is not a judge in the circuit in which the county is located.

36-36-117. If the annexation is completed after final resolution of any objection, whether by agreement of the parties, act of the panel, or court order as a result of an appeal, the municipal corporation shall not change the zoning, land use, or density of the annexed property for a period of two years unless such change is made in the service delivery agreement or comprehensive plan and adopted by the affected city and county and all required parties. Following the conclusion of the dispute resolution process outlined in this article, the municipal corporation and an applicant for annexation may either accept the recommendations of the arbitration panel and proceed with the remaining annexation process or abandon the annexation proceeding. A violation of the conditions set forth in this Code section may be enforced thereafter at law or in equity until such conditions have expired as provided in this Code section.

36-36-118. If at any time during the proceedings the municipal corporation or applicant abandons the proposed annexation, the county shall not change the zoning, land use, or density affecting the property for a period of one year unless such change is made in the service delivery agreement or comprehensive plan and adopted by the affected city and county and all required parties. A violation of the conditions set forth in this Code section may be

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enforced thereafter at law or in equity until such period has expired. After final resolution of any objection, whether by agreement of the parties, act of the panel, or any appeal from the panel's decision, the terms of such decision shall remain valid for the two-year period and such annexation may proceed at any time during the two years without any further action or without any further right of objection by the county.

36-36-119. The county, the municipal governing authorities, and the property owner or owners shall negotiate in good faith throughout the annexation proceedings provided by this article and may at any time enter into a written agreement governing the annexation. Such agreement may provide for changing the zoning, land use, or density of the annexed property during a period of less than two years. If such agreement is reached after the arbitration panel has been appointed and before its dissolution, such agreement shall be adopted by the panel as its findings and recommendations. If such agreement is reached after an appeal is filed in the superior court and before the court issues an order, such agreement shall be made a part of the court's order. Any agreement reached as provided in this Code section shall be recorded as provided in Code Section 36-36-115. Copies of such agreement shall also be provided by the parties to the department in the same manner as the findings and recommendations of an arbitration panel."

SECTION 2. Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 36-36-6, relating to notice by municipal governing authority to county governing authority of proposed annexation, as follows:
"36-36-6. Upon accepting an application for annexation pursuant to Code Section 36-36-21 or a petition for annexation pursuant to Code Section 36-36-32, or upon adopting a resolution calling for an annexation referendum pursuant to Code Section 36-36-57, the governing authority of the annexing municipality shall within 30 days give written notice of the proposed annexation to the governing authority of the county wherein the area proposed for annexation is located. Such notice shall include a map or other description of the site proposed to be annexed sufficient to identify the area. Where the proposed annexation is to be effected by a local Act of the General Assembly, a copy of the proposed legislation shall be provided by the governing authority of the municipality to the governing authority of the county in which the property proposed to be annexed is located following the receipt of such notice by the governing authority of the municipality under subsection (b) of Code Section 28-1-14."

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SECTION 3. Said Chapter is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 36-36-36, relating to requirement of public hearing, notice of time and place, persons entitled to be heard, and right of property owner to withdraw consent, as follows:
"(a) The municipal governing body shall hold a public hearing on any application which has been determined to meet the requirements of this article. The hearing shall be held not less than 15 nor more than 45 days from the time the governing body makes a determination that the petition is valid. Notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be given in writing to the persons presenting the application and shall be advertised once a week for two consecutive weeks immediately preceding the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipal corporation and in the area proposed for annexation. Written notice of the time and place of the hearing shall also be sent by mail to the mailing address reflected in the property tax records for each property owner whose property is in the area proposed for annexation. The written notice required under this subsection shall be mailed not less than 15 nor more than 45 days before the date of the hearing required by this subsection."

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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SOCIAL SERVICES PROVIDES FOR REGISTRATION OF MATERNITY SUPPORTIVE HOUSING RESIDENCES TO PROVIDE HOUSING FOR PREGNANT WOMEN.

No. 787 (Senate Bill No. 116).

AN ACT

To amend Article 1 of Chapter 5 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to children and youth services, so as to provide for registration of maternity supportive housing residences to provide housing for pregnant women; to define a term; to provide for requirements; to prohibit additional rules and regulations; to prohibit constraints imposed by local governments; to provide for statutory construction; to provide for related matters; to provide a short title; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

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SECTION 1. This Act shall be known and may be cited as "Betsy's Law."

SECTION 2. Article 1 of Chapter 5 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to children and youth services, is amended in Code Section 49-5-3, relating to definitions, by adding a new paragraph to read as follows:
"(13.1) 'Maternity supportive housing residence' means a residential home that houses on behalf of a nonprofit organization up to six pregnant women aged 18 years or older and their minor children at any one time during the woman's pregnancy and up to 18 months after childbirth; provided, however, that no medical services shall be provided. This term shall not include: (i) a child welfare agency, as defined in Code Section 49-5-12; (ii) the residential home of a relative in which a woman receives maternity care; or (iii) a general or special hospital."

SECTION 3. Said article is further amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"49-5-25. (a)(1) On and after July 1, 2022, all maternity supportive housing residences shall register in accordance with this Code section by submitting an application to the department upon forms furnished by the department. The form furnished by the department shall require the name, address, and telephone number of the maternity supportive housing residence and emergency contact information. (2) A registrant shall be required to pay an annual registration fee of $250.00 to the department. (3) The department shall issue a registration certificate, valid for one year, to a maternity supportive housing residence upon receipt of an application for registration, payment of the registration fee, and notarized attestation by the applicant, along with applicable supporting documentation, that the maternity supportive housing residence: (A) Has written policies and procedures for admission, intake, and record keeping; (B) Is in compliance with applicable residential building codes; (C) Has property insurance coverage on the residence; and (D) Has the ability to provide, either directly or through partnerships with local nonprofits or government agencies and programs, assistance with wraparound services such as nutritional support, childcare, transportation, and vocational training.
(b) The department shall not have the authority to implement rules and regulations for the registration of maternity supportive housing residences but shall have the authority to maintain any records submitted by a residence pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection (a) of this Code section. (c) No county, municipality, or consolidated government shall, by rule or ordinance, constrain the establishment or operation of maternity supportive housing residences or

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place occupancy requirements on such residences that would not apply to a single family living in the residence. (d) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to require a maternity home to register with the department pursuant to this Code section or for a maternity supportive housing residence to obtain a license or permit as a maternity home or to meet the requirements of a maternity home."

SECTION 4. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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STATE GOVERNMENT REVISES PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO STATE FLAG.

No. 788 (Senate Bill No. 152).

AN ACT

To amend Article 1 of Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the state and other flags, so as to add language to the pledge of allegiance to the state flag; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1. Article 1 of Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the state and other flags, is amended by revising Code Section 50-3-2, relating to the pledge of allegiance to the state flag, as follows:
"50-3-2. The following is adopted as the pledge of allegiance to the state flag:
'I pledge allegiance to the Georgia flag and to the principles for which it stands: Wisdom, Justice, Moderation, and Courage.'"

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved May 2, 2022.

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