Kemp signs bevy of bills, many related to health care

Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday signed into law nearly three dozen bills, many of them related to health care. Tuesday’s signings were the first of two bill events scheduled for this week, with the governor expected to sign more on Friday.

What’s Happening

The bills signed into law at the state Capitol on Tuesday resulted from a wide range of legislation. The new laws let pharmacy techs administer shots, require potential would-be fathers to submit to genetic testing to determine paternity, expand public aid to expectant mothers, provide more access to health care and allow homeowners to use their gas-powered leaf blowers to their hearts’ content. Georgians also will have their choice of insurance options through a soon-to-be-created, state-based health insurance exchange, joining 18 other states.

Kemp’s signature also provides protection for people and places. Senate Bill 197, for instance, bans health care practitioners from misrepresenting themselves or using deceptive or misleading advertising. House Bill 165 authorizes the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to keep normally public information about local historic entities private if that disclosure could cause harm. And there are bills that provide rest for the weary: Foster parents now get up to 72 hours or more of respite care for themselves while teachers now get daily duty-free planning periods.

“I want to thank Gov. Brian  Kemp for all of his support during my first session in this office,” Lt. Gov.  Burt Jones said. “As of May 2, the governor has signed nine of my legislative priorities into law. I ran on three important issues: boosting Georgia’s workforce, standing with our law enforcement to strengthen public safety, and supporting Georgia’s children and families across our state. That is exactly what we delivered this past session.” 

For a glimpse of the new laws signed into law Tuesday, go here.

Why It Matters

Tuesday’s bills are the latest batch the governor has signed. Last week, he greenlighted legislation focusing on criminal justice and public safety. The Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act was one of Kemp’s key priorities this past legislative session.

“Governor Kemp has been a strong partner working with the General Assembly over the last five years to enact prudent legislation and pass conservative, balanced budgets,” said Kaleb  McMichen, deputy chief of staff for House Speaker Jon Burns. “This legislative session reflects that team approach. We look forward to concluding the bill signing period and beginning work over the interim on House priorities including early childhood education and public safety. “

As of Tuesday afternoon, the governor had signed 136 bills into law, including 35 on Tuesday. 

What’s Next

More new laws are on the way.

Kemp is expected to sign additional bills on Friday, including potentially the state’s FY 2024 budget, which totals  $32.4 billion, a 7.4% increase, or $2.2 billion, over the original FY 2023 budget. Slightly more than half — 53% — goes to education, 24% for health and human services, 7% for public safety, 7% for transportation, and 9% for economic development and general government services, including debt services. The 2024 budget takes effect July 1.

You can reach Tammy Joyner on Twitter @lvjoyner or at [email protected]. Joyner is State Affairs senior investigative reporter in Georgia. A Georgia transplant, she has lived in the Peach State for nearly 30 years.

Issac Morgan is State Affairs newsletter editor. Contact him on Twitter @issacmorgan12 or at [email protected].


Header image: Gov. Brian Kemp signs a bill on May 2, 2023, at the Georgia Statehouse in Atlanta. (Credit: Office of the Governor)