The House voted 112-46.
Kemp lobbied against House Bill 132 and sought to keep the pharmacy and dental boards under his supervision along with nearly four-dozen others. Instead, the bill, if the Senate and governor agree, would move them to the Department of Community Health which has overseen the Composite Medical Board that regulates physicians for the last 13 years.
The Medical Board will share equipment and staff with the dental and pharmacy boards, according to bill sponsor Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville.
“Most of these are largely fixed costs, so you can see the savings for the citizens of Georgia,” he said.
According to Hawkins, Kemp’s office can’t keep up, with more than 100,000 phone callers to the office in the last three months hanging up while they were on hold before their calls were answered.
Kemp said the reason is that the Professional Licensing Division of his office has had its staff cut 30 percent since 2008 due to budget reductions while its job has gotten harder when it had to begin checking the citizenship of all 500,000 holders of professional licenses.
“HB 132 clearly and statutorily creates a new attached government agency that would require a new executive director, licensing personnel, administrative staff, physical offices and (information technology) infrastructure. Paired with the fact that HB 132 would negatively impact hundreds of thousands of Georgia professional-license holders in its current form, I cannot in good conscience support this bill,” he wrote in a letter to each member of the House.
Kemp does support legislation that would ease some of the citizenship paperwork requirements as a way to reduce the licensing backlog.
After voting to move the two boards, the House passed House Resolution 549 that creates a temporary committee to study how best to oversee the boards which could recommend next year for more boards to be moved from Kemp’s supervision. The House has already voted to transfer the State Archives from his control, moving it to the University System of Georgia.
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