Gov. Nathan Deal recently signed into law legislation that allows any court with jurisdiction over criminal cases to establish veterans’ court divisions (Senate Bill 320).
The bill, signed during a visit to the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, addresses the specialized treatment needs of veterans and aims to ensure that their re-entry into society is systematic, seamless and successful.
“Georgia is a true military state, with more than 700,000 veterans calling it home,” Deal said. “It is our duty to give our wholehearted support to these brave men and women who so willingly and courageously put our security before their own.
“This legislation will provide veterans an alternative to the traditional justice system when impairments, often beyond their control, affect their transition back into society.”
To maintain the current and future success of veteran court programs, the Judicial Council of Georgia will adopt standards and practices based on research published by agencies, which will be updated regularly to include new and developing research.
Deal also signed SB 391, requiring all medical facilities in Georgia to apply to the TRICARE network, the health-insurance program for military members, in the next year.
The bill does not require a medical facility to enter into a contract or to participate in TRICARE as a network provider or as a non-network provider; however, it mandates that a good-faith effort be exercised in the application process.
The new law also creates tax deductions for physicians who host medical students from Georgia schools in medical core clerkships, allowing Georgia to retain its best and brightest medical-school students.
In addition, Deal signed House Bill 740, which will extend the privilege of purchasing a Georgia resident recreational hunting and fishing license to all active-duty military personnel, no matter their state of residence or where they are stationed.