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The following bills are among those that passed both houses of the Georgia legislature during the 2022 legislative session. Assuming they are signed by the governor, they will either be effective on the date signed or on July 1, 2022, depending on the text of each bill.

SB 539 makes it unlawful under O.C.G.A. § 16-11-62 to use any device to photograph or record patients in a health care facility operated by a county health department. This bill could prevent families from taking photos in a county owned nursing home unless all persons in the photo consent. Bill text.

HB 916 establishes the Superior and State Court Appellate Practice Act. The bill modifies Chapters 3 and 4 of Title 5 of the code to repeal and replace the current notice of appeal and certiorari review statutes with a single petition for review procedure for appealing a case from a lower judicatory to superior or state court. This bill would be relevant when filing a Medicaid appeal beyond review by DCH, or when appealing an order from a non-Article 6 Probate Court. Bill text.

SB 576 addresses the issue of grandparent visitation following the Supreme Court of Georgia’s 2018 decision in Patten v. Ardis. The bill revises O.C.G.A. § 19-7-3(d) by requiring a court to apply a clear and convincing evidence standard when considering grandparent visitation over the objection of a fit parent when one of the parents of a minor child dies, is incapacitated or is incarcerated. Bill text. See also Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000)

HB 464 permits a petition for appointment of temporary guardian of minor that is originally filed in probate court to be transferred to juvenile court. The venue transfer permits the minor and his or her guardian to avail themselves of resources from the Department of Family and Child Services, as well as other juvenile-related agencies, that would not be accessible in probate court. Bill text.

HB 620 clarifies and revises procedures for the payout of a settlement to a minor (O.C.G.A. § 29-3-3). Bill text.

HB 752 creates the Psychiatric Advance Directive Act, providing patients with a mental health diagnosis the opportunity to direct their own care and to appoint an agent to assist with mental health care decisions. Bill text.

HB 974 requires all clerks of superior court to offer electronic filing for recordable instruments. The bill also provides requirements for the first page of a deed in order for the instrument to be recorded by the clerk’s office. Pending the governor’s signature, the law becomes effective on July 1, 2023. Bill text.

HB 961 amends Georgia’s apportionment statute so that in actions involving one or more persons, damages are apportioned according to the percentage of fault of each person. HB 961 is in response to the Supreme Court of Georgia’s decision in Alston & Bird LLP v. Hatcher Management Holdings, LLC, which found that O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33(b) does not allow a reduction of damages based on a jury’s allocation of fault to a nonparty in a case brought against a single defendant. Lawyers take note—the new law will take effect upon signature by the governor. Bill text.

SB 543 clarifies the law to preclude a parent who is responsible for the homicide of his or her child from bringing a wrongful death lawsuit to recover for the value of their child’s life. Bill text.

For information regarding other bills passed during the 2022 session, see the State Bar of Georgia’s Final 2022 Legislative Update.

List of bills signed by the Governor

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