“The draft will be done by legislative counsel before then. I expect to be able to file the bill when we return,” said state Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville, a floor leader for Gov. Nathan Deal.
Coomer said Deal’s legislation will provide an opportunity for veterans who were militarily trained in skilled trades to get a state license or certification when they leave the service.
Georgia is projected to have 60,000 to 80,000 returning National Guard soldiers and other veterans during the next four years, and jobs for skilled labor are expected to grow, according to an analysis by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development. The legislation is aimed at addressing both situations.
“It will help our veterans who served the country and our employers who can’t get enough skilled workers,” Coomer said.
Initially, the bill will apply to a select group of license classifications: utility foreman, general contractor (individual), electrical contractor (restricted), journeyman plumber and conditioned air (restricted). The jobs are regulated by the state board of residential and general contractors and the Georgia Board of Construction Industry.
Military spouses with a license from another state also will be able to get initial certification in Georgia under the planned legislation.
The coming week
The countdown clock on the 40-day Legislative session will remain stopped on Day 4 this week but local lawmakers still have busy schedules.
The main order of business is the budget hearings by the joint Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate.
“I’m going to be down there as much as I can, to sit in,” said freshman state Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome. “I have some other things scheduled too but, (for) my first time through, I need to get as much information as I can.”
Floyd County’s legislative delegation has arranged a meeting between Deal and a group of local leaders from the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce. The Tuesday afternoon face time will focus on the planned U.S. 411 Connector project.
Newly elected state Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Rome, said he’ll spend some of his time Tuesday at the hearings and in setting up the office assigned to him on Thursday.
“But, since the budget hearings are online, I intend to observe all of them whether I’m down there or not,” he said.
The hearings at the Capitol are streamed live on the General Assembly’s website.
State Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, said she’ll attend as many as she can, with particular priority for those dealing with funding for transportation, education, public safety and the judiciary.
“I’ll be there to listen, take notes and get educated with the rest of the public and legislators about what seems to be the most important to these agency heads,” she said.
Dempsey chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee on human resources. She said not all departments present their budgets to the joint committee every year, but their plans will get vetted.
“The Governor’s Office for Children and Families and the Department of Veterans Affairs aren’t presenting, but they’ll come to my committee later on,” she said.
The joint committee hearings will start at 10 a.m. Tuesday and at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.