(Media release from the Office of Governor Brian Kemp):

Governor Brian P. Kemp, accompanied by First Lady Marty Kemp, members of the Georgia General Assembly, education and workforce development representatives, and other local and state leaders, signed multiple bills on Thursday at a ceremony on the campus of West Georgia Technical College in Coweta County. This package of legislation builds on the governor’s work to attract, grow and train a top-tier workforce prepared to fill the tens of thousands of new jobs created by record-breaking economic development projects.

“The demand for a well-educated and skilled workforce has never been higher than it is today,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “I am proud to sign legislation that will streamline access to opportunity and help us fill the record-breaking number of jobs on their way to Georgia. Thanks to our partners in the General Assembly, we’re leading the way in training, growing, and retaining a workforce prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

Governor Kemp signed the following legislation today:

HB 163, sponsored by Rep. Lauren McDonald, co-sponsored by Rep. J. Collins, Rep. Carl Gillard, Rep. Alan Powell, Rep. Carter Barrett, and Rep. Soo Hong, and carried by Sen. Mike Hodges in the Senate, creates a service loan repayment program for medical examiners that provides up to $120,000 per individual for five years of service.

In order to be eligible for the program, recipients must meet the following requirements:

Must be employed as a full-time medical examiner on or after January 1, 2023, by the Division of Forensic Science of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Once a year of service is tracked and verified, the loan repayment process begins on or after January 1, 2024, depending on the employment and program enrollment dates.
Must be evidenced by a promissory note that the loan proceeds be used to pay for the cost of attendance at an eligible institution for a semester/term that ended in the five years immediately preceding the individual’s initial employment as a GBI medical examiner.
Must not be in default at the time of application.
Must not have an existing service obligation.
Must not be subject to repayment through another student loan repayment or loan forgiveness program or as a condition of employment..

SB 246, sponsored by Sen. Mike Hodges, co-sponsored by Sen. Ben Watson, Sen. Bo Hatchett, Sen. John Kennedy, and Sen. Blake Tillery, and carried by Rep. Matthew Gambill in the House, provides for student loan repayment for certain nursing instructors. Rep. Houston Gaines, Rep. Katie Dempsey, Rep. Scott Hilton, Rep. Marcus Wiedower, Rep. Matt Hatchett, Rep. Teri Anulewicz also contributed to the bill. This will help address the shortage of qualified nursing educators and increase the number of nurses in the state.

HB 155, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin, co-sponsored by Rep. Rick Jasperse and Rep. Matt Reeves, and carried by Sen. John Albers in the Senate, streamlines and creates a process to allow the issuance of occupational licenses by endorsement for new workers moving to Georgia – removing barriers for those moving to the state to continue to practice their trade.

HB 607, sponsored by Rep. Clay Pirkle, co-sponsored by Rep. Jan Jones, Rep. Chuck Martin, and Rep. Matt Dubnik, and carried by Sen. Max Burns in the Senate, updates the ACT score requirement for Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility to provide parity with the SAT eligibility score, as determined by the Georgia Student Finance Commission using nationally recognized standards.

SB 3, sponsored by Sen. John Albers, co-sponsored by Sen. John Kennedy, Sen. Steve Gooch, Sen. Jason Anavitarte, Sen. Larry Walker III, and 21 other GOP Senate Members, and carried by Rep. Scott Hilton in the House, aims to lower the entry barrier for recruiting employees into state government positions by requiring the Department of Administrative Services to identify and assess all state employment qualifications and requirements and, where appropriate, reduce those qualifications and requirements.

SB 86, sponsored by Sen. Matt Brass, co-sponsored by Sen. Freddie Powell Sims, Sen. Steve Gooch, Sen. Jason Anavitarte, Sen. John Kennedy, and 11 other members from both parties, and carried by Rep. Rick Townsend in the House, creates a three-year pilot program to allow eligible dual enrollment students to access HOPE Grant funds for High Demand Career Initiative Fields for eligible Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education Courses.

The governor expresses his thanks to all who were involved in the passage of the above pieces of legislation.