New Laws will go into Effect in Georgia on January 1st, 2021

ATLANTA — On Jan. 1, several bills signed by Gov. Brian Kemp during the 2019-20 legislative session will take effect. There are several other bills designed to protect consumers - including the "Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act," and a bill that would regulate some automatic renewals for some contract services. From surprise medical billing to designating an official state grape, here are some of the laws that take effect in the new year.

HB 752: This bill would require physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to submit to an FBI background check through the Georgia Crime Information Center in order to be licensed in the state.

HB 838: The bill would change the name of the Office of Public Safety Officer Support within the state Department of Public Safety to the Office of Public Safety Support. However, during the summer, it also became known as the "Police Hate Crimes Bill," as anyone found to "intimidate, harass or terrorize" a police officer, because they are a police officer, would be guilty of a bias-motivated crime - i.e. a hate crime.

HB 888: Also called the Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act, this bill would provide for certain consumer protections against surprise billing. It would also establish methods to resolve payment disputes between insurers and out-of-network providers and an arbitration process.

HB 914: It would allow military spouses licensed in other states to practice certain professions and occupations and obtain a license to practice in this state.

HB 983: Would revise the information required to be provided by sexual offenders when they register in order to allow a sexual offender who is in a state or privately operated hospice facility, skilled nursing home, or residential health care facility to satisfy the annual registration requirements by registering at any time during the sexual offender's month of birth and to remove the requirement that a sexual offender in those facilities be fingerprinted - with the approval of the sheriff of the county where the offender lives

HB 1037: This bill pertains to Georgia's booming film and entertainment industry and would move certain sound recordings from "qualified production activities" to production expenditures.

HB 1039: This bill pertains to automatic renewals and would provide additional protections for consumers who enter into contracts that "contain lengthy automatic renewal provisions."

HB 1125: Also called Lacee's Law, the bill would provide coverage under the state health benefits plan for additional screening to individuals at high risk of breast cancer.