Georgia Lawmakers Advance Legislation to Ease Plight of Transitioning Personnel, Spouses

Georgia Lawmakers Advance Legislation to Ease Plight of Transitioning Personnel, Spouses

The Georgia Legislature approved multiple bills benefitting military families and transitioning service members during the session that closed last week.

On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed legislation to expedite the process for military spouses to transfer professional licenses from other states, sending the measure to Gov. Nathan Deal (R).

The Military Spouses and Veterans Licensure Act, House Bill 821, would require all state licensure boards to adopt a process permitting military spouses and transitioning service members moving to Georgia to qualify for temporary occupational licenses, licenses by endorsement or expedited licenses that would allow them to enter Georgia’s workforce, reported the Coastal Courier. The bill also directs state licensing boards to figure out what military experience may count toward a license.

“Oftentimes, our transitioning service members and their spouses struggle to find employment in Georgia. Removing the difficult requirements in obtaining a professional license they already hold in another state is crucial in ensuring economic security for our state,” said state Rep. Al Williams (D), the bill’s sponsor.

Last Tuesday, the House passed a measure requiring the state’s technical colleges to figure out which specific military experience can be used as college credit, reported the Telegraph.

That same day, the Senate unanimously passed a bill allowing Georgia National Guard members to get service-cancellable college loans to pay for the portion of tuition that the HOPE scholarship does not pay, sending it to the governor’s desk.

“What’s behind all these initiatives are, ‘What can we do to make Georgia the most veteran-friendly state in the country?’” said state Sen. Hunter Hill (R), chairman of the Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee.

But lawmakers still have more to do make Georgia attractive to transitioning personnel, Hill said. One priority is easing the transition for service members with medical experience interested in becoming emergency medical technicians or paramedics.

“The licensure issue, expanding that into medical services is going to be a heavier lift. I’m interested in looking into that,” he said.

Another initiative Hill is considering is offering state tax credits for hiring veterans.

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