Sen. Kirkpatrick flags laws that go into effect in Georgia on July 1

The office of Georgia Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. (R-Marietta) distributed the following press release on June 28…

Over the course of the 40-day legislative session that convened in January and adjourned in April, hundreds of pieces of legislation received final passage from both the Senate and House of Representatives. Upon adjournment, the governor has 40 days to either sign legislation into law, veto the legislation, or take no action on the bill or resolution, allowing it to become law. During the 2019 legislative session, several bills were signed in our 40 days at the Capitol, and even more were signed after session adjourned. Some of these pieces of legislation took effect immediately while others had an effective date written into the bill. A great number of the bills that received final passage have an effective date of July 1, as this date is the beginning of our new fiscal year. Below I have listed a handful of the bills that were passed during the 2019 session that will become effective on July 1, 2019.

S.B. 6 will prohibit an unmanned aircraft system, or drone, from flying over places of incarceration, including photographing or recording images without authorization by the warden, superintendent or their designated representative. Individuals who use a drone to drop contraband over a place of incarceration would be guilty of a felony with imprisonment of one to 10 years, while individuals who use a drone for unauthorized photography or videoing over a place of incarceration would be guilty of a felony with imprisonment of one to five years.

– S.B. 16 authorizes the Georgia Composite Medical Board to administer the Georgia Interstate Medical Licensure Compact to allow qualified doctors to be eligible for an expedited licensure process to practice medicine in Georgia.

– S.B. 18 will allow physicians to provide health care to a patient through a direct primary care agreement without being subject to insurance regulations. This will allow flexibility for both the patient and doctor to come up with a health plan that best suits both parties.

– S.B 31 will ensure that law enforcement officers would not be liable for action taken at the scene of an emergency when rescuing a person or pet from a locked vehicle when there is clear and imminent danger to the health of the individual or animal.

– S.B. 48 will instruct the State Board of Education to develop a policy of dyslexia screening for all kindergarten students, referral for students with identified dyslexia characteristics in grades one to three, as well as screening for those who did not attend kindergarten or were not screened in kindergarten. The bill will also require the Georgia Department of Education to implement guidance and training in all schools regarding the teaching of students with dyslexia and will instruct the State School Superintendent to establish a pilot program in dyslexia education.

– H.B. 63 defines “step therapy protocol” as an evidence based program that establishes a set sequence to determine if prescriptions for a certain condition are considered medically appropriate. HB 63 also outlines certain exceptions from step therapy protocol.

– H.B. 217 will exempt syringe services programs from civil and criminal liability for possession, distribution and exchange of hypodermic syringes and needles, regardless of knowledge of its drug-related use. This legislation is specifically beneficial to Cobb County and I am hopeful that the legislation will help combat the HIV epidemic in our community.

– H.B. 282 requires that in cases where a victim reports a sexual assault to law enforcement, the investigating law enforcement agency will be required to maintain all physical evidence that contains biological material for 30 years from the date of arrest, or seven years from the completion of the sentence, whichever occurs last. If no arrests are made, the evidence must be maintained for 50 years.

As you can see, I have listed several bills relating to health care and public safety, as I sponsored, carried, or supported many of these pieces of legislation as they came through the legislature. These are just a few of the many bills that will become effective on July 1, and I encourage you to visit the link below to see the full list of bills signed by the governor and note the date each will become effective. If you have any questions on the bills listed above, or legislation that received passage during the 2019 session, please reach out to my office and I will be happy to help.

For the full list of legislation signed by the governor, please go to

Sen. Kirkpatrick serves as chairman of the Ethics Committee. She represents the 32nd Senate District, which includes portions of East Cobb and Sandy Springs. She may be reached at 404.656.3932 or