Commercial Surety Legislation Roundup: Georgia

As is customary in the world of legislation, new bills eliminate, add, or revise requirements. Recently, the state of Georgia enacted several new pieces of legislation with surety bond provisions.

Financial Industry Changes

Passed on July 29, 2020, Georgia House Bill 781 eliminates the existing requirement of notification of a bond cancellation by mail. Essentially, mortgage loan originators, brokers, or lenders can now inform the state of a bond cancellation electronically through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry.

In addition to the new notification method, GA HB 781 lessens the amount of days it takes to cancel a bond. If a licensee receives a cease and desist order, it will become final 20 days after issuance instead of 30. Once the cease and desist order becomes final, the license will expire and the licensee must complete a new application.

Regulation of Trauma Scene Cleanup Services

Enacted on August 4, 2020, Georgia House Bill 417 establishes a surety bond and licensing requirement for trauma scene waste management services. Additionally, trauma scene cleanup services must register with the Secretary of State, provide proof of liability insurance coverage, and submit to a fingerprint-based background check conducted by the Georgia Crime Information Center and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The aforementioned stipulations are not in lieu of the mandatory surety bond requirement of a $25,000 bond. According to the bill, the surety bond requirement is for the “benefit of any person who is harmed by such trauma scene waste management practitioner, his or her employee, or an independent contractor” during the act of trauma scene waste management cleanup. Essentially, the surety bond protects the consumer.

Conservator’s Bond

Georgia House Bill 865 amends the existing law pertaining to wills, trusts, and estates. The previous provision only applied to sureties on a guardian’s bond. Enacted on July 29, 2020, GA HB 865 modifies the provision to include sureties on a conservator’s bond. In effect, this bill details the course of action following the death of a surety on a guardian’s bond and conservator’s bond. Additionally, the provision covers when a surety on either bond “becomes insolvent, insufficient, removed beyond the limits of this state, or desires to be relieved as surety.”

Georgia House Bills 781, 865, and 417 will become effective on January 1, 2021.

Sale of Vapor Products

Enacted on July 22, 2020, Georgia Senate Bill 375 mandates a surety bond requirement for the sale of vapor products. According to the bill, “The commissioner shall require a bond of a nonresident distributor satisfactory to the commissioner and in an amount of not less than $1,000.” Simply put, any seller of vapor products, alternative nicotine products, cigars, or cigarettes must furnish a surety bond in the amount of $1,000.

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About the Author

Carly Levine
Carly is a senior at the University of Missouri studying Communications with an emphasis in Mass Media. She is a member of the marketing department and outreach team for SuretyBonds.com, a leading provider of online bonding for clients nationwide. She loves creative writing, reading, and most importantly, sushi.