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Posted: July 3, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Do you know your new laws?

Gun law, others went into effect July 1

The new gun law went into effect July 1, with the beginning of the fiscal year marking the start of many bills passed by Gov. Nathan Deal during the most recent legislative session.

While some bills went into effect immediately upon Deal’s signing them, most typically wait until the beginning of the month each year.

House Bill (HB) 60, legally titled the Georgia Safe Carry Protection Act and nicknamed the “guns everywhere” bill by critics, addresses an array of gun-carrying rights. According to GeorgiaCourts.gov, the bill allows licensed carriers to bring a firearm into a bar unless the bar posts a notice prohibiting weapons. Carriers can also bring a gun into a church if the church wishes to allow weapons. Firearms are now also allowed in the public areas of airports if the person has a carry license.

School boards may designate staff members to carry guns at schools and are not required to state if they choose to do so, nor are they required to publicize who they designate.

Licensed carriers can bring a firearm into a municipal or city building unless the entrance is secured by a screening device or personnel, and a person cannot be detained for the sole purpose of investigating whether or not the person has a carry license.

Former and current judges who have a carry license may bring their firearm into court.

Slow-poke law addresses passing lane
Also having gone into effect July 1, drivers can now be pulled over for failing to move out of the left lane on any four-lane road if oncoming traffic from behind is approaching at a faster speed.

HB 459, also called the “slow-poke law,” applies unless reduced speeds in the left lane are required for safe operations, according to the bill’s text on Georgia.gov, which may include:

• Traffic conditions or congestion

• Inclement weather, obstructions or hazards

• Compliance with an unrelated state law or official traffic control device

• Exiting or turning left

• Paying or passing tolls

• The presence of emergency vehicles or maintenance and construction vehicles engaged in official duties

Drivers will be ticketed with a misdemeanor.
Also among new traffic laws, HB 774 increases the speed limit on interstates in urban areas – a population of more than 50,000 – to 60 mph.

Criminal justice
HB 845 puts heavier restrictions on who can publish mugshots and when they are allowed to so do, including journalistic publications.

SB 320 creates a special Veterans Court Divisions for criminal court cases.

SB 365, called the Fair Business Practices Act, helps offenders re-enter society.

Health and assistance
SB 23, called the Stacey Nicole English Act, helps aid in the location of missing persons.

SB 391 requires all medical facilities in Georgia to apply for the TRICARE network.

Education
HB 697, called the Zell Miller Grant, awards a full-tuition scholarship to technical college students who maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher.

SB 288 requires high school athletic leagues to disclose annual financial documents to participate in or sponsor interscholastic sporting events.

For complete information and texts of the bills that went into effect Tuesday, go to Georgia.gov.

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