At an event at a massive gun range, Kemp endorsed a measure to let Georgians carry concealed handguns without permits. It sets up the most significant battle over firearms in the state in roughly a decade.
State employees will get a $5,000 pay increase in Kemp’s budget proposal as Georgia scrambles to reduce soaring employee turnover.
The governor’s spending plan would also make permanent a $5,000 cost-of-living adjustment for full-time employees, increase the employer match for 401(k) contributions to a maximum of 9% and allow employees to withdraw up to 40 hours of eligible leave as pay each year.
The governor will back legislation to create an anti-gang unit in the state attorney general’s office and devote millions of dollars to hire dozens of technicians at the state’s overwhelmed crime lab.
He also will call for funding to train an additional Georgia State Patrol class of 75 cadets this year, along with a separate initiative to provide tuition-free education for technical college students pursuing law enforcement and criminal justice degrees.
And he will support a new crackdown on human trafficking that’s part of a yearslong effort spearheaded by his wife, Marty, to curb the crime.
Public school teachers will get another $2,000 raise on top of the $3,000 hike that was previously approved by legislators. Kemp has also said he will explore ways to encourage in-person learning and ban the teaching of critical race theory.
His budget plan would restore $262 million in previous cuts to the higher education system, allowing technical colleges to offer more programs in high-demand fields and remove a fee for university students that ranges from $200 to more than $500 a semester.
The governor hasn’t yet revealed how to counter the White House decision to reject his proposal to require that more low-income and uninsured adults in Georgia meet a work requirement to join the Medicaid rolls.
The governor has said he had no specific pandemic-related legislation on his agenda this year, though he emphasized that he would not support mask requirements, vaccine mandates or economic lockdowns.
The governor has yet to take sides on the effort to split Atlanta by creating a new Buckhead City and he’s not expected to make the issue a part of his agenda. He has said, however, that he understands why residents are “fed up” with crime.
Kemp has expressed skepticism about new efforts to block absentee drop boxes and revisit other election rules after he signed into law a sweeping rewrite of voting procedures last year.