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Rep. Houston Gaines on Passage of Paid Parental Leave Bill

Sidhartha C. Wakade

A plan to give Georgia state workers, teachers, and university employees three weeks of paid parental leave has passed the General Assembly. The House voted Monday to agree to changes to House Bill 146 made by the Senate, sending it to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature or veto.

District 117 Representative Houston Gaines was one of the sponsors.

"I'm excited that we were able to get this bill over the finish line. It's going to help young families across our state, so I believe it's a significant step forward for Georgia. It's going to make a big difference, particularly in the Athens area where we've got so many teachers, so many folks who would benefit from these three weeks of paid parental leave. I'm excited to get it over the finish line. I appreciate everyone who helped to advocate and worked hard to make this happen. It had unanimous passage in the Senate, and overwhelming, nearly unanimous passage in the House."

Nearly 250,000 workers could be eligible for the leave after the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. Currently, state employees in Georgia are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave as required by federal law.

House Speaker David Ralston, a Blue Ridge Republican, has made the measure a priority. A similar bill nearly passed last year but failed on the last day of the session in the Senate.

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