New laws take effect in Georgia - CBS46 News

New laws take effect in Georgia

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Wednesday brings new laws that take effect in the state of Georgia.

For starters, a law takes effect limiting how much lobbyists can spend on state lawmakers. They're basically banned from spending more than $75 at a time and from giving lawmakers free tickets to games, concerts and other recreational events. 

Still, there are plenty of loopholes that will allow for significant influence-peddling even after the General Assembly reconvenes later this month for its annual 40-day session.

Another new law reforms the juvenile justice system. It gives judges more flexibility in sentencing minors who commit felonies.

The new law is designed so that only the most serious young offenders are placed in custody. Others convicted of more minor offenses will diverted into community-based programs. In addition to cutting costs, the law is meant to reduce the number of young offenders who return to jail. There are some challenges for the new law, including limited financial resources and a lack of full awareness among many people who will be responsible for its implementation. But advocates of the law say those obstacles are being addressed.

Also starting Wednesday, newly hired daycare workers will now be required to complete fingerprint-based background checks. Eventually, all workers will have to undergo the check.

And there's a new law on the books regarding concussions and young people. It's known as Georgia's Return to Play Act of 2013. It creates new guidelines for student athletes, and it also aims to educate parents about the risks of concussions.

Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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