Monday, April 8, 2013

Governor Signs Veterans Bill written by Rep. Christian Coomer


Media Release- Gov. Nathan Deal today signed into law House Bill 188, the Veterans Skilled Trades Licensure Bill, during a ceremony at the Clay National Guard Center in Cobb County. The bill, which was written and carried in the House of Representatives by Rep. Christian Coomer (R-Cassville), is intended to get veterans leaving active military service into skilled trade jobs more quickly by expediting the licensure process for specific in-demand skilled occupations.  It also provides for the recognition of out-of-state licensure for spouses of military members living in Georgia.


"This bill seeks to tackle two challenges at one time: getting veterans back to work and meeting the labor market shortages in the skilled trades in Georgia," said Coomer, who was on hand for the bill signing.  As the only member of the Georgia General Assembly who is currently serving in a military billet, Coomer said he was looking for ways to help veterans and their families.  "My father is a Marine.  My brothers are both Army combat veterans.  I served on active duty, in the reserves, and now in the Georgia Air National Guard, so I understand the challenges Georgia military families are facing," Coomer added. 


"Georgia is a military state, with more than 770,000 veterans living here, but many of our veterans returning from deployment face challenges finding employment," said Deal. "The licensure bill will better serve our returning heroes by ensuring that they move into qualified trade positions more quickly upon their return. Director Tricia Pridemore and her staff at Workforce Development did a tremendous job in their efforts on this legislation, and I commend them for their work on behalf of Georgia's veterans. Georgians also owe a great debt to the Georgia National Guard and Adjutant Gen. Jim Butterworth for the focus the organization has placed on helping veterans find fulfilling employment."


The new law creates a committee that will determine whether or not waivers should be provided for veterans based on their military skills, training and testing for the following licenses: Electrical Contractor Class I, Journeyman Plumber, Conditioned Air Contractor Class I, Residential-Light Commercial Contractor, and Utility Foreman. The committee will also determine whether veterans' spouses will be able to obtain a license in these five areas if they currently hold a license from another state.


By 2020, Georgia expects more than 60,000 vacancies in the five skilled trades named in HB 188, and by 2016, Georgia will see more than 60,000 members of the military leaving active duty for civilian life.


The working group will be comprised of the division director of the Licensing Boards, members of the relevant boards, and members from the Governor's Office of Workforce Development. The legislation does not change requirements for certification, including testing and applying to the board for a license.

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