Georgia's lieutenant governor wants to cut government regulations on businesses
Georgia Lt. Gov. Burt Jones said Tuesday he wants to cut government regulations on businesses and give lawmakers more power over state agencies.
“We ought to be looking at ways to help businesses reduce burdensome regulations, and eliminate as much red tape as possible,” Jones, a Republican, said at a news conference at the Georgia Capitol alongside some Senate Republicans.
Although some parts of his plans remain unclear, others are already in motion, including a bill that would make it easier for people convicted of crimes to get government occupational licenses. If passed, agencies could only disqualify applicants for certain serious crimes, or crimes related to that occupation. It would also require agencies to publish a list of those crimes, so someone pursuing a career would know in advance if an old conviction would disqualify them.
That proposal, Senate bill 157, passed the Senate 55-0 last year but stalled in the state House. Representatives could take it up again in January when the second year of Georgia's two-year legislative term begins.
Senators are also considering plans to eliminate licenses for some fields or reduce license requirements.
“This disproportionately impacts lower income professions and drives up consumer costs,” said Sen. Larry Walker III, a Perry Republican. He specifically mentioned abolishing the requirement for certain makeup artists to get a state cosmetology license.
Jones wants to let lawmakers request an analysis of how much a proposed law would cost businesses, in much the same way they can currently request a fiscal note on how much a law would cost the state.
He is also looking to raise the threshold for special treatment of small businesses under state agency from 100 employees to 300. State law says small businesses are supposed to get easier compliance and reporting for rules that will cost them money, or be entirely exempt.
Jones also said he wants state lawmakers to have a stronger ability to oversee and review state agency regulations. Jones' office did not respond to questions Tuesday about this part of his plan.
The announcement is one in a series Jones has made in advance of the 2024 legislative session as he seeks to build a conservative record that he would need if he runs for governor in 2026 against other Republicans. Jones has also called for paying teachers a $10,000 supplement in exchange for taking firearms training and called for restrictions on social media use by minors.