ATLANTA – Legislation passed by the General Assembly this year, which covers a wide range of issues from health care to law enforcement to the Georgian care system, will come into effect by the new year.

Here is a summary of the major bills that will take effect on January 1st:

House bill 888 aims at the practice of “surprise billing” by requiring health insurers to cover the emergency services a patient receives, regardless of whether the provider is part of the patient’s insurance network or not, and leaving providers and insurers to determine their differences to be settled by arbitration.

House bill 911 Prohibits foster parents from engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior with children in their care and closes a loophole in applicable national law. The move was part of Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp’s initiative to better protect foster children.

House bill 838 aims to protect the police and other first responders from biased crimes committed because of the “actual or perceived employment of victims as first responders”. Republican legislature pushed the bill as an accompaniment to the passage of the state’s first hate crime law.

House bill 1037 puts the state’s popular movie tax credit under additional scrutiny by requiring all Georgia-based movie productions to undergo mandatory auditing by the Georgia Department of Treasury or third party auditors. It also tightened the rules for film companies to transfer or sell unused tax credits to other companies.

House bill 244 Hires the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to determine how much state electrical membership co-operatives can charge telecommunications providers for broadband connections on their utility poles to encourage rural broadband service expansion. The new rates set by the PSC come into effect on July 1st.

Senate Act 426 Manufacturers using the carcinogenic chemical ethylene oxide must report any waste spill or gas release to the state within 24 hours. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division director must then post the information on the agency’s website.