New laws take effect in Georgia, South Carolina on July 1

It will cost motorists who buy gas in the Palmetto state 2 cents per gallon more starting Saturday, as the first of six increases in South Carolina’s gas tax kicks in.

 

The motor fuel tax will rise from 16 cents to 28 cents over the next six years through annual 2-cent hikes. The tax paid to register new cars will rise from $300 to $500.

The money is supposed to be used to fix the state’s crumbling infrastructure, especially roads and bridges.

In Georgia, students, professors and administrators at public colleges will be able to bring their guns on campuses across Georgia under the new “campus carry” law that takes effect Saturday.

Gov. Nathan Deal, who signed the bill into law, has said the measure would offer protection against killers who target campuses because they have been “gun-free zones.”

Weapons must be concealed and those who carry must have a license to do so.

Here are some other Georgia laws that take effect Saturday :

Failing schools

The state would first partner with school districts, bringing in a consultant to determine why they are failing. Then, the school districts must implement agreed-upon solutions. The districts are supposed to foot the bill, but can plead financial hardship. If a district is still failing after three years, it can be taken over or have its students sent to another district. The Georgia Department of Education will be in charge of compiling a list of failing schools. In Richmond County, there are 21 schools considered chronically failingt. The school system ranked behind only DeKalb County (26) and the Atlanta Public School District (23) for most failing schools in Georgia. Consistently failing schools are defined as those scoring below 60 on the Georgia Department of Education’s accountability measure, the College and Career Performance Index, for three consecutive years.

Medical marijuana

Six more conditions now are eligible for treatment with cannabis oil: AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome. People in hospice care also can use it legally. The oil can contain no more than 5 percent THC, the compound that produces marijuana’s high. Patients and their doctors have to be registered with the state.

Film tax break

Companies that do post-production work could get a 20 percent tax credit if they have at least a $250,000 payroll in Georgia and spend $500,000 a year in the state. The film industry has an economic impact of $7 billion in Georgia, the third-highest in the country, behind California and New York, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Here’s a look at some of the other new South Carolina laws that take effect Saturday :

State employees pension reform

Employees and employers will contribute more, and the assumed rate of return has been reduced. Employers will pay 2 percentage points more, for a total of 13.56 percent for non-police employees, 16.24 percent for police officers. That contribution will rise one percentage point per year after fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2023. Employee contributions will rise to no more than a total of 9 percent for non-police employees, 9.75 for police.

Bigger fish

A new law increases the size limit for flounder that “may be lawfully taken, possessed, landed, sold or purchased” to 15 inches “total length,” and sets the catch limit at no more than 20 “in any one day on any boat.”

Crime Victim Services

The Crime Victim Services Division is being created within the state Attorney General’s Office and transfers existing agencies, such as the Crime Victim Ombudsman, to the new division. The director will be appointed by the attorney general.

Other South Carolina legislative highlights that are already in effect, or will be, include:

A law that protects any person who seeks help for someone who has overdosed on drugs or alcohol from prosecution took effect in June. The protection applies even to underage drinkers.

Moped drivers will have to start wearing helmets if they’re younger than 21, and anyone riding a moped while drinking alcohol is subject to arrest for DUI under a new law that will take effect in November 2018. The state Department of Motor Vehicles told legislators it first needed to revamp the state’s driver’s licenses to meet federal Read ID requirements before developing a software system to deal with mopeds, which must now be registered like cars or motorcycles.

 

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Thu, 11/23/2017 - 17:28

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