House wants to make it easier for military to fill jobs

Current and former members of the military — and their spouses — may have an easier time getting licensed for skilled work in Georgia under legislation passed Tuesday in the state House.

House Bill 188 would create a working group with the authority to exempt these individuals from aspects of the licensing process. The bill does not exempt military personnel, veterans or their spouses from taking an exam for certification, but might help them get to the testing portion of the process more quickly.

Sponsor Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville, said some requirements — like reference letters from Georgia citizens — might prevent capable veterans from getting licensed here because they haven’t yet worked in the state. The idea, he said, is to streamline the process of getting skilled veterans into the workforce. Military spouses relocating because of assignment are also eligible.

The bill passed 167-2, but only after heated debate. A number of legislators expressed concern that the bill would lax requirements on skilled workers, thus lessen protection for the general public. Supporters said the working group would not be required to grant exemptions, but rather has the option to speed up the process when they believe it’s appropriate.

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