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New year brings with it new laws for the State of Georgia

By BECKY CRISSMAN
becky.crissman@cordeledispatch.com

ATLANTA — The new year has arrived, bringing with it new legislation signed into law by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.
Among them is House Bill 152, which will go into effect on July 1 prohibiting anyone under the age of 21 from entering a bar. Known as Michael’s law, after Michael Gatto an 18-year old Georgia Southern freshman who was beaten to death by 20-year old Grant Spencer, an off duty bouncer for Rude Rudy’s bar in Statesboro.
Michael’s Law will do the following;
• Raise the age limit for bouncers to 21 or older
• Strengthen reporting requirements for bars. Establishments must report alcohol related incidents to the state.
• Ensures that no one under the age of 21 will be allowed to drink or serve alcohol in bars that generate more than 75% of their sales from alcohol.
• No individual under the age of 21 shall enter or be allowed to enter a bar unless he or she is accompanied by his or her parent, guardian, or spouse who is 21 years of age or older.
There will be exceptions such as if an individual is attending a live musical concert or live presentation of the performing arts for which he or she has paid an admission charge. A requirement of the law will be to report all violations to the Department of Revenue who will have the authority to revoke a business license within 45 days of the infraction. Gov. Deal hopes the new law will aid in fighting underage drinking.
On a more local level, House Bill 388 has been presented by Rep. Buddy Harden of the 148th District. This bill will provide that “the judge of the Probate Court of Wilcox County will also serve as the Chief Magistrate of the Magistrate Court of Wilcox County on or after June 1, 2015 or upon vacancy of the office of Chief Magistrate; to provide for the compensation of such judge for service as Chief Magistrate; to provide for the continuation in and expiration of term of the current Chief Magistrate; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”
For a complete list of new bills and laws for 2016 visit Georgia.gov/bills-signed/2015.