Friday Facts: May 19, 2023

Is Georgia serious about licensing reform?

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger led the first meeting of his office’s new GA WORKS Licensing Commission. The optimistic observer may see this as Georgia’s next step toward removing barriers to work.

The Commission, which included legislators, chamber of commerce members and experts from the private sector, looks to review Georgia’s occupational licensing practices and implement a framework to accommodate the state’s changing economy. Georgia has taken steps to make it easier to work. This year, the legislature adopted a new law requiring licensing boards to recognize most out-of-state licenses held by newcomers. 

But legislators have punted on other ideas. A bill to free niche beauty professions from licensing requirements was introduced this year. As was a bill to remove vague language from licensing criteria to make it easier for Georgians with criminal records to obtain an occupational license. Neither made it across the finish line. 

The need for occupational licensing reform

Friday’s Freshest

The separation of powers is working

Gov. Brian Kemp vetoed nine items in the fiscal 2024 budget and ordered agencies to “disregard” another 134 legislative instructions about state spending. Naturally this raised a few eyebrows as differences generally get worked out during the session. So what does this tell us?

CON laws do not help underserved populations

Though one of the stated goals of Certificate of Need laws is to aid underserved populations, research shows they lead to diminished services in low-income communities and rural areas.

📺 WATCH: How Georgia’s CON laws limited healthcare access for Monica

Shoddy jobs and bathroom bribes robbed Georgia taxpayers of millions

Clayton County paid a private developer $559,000 to create a seven-page PowerPoint presentation, a 27-page design presentation and a 49-page seismic data and wind presentation. Now the county wants its money back. This, and more, in our latest stories about waste, fraud or abuse of taxpayer money or taxpayer-funded resources throughout Georgia.

U.S. history tests show the falling floor for student achievement

The fact that test scores for eighth graders fell sharply post-pandemic is not surprising. But it does raise serious questions about the teaching of history and civics in schools today.

Low tax states continue to attract new residents

Georgia received a net $1.28 billion increase in adjusted gross income from newcomers over the past year. Virtually all of it came from the six highest-tax states in the nation.

📺 WATCH: Voting with their feet

The latest


Gov. Brian Kemp plans economic development trip to Israel

Gov. Brian Kemp is making an economic development trip to Israel, Kemp spokesperson Garrison Douglas confirmed this week. Douglas said Kemp will meet with Israeli companies that do business in the state, as well as with government officials.

‘Vast majority’ of Cobb homeowners facing higher assessments

The “vast majority” of Cobb County homeowners will receive higher property tax assessments this year. That’s what Stephen White, the chief appraiser for the Cobb Board of Tax Assessors, said as his office begins sending out assessment notices.


Regents won’t raise tuition at Georgia’s state universities

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted unanimously in favor of a $3.18 billion fiscal 2024 operating budget with no increase in tuition for the sixth time in the last eight years at 25 of the system’s 26 institutions. 

Lost Georgia learning related to COVID shutdowns could lead to reduced earnings

Georgia students lost months of learning over the past few years, and the loss could manifest itself in billions of dollars in reduced wages. On average, Georgia students lost more than four months of math learning and two months of reading learning.

Government accountability

Public Service Commission approves 12% increase in Georgia Power bills

Electricity bills for Georgia Power customers will increase by 12% beginning in June after Georgia’s PSC approved the boost to make up for the higher cost of fuel. The commissioners voted unanimously to let Georgia Power collect an additional $6.6 billion from its 2.7 million customers over the next three years. 

Some Georgia cities address short-term rentals

While Georgia has no statewide regulations for short-term rentals, save for requiring owners to pay hotel taxes, various local governments have begun to enact their own regulations.


Georgia’s Certificate of Need reform conversation only heating up

How to proceed with a possible repeal or amendment to Georgia’s Certificate of Need requirement is likely a hot-button topic for the foreseeable future. At the same time, a new Georgia Public Policy Foundation report found Certificate of Need regulations have resulted in diminished availability of health care services and higher costs.

Roughly four in 10 Georgia hospitals receive a ‘C’ grade

When it comes to quality, some Georgia hospitals need a checkup. Of the 81 Peach State hospitals graded in a new report, 32 received a “C,” while 20 earned a “B,” and 19 picked up an “A.” Seven others received a “D.”

Quotes of the Week

“A false conclusion once arrived at and widely accepted is not easily dislodged; and the less it is understood, the more tenaciously it is held.” – Georg Cantor

“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get good breaks from bad shots, you get bad breaks from good shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies.” – Bobby Jones

“Mamas, don’t let your cowboys grow up to be babies. I meant what I said!” – Cody Johnson

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