Kemp signs Georgia labor market stimulus bill | State

COLUMBUS – Governor Brian Kemp, accompanied by First Lady Marty Kemp, members of the General Assembly, and state and local leaders, signed several bills, including HB 982, which aims to strengthen Georgia’s diverse and talented job market.

HB 982, sponsored by Rep. Matthew Gambill, signed by Rep. Matt Dubnik, Chris Erwin, Chuck Martin, Soo Hong and Farooq Mughal, and passed in the Senate by Sen. Bo Hatchett, is the result of the work of the Joint Study Committee on Dual Enrollment for Highly Skilled Talent at Younger Ages, which was chaired by Sen. Matt Brass and Dubnik, and directs the State Workforce Development Board to create the state's list of high-demand occupations. Since there are already multiple lists in place throughout state government, this particular list will avoid confusion among stakeholders, educators and agencies.

“Every job creator who calls Georgia home and every prospective company looking to expand tells me that, in addition to our business-friendly environment and reliable infrastructure, it is our people that make Georgia special,” Kemp said at the signing ceremony. “I couldn't be prouder of the growth we are seeing across the state and the many opportunities it is creating. But every new job created requires a hard-working Georgian to fill it, and thanks to our partners in the General Assembly, we are once again able to take forward-thinking actions that position our state as a model for the nation in developing our workforce for the jobs of today and the economy of tomorrow.”

In addition to HB 982, Kemp signed seven other bills:

— HB 970, sponsored by Rep. Robert Dickey, signed by Rep. David Knight, Erwin, Katie Dempsey, Danny Mathis and Bethany Ballard, and passed in the Senate by Sen. Billy Hickman, changes the funding structure for the REACH scholarship so that for every $10,000 scholarship, $9,000 now comes from the state and $1,000 from the participating school system. The bill also adds victims of human trafficking as a qualifying group for the scholarship.

— SB 440, sponsored by Brass, signed by Senators Elena Parent, Clint Dixon, Gloria Butler, Rick Williams and Freddie Powell Sims, passed in the House by Dubnik and prioritized by Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones, simplifies the accelerated career pathway and allows students who pursue that pathway to receive dual enrollment funding for more than 30 credit hours.

— SB 497, sponsored by Hickman, signed by Senators John Albers, Jason Esteves, and Sonya Halpern, introduced in the House by Representative Hong, and prioritized by Jones, increases the number of eligible apprenticeships under the High Demand Apprenticeship Program and directs TCSG to create a pilot program for public service apprenticeships.

— SB 384, sponsored by Hickman, signed by Senators Albers, Halpern and Esteves, passed in the House by Representative Lehman Franklin and prioritized by Jones, creates the State of Georgia Model Employer (GAME) program. This program is designed to assist state agencies in recruiting, hiring and retaining qualified individuals with disabilities.

— SB 354, sponsored by Senator Larry Walker, signed by Senators Strickland, Jason Anavitarte, Kay Kirkpatrick, Kim Jackson and Steve Gooch, introduced in the House by Representative Ginny Ehrhart and prioritized by Jones, removes the licensing requirement for the provision of services such as “blow drying, hair washing” or makeup application. This does not apply to services that alter the color or texture of hair, including cutting, coloring, bleaching or using chemicals.

– SB 373, sponsored by Walker, signed by Senators Anavitarte, Kay Kirkpatrick, Strickland, Halpern and Parent, passed in the House by Representative Alan Powell and prioritized by Jones, requires the Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to issue an expedited license by endorsement to any person moving from another state, provided they hold a current valid license to practice in that state and are in good standing in that state.

— SB 195, sponsored by Walker, signed by Senators Kirkpatrick, Frank Ginn, Ed Harbison and Tony Anderson, passed in the House by Representative Ballard and prioritized by Jones, among other things, makes Georgia the third state in the country to join the Social Work Licensing Compact. Once seven states join, the compact will take effect and will facilitate the federal practice of social work.