New Laws for Georgia for 2008

Well the legislature struck out on the important changes they were trying to implement but at least they did some good for the State. These bills will now go on to the Governor for signature and hopefully they will make it through.

ID Theft Protection: Georgia Credit Freeze Law.

Link to Legislation, Votes and Status: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2007_08/sum/hb130.htm
If signed, this will allow you to put a “freeze” on your credit for $3 dollars which will prevent anyone (including you) from opening new credit accounts on your social security. Even cooler is the fact that Georgia will be the first state to have 15 minute “thaw” to unlock your credit when you need it. Come on Governor, sign this one
Lemon Law
Link to Legislation, Votes and Status: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2007_08/sum/hb470.htm
This law has been around for a while, but here are some of the key changes:

– Expands the definition of “consumer” to include small businesses.

– Allows a consumer to invoke the lemon law if they have the required number of defects or serious safety defects on a new car within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles. (Currently, there is moving target time limit which says that all of the required defects occur within 12 months of each other in order for the law to apply.)

– Expands the definition of “serious safety defect” to include anything that would threaten the consumer’s life, creates risk of fire or explosion, or hinders the driver’s ability to control the car. (Current law limits serious safety defects to just a few specific systems, like brakes and steering.)

Foreclosure Reforms
Link to Legislation, Votes and Status: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2007_08/sum/sb531.htm
Many home loans made in recent years include payment plans that sharply increase after several years, leaving homeowners with mortgage notes that they cannot afford. Because mortgages are often sold from one creditor to another, some borrowers struggling to make payments have had trouble locating and contacting who actually holds the loan to discuss restructured payments.

If signed, the new law will require that a homeowner facing foreclosure be provided with the identity of the mortgage holder, as well as contact information for a party authorized to negotiate a modification of the mortgage. It also extends the notification period required before sale of the home from 15 to 30 days.

Order Wine From Out of State and a “To Go” Bottle
Last but not least, I should point out that unless the Governor neglects to sign these two, we will now be able to order a limited number of wine cases from out of state (which is good because it chips away at the liquor monopolies) and we can now cork our wine in a restaurant if we cannot finish it and take it home locked in the glove box or trunk. I still would have preferred ad valorum tax reform, but I recognize that the legislature can move with glacial speed.