FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed more than 300 bills into law in 2019, and many went into effect Jan. 1.

Back in April, the governor signed 21 bills into law that went into effect July 1. Those new laws covered issues from human trafficking to flag displays.

The latest series of new laws run the gamut from expanding deductions for college savings plans to narrowing the criteria for those placed on the child abuse registry.

Here’s a rundown of some of the new laws that went into effect Jan. 1:

  • HB 166 establishes licensing requirements for genetic counselors. The law mandates continuing education for these professionals who create treatment plans for individuals or families affected by or at risk of genetic disorders.  
  • HB 478 sets stricter requirements to list someone on the state's child abuse registry. Abusers can now only be listed if they are 18 years old. Formerly, those as young as 13 could be listed. The process for having a review hearing before being added to the list or having a name expunged has also been updated.
  • HB 266 doubles the tax-deductible contribution you can make to a 529 savings plan from $2,000 to $4,000 per child if you're a single taxpayer and from $4,000 to $8,000 per year if you file jointly with a spouse.
  • HB 182 requires remote sellers and online retailers to collect and submit state and local sales taxes if they exceed $100,000 in Georgia gross revenue. Studies estimate the state could realize up to $3.9 million in annual tax revenue from the new law.
  • HB 63 provides doctors a way around what is commonly referred to as "step therapy," a protocol contained in health insurance plans that requires physicians to try certain preferred medications first and have those drugs fail before moving on to a medication that might be more suitable for the condition. The law now gives doctors a way to apply for exceptions to avoid step therapy and quickly start patients on the medication they recommend.
  • HB 288 establishes flat, predictable and in most cases higher fees that clerks of the superior courts are entitled to charge for filing documents and instruments pertaining to real estate or personal property. It also provides for a flat sum structure, a repeal of certain related alternative fees and a repeal or provisions related to additional fees and costs in counties having a certain sized population.
  • HB 507 revises the criteria used by tax assessors to determine the fair market value of real property. Tax assessors now shall apply the existing zoning, use, covenants or restrictions, bank sales, and rent limitations in determining the fair market value.

Denise Ray is a Reporter with Appen Media Group and covers Forsyth county.

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