New Georgia laws going into effect on July 1

ATLANTA — Thursday will be a big day for Georgia as hundreds of new laws go into effect.

From an overhaul of the election law to citizen’s arrest to teen driving -- Here’s a look at just some of the new laws in Georgia:

New Election Law

Georgia’s new election law has garnered national attention. SB 202 passed along party lines in the state Senate and went to the governor’s desk shortly after. After he signed it, the most of the law went into effect.

There are six sections that become effective on July 1 and those relate to absentee ballot items, such as designing a new form and envelope, etc.

Republican supporters say the law is needed to restore confidence in Georgia’s elections. Democrats say it will restrict voting access, especially for voters of color.


Citizen’s Arrest

Gov. Brian Kemp signed House Bill 479, which was the repeal of Georgia’s citizen arrest law.

Kemp and state lawmakers have been pushing for the repeal for nearly a year following the death of Ahmaud Arbery and the shocking video that circulated months later.

Kemp said during the signing ceremony that he was proud to sign the bill while also protecting “every Georgian’s sacred right to defend their person and property.”


Teen Driving

Starting on July 1, “Joshua’s Law” will require 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds to take a safety course before they can get their license.

“Joshua’s Law,” also known as House Bill 466, passed during this year’s legislative session. Currently, 17-year-olds are exempt from 30 hours of program instruction and the six hours of road training.

The Georgia Department of Driver Services says anyone under the age of 18 will not be issued their initial Class D license without completing the required training.


Cocktails To-Go

Restaurants will be able to sell cocktails to-go for “off-premises consumption in approved containers under certain conditions.”

Alcohol industry officials said that has been vital to the survival of the hospitality business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated Georgia’s hospitality businesses, and it will take years for them to fully recover,” said Jay Hibbard, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Senior Vice President of State Government Relations. “Hospitality businesses are desperate for a sustained source of revenue, and cocktails to-go provide a critical lifeline.”


Porch Pirates

Stealing a package off someone’s yard could land a thief felony charges and prison time.

The so-called “Porch Pirate” bill is defined as taking three or more packages from three or more different addresses.

People who are convicted of the crime could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison.


Law Enforcement Budgets

Gov. Kemp signed into law a bill that would prevent local governments from reducing funding to law enforcement.

There was passionate debate on the bill when it passed the House in February.

Republicans say it prevents counties or cities from defunding the police while Democrats say it really takes control of law enforcement out of local hands.


Here’s a list of all of the signed legislation going into effect on July 1.