ATLANTA — There are several new laws that will go into effect staring on Jan. 1. Most laws typically take effect July 1 from the legislative year, but some laws have provisions that delay their effective date until the beginning of the next year.
Here are some of the new laws you need to know about:
THE INFORM CONSUMERS ACT:
The Inform Consumers Act, SB 332, helps to prevent criminals from selling goods stolen from retail stores on any online marketplace platform. It also requires sellers to provide their contact information to consumers when their annual revenue on the marketplace exceeds $20,000. Sellers who do not comply with this new law will be prohibited from using online marketplaces further, and the attorney general is now empowered to enforce compliance with these disclosure requirements.
FOOD TRUCK PERMITS:
HB 1443 creates a statewide permitting process for food trucks. Under the law, food truck operators could use the permit they obtain in the county they operate in other counties.
Currently, food trucks must pass a health inspection and obtain a permit for every county where they want to operate, costing some small business owners tens of thousands of dollars and many hours.
Any county would still be allowed to conduct a health inspection, but the amount they could charge for those inspections would be limited. The counties also would be able to verify the permits and other paperwork using a Department of Public Health database.
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THE ‘LESS’ CRIME ACT:
The Law Enforcement Strategic Support (LESS) Crime Act, SB 361, establishes a new funding avenue for local law enforcement agencies through a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit.
Capped at $100 million for the first year, the credit allows taxpayers and corporations to directly support their community’s public safety initiatives through an affiliated law enforcement foundation. Agencies will be authorized to use the funds to increase officer salaries, hire additional officers, expand training programs, purchase or maintain department equipment and establish or maintain a co-responder program for de-escalating behavioral health emergencies.
INCREASED TAX CREDIT LIMIT FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO RURAL HOSPITALS:
HB 1041 raises the cap on income tax credits for contributions to rural hospital organizations from $60 million to $75 million per year.
The RHTC was established in 2017 and allows taxpayers to donate to eligible rural hospitals and reduce their state income tax liability by the amounts they donate. Taxpayers may choose a specific hospital or, if one is not designated, the hospital will be chosen based on a ranking of need.
The bill was one of several signed by Gov. Brian Kemp designed to benefit patients in Georgia and strengthen the state’s health care system.
HB 328 establishes a one-time right of way permit fee and reduces the annual right of way use fees paid to municipalities 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.
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