New Georgia laws go into effect July 1, 2016

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga (WRDW/WAGT) -- Starting July 1, a batch of new laws will go into effect in Georgia.
The laws affect the police, courts, schools and even our health.

Here's a list of some of the bigger laws getting the most attention.

House Bill 965 - The Honorable Jimmy Carter Cancer Treatment Access Act

This law is inspired by Former President Jimmy Carter after his recent battle with cancer.
It will help people get access to the same drugs that helped him and saved his life.
Starting July 1, insurance companies will not be able to limit coverage for advanced drugs for Stage 4 cancer patients.
Before the law, some patients were forced to try other treatments before being allowed to get more aggressive drugs like the ones that helped Carter.

House Bill 34 - Georgia Right to Try Act

This law will let terminally ill patients use experimental drugs.
The FDA's drug-approval process can take more than a decade.
Advocates for this law say that's too long to wait on medications with so many people dying from terminal illness.
The drugs must be at least undergoing clinical trials, but do not have to have full approval from the FDA.

House Bill 941 - Procedures for grand jury proceedings when a law enforcement officer used deadly force

There's now a law affecting police officers faced with possible charges for using deadly force.
Officers were originally allowed to sit in on their own grand jury proceedings.
They could listen to evidence and then make a statement at the end that could not be questioned or challenged.
But now, officers can not be present for the entire proceeding and they will face questioning once they make a statement.
This law comes after nationwide criticism and increasing scrutiny of officers' use of force.

House Bill 792 - Allowing students to carry electroshock weapons on college campuses

18-year-old college students will now be able to carry tasers and stun guns on campus.
This bill was made as another option for students wanting to protect themselves on campus without allowing deadly weapons.
Governor Deal vetoed the Campus Carry Bill that would have let students carry guns on campus.
The law says the tasers can only be used for self defense.

House Bill 152 - Michael's Law

You now have to be 21 to enter any bar in Georgia.
Bouncers and bartenders will also have to be 21 to work in a bar.
It's called Michael's Law named 18-year-old Michael Gatto who died after he was assaulted by a 20-year-old bouncer soon after Michael started college.
The only exception is if the person under 21 is accompanied by a parent, guardian or spouse who is at least 21 years old.
They can also enter the bar if they've paid to see some type of concert or performance at the bar.
Governor Deal signed the law to also combat underage drinking.
It passed last year, but Gov. Deal gave bars a year to prepare for the change.

Senate Bill 364 - Revises state-mandated tests and teacher, principal, and assistant principal evaluations

This law reduces the number of state-mandated tests allowed.
It will also lessen how testing results can influence teacher evaluations.
That means tests will drop from counting as at 50% of a teacher's evaluation down to 30%.
This law is even more significant with all the controversy over the Georgia Milestones.

For a complete list of the new laws, click on the link to the right of this article.