Secretary Raffensperger Applauds General Assembly for Committing to Licensing Reform

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Monday, May 20th, 2024

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger thanks the General Assembly for joining the effort to modernize and improve licensing for professionals and businesses across Georgia.

“I want to give my gratitude to Speaker Burns and Lt. Governor Jones for enlisting their help to improve the licensing process for professionals across Georgia,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “Together we can build upon the recommendations of my GA WORKS Licensing Commission and get those reforms past the finish line. We will cut red tape for thousands across the state.”

Following a substantial increase of $1,490,019 in the FY 25 budget, Secretary Raffensperger lauded the efforts to bolster the historically underfunded licensing division, highlighting an additional allocation of $145,600 to bridge the gap until the new budget cycle begins on July 1, 2024. While the licensing division generates nearly $30 million in annual fees, the legislature diverts the majority of that revenue to Georgia’s General Fund.

"Investment in our licensing division is a crucial step towards ensuring that small business owners receive the level of service they rightfully expect," stated Secretary Raffensperger. "For too long, fees have been redirected to the general fund, neglecting the needs of our applicants. It's time for funds to align with the services they support."

Secretary Raffensperger, who spearheaded the GA WORKS Licensing Commission, emphasized the collaborative efforts undertaken to streamline licensing processes. Through extensive public engagement and legislative cooperation, the commission developed principles aimed at modernizing professional licensing in Georgia.

"I'm pleased to see the tangible results of our efforts reflected in legislative initiatives such as HB 880, SB 195, SB 354, and SB 449," Secretary Raffensperger remarked. "These bills not only expedite licensure processes but also pave the way for greater workforce participation with fewer barriers. I’m grateful to Chairman Larry Walker’s leadership in these efforts and look forward to continuing to work with him and other members of the General Assembly to finish the job."

Secretary Raffensperger highlighted the need for continued legislative support to address lingering challenges. Bills like HB 1096 and HB 1190, which did not make it across the finish line, were aimed at enhancing administrative efficiency and expediting licensure procedures. Notably, this legislation would have allowed for the division directors to issue new licenses instead of requiring applicants to wait for the next board meeting.

"I remain committed to advancing licensure-friendly legislation and look forward to engaging with legislative partners to enact meaningful reforms," continued Secretary Raffensperger.