Mon, May 20, 2024

New laws support military spouse workforce

Gov. Brian Kemp (R) continues his near-daily flurry of bill signings to cap off the 2024 legislative session. The most recent set of bills is focused on supporting the military, from veterans to active duty and their families, as well as improving recruitment opportunities.

Kemp was joined by Speaker of the House Jon Burns (R), members of the General Assembly, and state and local elected leaders.

“Every day is a great day to support our military. And we’re proud to do just that, and recognize those achievements today,” said Burns during the Wednesday signing ceremony at the State Capitol. “I want to join Governor Kemp, the First Lady Kemp, and certainly, Lieutenant Governor Jones in the Senate, with members of the House to make Georgia, the most military-friendly state in the country. I think that’s very well proven out. And we will continue to work towards that. America is protected and kept free about the sacrifices our military, men and women make.”

Looking over Gov. Kemp’s shoulder is Dr. Tom Clark, Executive Director of the Alliance for Fort Eisenhower.

The first two bills to get the governor’s signature were HB 880 and SB 449, both designed to ease new arrivals into Georgia’s workforce.

HB 880 creates an expedited process for military spouses with careers that require licenses to immediately seek employment in Georgia while the state issues updated, in-state licenses.

The legislation has been watched with local interest.

“This house bill ensures that those spouses continue to work. They will accept credentials and if there is a shortage of acceptance, then they will still work. And the gaining organization will train them to make up that difference,” explained Dr. Tom Clark, Executive Director of the Alliance for Fort Eisenhower, who attended the ceremony. “It is an absolute pleasure to live in our state where we’re number one for business.”

For military medical personnel, SB 449 creates a 12-month, provisional practice allowance while their license application is pending. It also creates an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) license, while creating a system for APRN licenses.

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, “(APRNs) are registered nurses educated in a specific role and patient population at a Masters or post-Masters level. APRNs are prepared by education and certification to assess, diagnose, and manage patient problems, order tests and prescribe medications.”

Both bills can also help address the ongoing shortage of employees reported by businesses across Georgia by creating a new pipeline of talent.

“Our veterans and military families have dedicated their lives and undergo great sacrifice in service to our country,” said Kemp. “While we can never repay the debt we owe them, by signing these pieces of legislation, I am proud to say that we are living up to our promise of keeping Georgia the best state in the country for service members and their spouses to live, work, and raise a family.”

Kemp signed HB 995, which allows Georgia the state’s K-12 schools to administer the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) during school hours. ASVAB determines if an individual is qualified to join the military and, if so, the most appropriate branch. The bill does not require schools to administer the test.

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