By State Rep. Ron Stephens
February 8, 2016 - The Georgia House of Representatives continued its work last week and passed several bills that will have a positive effect on our economy both now and in the future.
HB 402 passed unanimously which encourages employers to provide work-based learning opportunities for students 16 years of age or older by allowing insurers a five percent reduction on worker’s compensation insurance for each work-based learning business. This is an incredible opportunity for our students to receive practical experience from knowledgeable professionals while simultaneously gaining academic credit. Other than excellent classroom instruction, I can’t think of a better way to prepare our youth for success in their chosen field. When businesses and industry partner with teachers and parents in the instruction of our children the entire state benefits with a strong workforce who thrive in an evolving marketplace. I was extremely pleased to see the passage of this bill.
Our community continues to enjoy popularity with the movie industry thanks to our geographic location, natural beauty, and unsurpassed hospitality. We also have the unique possibility on any given day to see an alligator, deer, raccoon, or other wildlife right where we live and work. A bill I introduced, HB 840, was passed out of committee and will go before the full House for a vote in the next week or two. This bill will authorize the use of wildlife in local movie production in a safe and protected manner. The film industry has been a great economic benefit to our beautiful community and as we want to encourage continued collaboration. It is also good to protect the wildlife that makes our state so special. I was pleased to see the passage of this bill and think it will only further benefit our community.
HB 801 was also passed unanimously which states that beginning in academic year 2017-2018, the cumulative grade point average for STEM courses will be weighted differently, as outlined by the Board of Regents. This means that if a student receives a B, C, or D, the grade will increase by 0.5 percent. The courses included in this revision must be academically rigorous and required for leading to employment in high demand fields in science, technology, engineering, and math. This bill also allows the governor to organize a task force to identify high demand fields and associated workforce shortages. This is another initiative that favors quality education for our students and proper preparation for their future. I am pleased to know that our state is earnestly invested in the children of Georgia!
We will continue to consider and debate legislation as the session continues and I hope you will contact me with your input and concerns.
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