Legislative Notebook: Vets’ employment bill put on governor’s desk

March 26, 2013 

A bill that would set up a way for veterans to trade some of their military experience for professional credentials is en route to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk after a 51-3 state Senate vote.

House Bill 188 includes plumbing, lighting, electrical contracting, as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning entry-level state licenses. Deal supports the bill, and his Office of Workforce Development would be part of the team that would decide on the proper translation between a given Military Occupation Specialty and a state license.

Dome split on midstate deer hunt

The state Senate thinks deer hunting season should be two weeks longer in Crawford, Jones and Glascock counties, but the House doesn’t. The House declined to move on a bill by the counties’ representatives to make the extension, so some of the authors attached similar language to an unrelated turkey-hunting bill, House Bill 207, in a Senate committee. Now the Senate-approved bill goes back to the House for its consideration.

Bills aim to spur farm activity

A new fund to float loans up to $50,000 to new farmers passed the House overwhelmingly Tuesday as did a bill that allows farm weddings and nonprofit equestrian performance events on land in a major Georgia conservation program. On the loan fund in Senate Bill 91, Rep. Tom McCall, R-Elberton, said Georgia’s farmers are aging, and the state’s No. 1 industry needs to attract more young folks. The Senate already has agreed with the weddings bill, Senate Bill 145, but has yet to hear the farmers’ fund. They have until the session closes Thursday to make a decision.

School bill may roil Hancock

The Hancock County Board of Education would be criminally liable for the Legislature’s failure to regularly redraw the board districts in line with population changes, said state Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon, on his reading of House Bill 283.

The original House bill made a few changes to K-12 school administration, like tweaking the formula that divvies state money among school systems. But when the Senate received the House bill, it added lines that say the state Attorney General could choose to seek civil or criminal penalties against school boards that don’t have updated maps. Generally, school boards or commissions make some proposals or do some work on redrawing their maps, but it’s the state legislator who has to carry the map into law under the Gold Dome, a job left undone by Hancock’s legislators for 20 years. The House must agree with the Senate amendments by the session’s end to become law this year.

-- Maggie Lee

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