'Go Build Georgia' educational session Monday at Wiregrass Tech
An educational session for local high school students about the new "Go Build Georgia" program will be held Monday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the Brooks Hall Conference Center at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, 4089 Val Tech Road, Valdosta.
Gov. Nathan Deal and the Governor's Office of Workforce Development recently launched Go Build Georgia as a statewide program highlighting the need and opportunity for skilled craft labor in Georgia. America's highly skilled labor workforce is aging, and there are not enough young people entering the industry to replace those retiring. With 16,500 available positions in the skilled trades in 2012, there is an abundance of opportunities for Georgia students, businesses, and educators.
A core component of Go Build Georgia is educating young people and all Georgians about the wage, lifestyle, and employment benefits in the skilled labor trades. With this goal in mind, the Governor's Office of Workforce Development is conducting a 13-stop tour, providing information to high school students throughout the state.
For more information or to RSVP for the event, contact Brett Lacy at email@example.com. For more information on Go Build Georgia, visit www.gobuildgeorgia.com.
Criminal Justice Reform
The recommendations of a Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform, appointed last year by Gov. Nathan Deal, have resulted in the introduction of HB 1176, a bipartisan proposal that seeks to find a balance between ensuring public safety and reducing Georgia's prison system costs, which have risen dramatically along with the inmate population, which has more than doubled in the past 20 years. The state spends more than $1 billion a year to incarcerate more than 56,000 inmates. Included in the measure are provisions that would:
Give judges more sentencing discretion for nonviolent offenses.
Raise the threshold for suspects charged with certain felonies.
Revise sentencing guidelines for burglary, shoplifting, forgery, marijuana possession, and other offenses.
Expand the use of drug and mental health courts, which offer alternative sentencing for certain offenders, and add more community-based treatment centers for low-level offenders.
Gov. Deal explained the reasoning behind handling nonviolent offenders differently from hardened criminals this way: "We have to decide who we're scared of and who we're just mad at. This is not a 'get out of jail free' card. If you commit a violent crime in Georgia, you're going to prison, and we have more cells to keep you there for as long as needed." HB 1176 is being reviewed by the Special Joint Committee on Criminal Justice Reform.
The House and Senate gave final approval this week to HB 741, the amended budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2012, which ends June 30. Totaling $18.5 billion, the plan now goes to Gov. Deal for his signature.
The House also agreed with Senate changes on two measures, sending those bills to the governor's desk. They include HB 48, which would change certain provisions regarding the Freeport exemption process, and HB 477, which would change the license renewal period for insurance agents from every year to every two years.
Other Senate bills approved by the House and sent to the governor include:
SB 300, which would require proper labeling for bottles containing sugar cane or sorghum syrup.
SB 309, which would grant special hunting permits for big game or alligators to terminally ill children under the age of 21. The measure would waive some rules on weapons, antler restrictions, and hunter education requirements, although the young person would have to be supervised by a licensed adult hunter.
SB 343, which would designate the state accounting officer as the official comptroller general of Georgia, a position previously held by the state insurance commissioner.
On legislation that I sponsored or co-sponsored, the Senate voted this week to approve HB 706, which would eliminate nearly 40 obsolete rules, regulations and funding provisions that are part of state laws regarding K-12 public education, HB 713, which would delay for one year implementation of the "career pathways" requirement for Georgia students. Both bills will come back to the House for consideration of minor changes made in the Senate.
Meanwhile, HB 895, which would provide the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board with more effective methods of gathering information related to sex offenders, was approved by the Senate without amendments and now goes to the governor for his signature.
The Senate Government Operations Committee favorably reported HB 863, which would change certain provisions regarding state purchasing made without competitive bidding. The Senate Economic Development Committee favorably reported HB 868, which would provide income tax credits for business enterprises located in less developed areas designated by tiers. The Senate Health & Human Services Committee favorably reported HB 1146, which would establish the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services Board.
I am also the House sponsor of two Senate bills that made it through the House Governmental Affairs Committee this week. SB 396 would rename the Herty Advanced Materials Development Center and transfer its governance to the Board of Regents. SB 446 would transfer fire protection and safety functions from the Department of Labor to the office of the Safety Fire Commissioner.
Follow the General Assembly online
You may read the details and check the status of legislation online at www.legis.ga.gov. Please feel free to contact me at 109 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334 or PO Box 4930, Valdosta, GA 31604; by phone at (404) 651-7737 or (229) 245-2733; by fax (404) 651-5795 or (229) 245-8890; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
'Go Build Georgia' educational session Monday at Wiregrass Tech
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