Gov. Kemp Signs Bills Impacting Human Trafficking, Taxes, Paid Parental Leave and More

Courtesy Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Gov. Brian Kemp has spent the past 29 days going through legislation sent to his desk by the Georgia State Senate and Georgia State House of Representatives. Bills that passed through both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly during the 2024 Legislative Session were advanced to the Governor’s desk following the final day of the session, which took place on Thursday, March 28.  Except in rare cases, bills that are neither signed nor vetoed by the Governor will become law on July 1. 

One bill signed by Kemp was House Bill 993. The parents of a Hartwell woman who, they say, was the victim of years of sexual grooming by her gymnastics coach, were at the State Capitol on April 24 to witness Governor Brian Kemp sign HB993, which makes the grooming of a minor for sex a felony.

Susan Cobb lost her daughter, Jennifer to suicide in 2021 after she had allegedly been groomed for sex by her gymnastics coach beginning at the age of 11.

Since her death, her parents have been fighting to get a law passed in Georgia that would make grooming a felony crime.

Cobb said Tuesday, getting the bill passed has been a long, hard fight.

According to Susan Cobb, when her daughter finally told her what had happened to her and was old enough to realize that the same person who groomed her for sex was also targeting other young girls, she went to the authorities, and the suspect was arrested.

At that point, Cobb said Jennifer began to work to help those young girls to keep others from becoming victims.

Now that HB993 is law, Cobb said she will continue Jennifer’s work and fight to help other children who are or have been victims of sexual grooming and molestation.

In tackling human trafficking in Georgia, Kemp also already signed Senate Bill 370, which will expand the businesses required to post notices containing information on how to reach a human trafficking hotline to include convenience stores, tattoo parlors, manufacturing facilities and medical offices. The law already includes bars, airports, rail and bus stations, truck stops, highway rest areas, and adult entertainment.

Also, House Bill 1201 was signed, which allows the vacating of prison sentences for victims of human trafficking who have been convicted of crimes committed while they were being victimized.

Some of the other bills signed by the Governor since March 28 induced a package of tax cut bills that includes House Bill 1015, which will accelerate a reduction in state income taxes that took effect in January, dropping the rate from 5.49% to 5.39%. House Bill 1023, also signed by the Governor, will set Georgia’s corporate income tax rate at the same 5.39% applicable to individual income taxpayers, and House Bill 581 limits the annual increases in local property taxes – this legislation, however, is subject to a statewide vote by citizens ratifying a separate but related constitutional amendment. Kemp also signed House Bill 1021 which will increase the state’s child tax credit from $3,000 for each dependent child to $4,000, and Senate Bill 496 extending the expiration dates of two state tax credits aimed at encouraging the rehabilitation of historic homes.

The governor also signed a package of bills aimed at helping military families, including legislation allowing military spouses to use an existing out-of-state license to obtain employment in Georgia and exempting military medical personnel from certification requirements to serve provisionally as a nurses aide, paramedic, cardiac technician, or emergency medical technician.

Also, State employees will be able to receive up to six weeks of paid parental leave under legislation signed by Kemp. House Bill 1010 will double paid parental leave for state workers following the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child in their home, providing a total leave of up to 240 hours. The legislature passed a bill in 2021 authorizing 120 hours of paid parental leave for state employees.

WNEG News will be researching selected legislation that either has local ties, or will significantly impact Toccoa/Stephens County citizens along with other state residents, and providing more in-depth coverage of those bills in the coming weeks.

WNEG News has completed the database of House-originated legislation that passed both Chambers, complete with the status as of April 25, and links to the legislation’s page on the Georgia General Assembly website, where one can see the full text of the legislation, as well as vote rolls on all Senate and House votes on the legislation. The database, which is located on, can be reached here. A matching database of Senate-originated legislation will be added to the website next week.