The new year also brings in new Georgia laws that give greater rights to crime victims, impose sales taxes on internet purchases and expand insurance coverage for autism.
Several Georgia laws take effect Jan. 1 after they won approval from the Georgia General Assembly last spring and were signed by Gov. Nathan Deal.
Most bills in Georgia become law each year on July 1, but state legislators set later dates for several measures.
One of them is called Marsy’s Law, an amendment to the Georgia Constitution that 81 percent of voters approved during the general election in November.
The law requires that crime victims receive notifications before hearings in cases involving defendants accused of harming them. State laws on the books already require notification for crime victims as their cases move through the legal process, but now those rights are enshrined in the Georgia Constitution.
Marsy’s Law is named for Marsy Nicholas, a University of California-Santa Barbara student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. A week after Nicholas was killed, her mother and brother were confronted by the ex-boyfriend in a grocery store.