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Gov. Kemp Signs Legislation Supporting Georgia's Agriculture Industry



Governor Brian P. Kemp, accompanied by First Lady Marty Kemp, Lieutenant Burt Jones, Speaker Jon Burns, Commissioner Tyler Harper, members of the General Assembly, and other state and local leaders, signed a package of legislation focused on supporting Georgia's ever growing agricultural industry and improving security against foreign adversaries.


Among other things, included in this package is legislation that tackles ownership of agricultural land or land near military installations by certain individuals acting as an agent of a foreign adversary, alleviates high input costs for our farmers and ranchers, protects children from misleading and dangerous marketing, and increases the penalty for livestock theft.

"As valued members of our state's number one industry, Georgia's farming families deserve our enduring support as they face unprecedented challenges, including having to navigate disastrous federal energy policies, attempts by foreign adversaries to acquire farm land, and theft of property,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “We are tackling these challenges head on, and I want to thank our legislative partners for their work on these important issues."

While the package is primarily focused on agriculture-related issues, it also addresses career burnout among healthcare professionals and goes after those who are distributing fentanyl-laced medications or controlled substances.


Governor Kemp signed nine pieces of legislation included below:

SB 420, sponsored by Senator Jason Anavitarte, signed by Senators Russ Goodman, Bill Cowsert, and Steve Gooch, carried in the House by Representative Clay Pirkle, and advocated for by Commissioner Tyler Harper, prohibits the ownership or acquisition of agricultural land or non-residential land within a radius of a military location by a nonresident alien acting as an agent of a government designated as a foreign adversary, entity domiciled/majorly owned in certain countries, or governments of countries designated as a foreign adversary by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.


SB 340, sponsored by Senator Kay Kirkpatrick and carried in the House by Representative Joe Campbell, adds diesel exhaust fluid (for agricultural uses only) to the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) - alleviating high input costs for our farmers and ranchers.


HB 827, sponsored by Representative Tyler Paul Smith, signed by Representatives Robert Dickey, Clay Pirkle, Rob Leverett, and Leesa Hagan, and carried in the Senate by Senator Russ Goodman, increases the penalty for livestock theft and awards Title 16 law enforcement authority to the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and includes language from HB 1164 relating to criminal trespass involving a wild animal that is contained in a cage, enclosure, etc.


SB 494, sponsored by Senator Sam Watson, signed by Senators Randy Robertson, Kay Kirkpatrick, Russ Goodman, and Freddie Powell Sims, carried in the House by Representative John Corbett, and advocated by Commissioner Tyler Harper, makes changes to the framework for hemp regulation in Georgia to allow the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) to have greater oversight and enforcement power and adds labeling, packaging, and marketing requirements to protect children from misleading and dangerous marketing.


SB 436, sponsored by Senator Sam Watson, signed by Senators Russ Goodman, Lee Anderson, Larry Walker, and Frank Ginn, and carried in the House by Representative Chas Cannon, expands the use of farm-use vehicles.


HB 455, sponsored by Representative John LaHood, signed by Representatives Sharon Cooper, Mark Newton, Deborah Silcox, and Tremaine Teddy Reese, and carried in the Senate by Senator John Albers, requires that professional programs established to address career fatigue and wellness in healthcare professionals are not obligated to report information on individual cases to the respective licensing boards unless they are determined to not be competent to continue to practice or are a danger to themselves or others.


HB 1335, sponsored by Representative John LaHood, signed by Representatives Trey Rhodes, Noel Williams, Houston Gaines, and Dale Washburn, and carried in the Senate by Senator Ben Watson, adjusts staffing requirements in personal care homes, assisted living communities, and memory care centers by ensuring that no fewer than two on-site direct care staff are present on the premise at all times with at least one staff person on each floor. If the personal care home has implemented a medical alert system and each resident is provided a wearable device that connects to such system, then the staff person may move about the premises as necessary.


HB 906, sponsored by Representative Bill Yearta, signed by Representatives Penny Houston and Clay Pirkle, and carried in the Senate by Senator Carden Summers, provides for an additional superior court judge to the Tifton Judicial Circuit to be appointed by the Governor for a term beginning July 1, 2024, through December 31, 2025. The position will then become elected.


Named after Austin Walters, SB 465, sponsored by Senator Russ Goodman, signed by Senators Bo Hatchett, Blake Tillery, Larry Walker, and Lee Anderson, carried in the House by Representative James Burchett, and advocated by the Walters Family and O'Kelley Family, targets those involved in distributing fentanyl-laced medications to unknowing consumers by creating the offense of aggravated involuntary manslaughter for persons who manufacture or sell an apparent controlled substance that contains fentanyl and cause the fentanyl overdose death of another. The bill also establishes a criminal penalty for unregulated persons to possess a pill press, tableting machine, encapsulating machine, or other materials used to manufacture controlled or counterfeit substances.


Governor Kemp extends his appreciation to all of those whose diligent work and efforts led to him being able to sign these bills today.

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