Military jobs bill hits snag

February 6, 2013 

Military jobs bill hits snag

A House committee put on hold a bill that would waive initial tests for veterans and their spouses seeking certain professional licenses. The objection came from industry.

Veterans who learned the skills to be an electrician, contractor, plumber or HVAC technician in the armed forces could get a Georgia entry-level license for those jobs without taking a test under House Bill 188 by state Rep. Christian Coomer, R- Cartersville.

“Some of these tests occur once a year, twice a year, three times a year,” Coomer told the state House Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee, saying his bill could save a veteran months of waiting for test time.

The bill also would allow military spouses who have licenses for those professions in other states to skip the test.

Several committee members applauded the bill, saying it makes Georgia more attractive to veterans and helps fill open jobs.

Two members called for a vote to pass the bill, but the committee’s chairman, state Rep. John Yates, R-Griffin, denied the motion. Instead he prodded for a motion to put it on hold.

“I’ll tell you why. I received a call from the heating people and they didn’t get notice of this ... I don’t want to rush into anything here,” said Yates, adding that he had planned for a short hearing, not a vote, at the Wednesday meeting anyway.

Yates promised to hold another hearing for the bill as early as next week.

The list of bill co-sponsors seems to indicate it has support. House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, and Yates himself signed at the top of the bill.

-- Maggie Lee

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