The next fiscal year also begins, operating under a budget that boosts spending for K-12 education, universities, mental health and public safety.
Here are a few of the most Georgians will notice:
MENTAL HEALTH OVERHAUL
Reform of mental healthcare in the state received bipartisan support when it passed both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly.
HB 1013 pressures insurance companies to improve coverage of mental illnesses, including addictions. The law requires publicly funded insurance programs to spend more on patient care. It provides for loan forgiveness for people studying to become mental health professionals.
TRANSGENDER ATHLETE BAN
Late on the final day of the legislative session, Georgia lawmakers passed a bill that put the Georgia High School Association in charge of deciding whether transgender girls could participate in sanctioned high school sports based on their gender identity.
The measure was part of House Bill 1084, which banned "divisive concepts" and established an outside oversight committee over the Georgia High School Association.
‘DIVISIVE CONCEPT’ BANS IN SCHOOLS
Concepts include "fundamentally or systematically racist," that any people are "inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously," and that no one "should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of his or her race."
School districts are required to respond to complaints from parents. The State Board of Education was tasked with setting up a complaint resolution process by July 1. The state board has the authority to prohibit certain waivers for school districts that don't act on complaints.
The Georgia State Capitol is seen on January 06, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
JAYE MIZE LAW INCREASING STREET RACING PENALTIES
SB 10 increased penalties for drag racing. A first offense would impose a mandatory $1,000 fine and six driver's license points.
The law also makes it an offense to promote illegal drag racing.
PROHIBIT STATE, LOCAL COVID-19 VACCINE PASSPORTS
SB345 prevents any agency linked to state, county or municipal government from requiring someone to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before providing any service or entrance or as a "condition of a person or private entity's performance of any regular activity."
Facilities under federal regulations or places where people are working under a federal government contract are exempt.
HB 1 or the "Forming Open and Robust University Minds (FORUM)" Act prevents the creation of so-called "free speech zones" where universities designate areas for protest and other forms of expression.
The law makes "unrestricted outdoor areas" on college and university campuses public forums for students and employees. Institutions are allowed to institute time, place and manner restrictions.
FEE TO RE-ISSUE DRIVER’S LICENSES, PERMITS INCREASES
HB 246 makes it slightly more costly for people to replace a lost, damaged or stolen driver’s license or permit.
The price of replacing an original permit or license increased from $5 to $10. A limited driving permit increased from $25 to $32.
CAR REGISTRATION PENALTIES INCREASE
HB 1089 Georgia drivers are required to pay $145 for each car with unpaid registration.
GEORGIA CAREGIVERS ACT
HB 1304 requires hospitals to permit patients to specify their lay caregivers after discharge. A patient can change their caregiver by notifying the hospital. The bill provides legal definitions for "lay caregiver," "aftercare," and "discharge."
Senate Bill 543 takes away a parent’s right to recovery against the value of a child’s life if they are responsible for the homicide of their child.
NEW GEORGIA LAWS ALREADY IN EFFECT
Georgians are already living in a state where state motor fuel taxes are suspended under House Bill 304, and where many households have pocketed $250 or $500 from a $1.1 billion one-time state income tax refund under House Bill 1302. Permits are no longer required to carry concealed handguns in public under Senate Bill 319, and parents can opt students out of school mask mandates through mid-2027 under Senate Bill 514.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.