Wed., May 1, 2013 4:53pm (EDT)

Deal Signs Child Care, Driver Bills
By Adam Ragusea
Updated: 1 year ago

MACON, Ga.  —  
A student at St. Andrews Montessori School in Macon listens as Gov. Nathan Deal prepares to sign legislation stepping up background checks for child care workers. (Photo: Adam Ragusea / GPB News)
A student at St. Andrews Montessori School in Macon listens as Gov. Nathan Deal prepares to sign legislation stepping up background checks for child care workers. (Photo: Adam Ragusea / GPB News)
A bill requiring stricter background checks for Georgia child care workers is now law, after Gov. Nathan Deal signed the legislation Wednesday afternoon in Macon.

Kids from St. Andrews Montessori were very excited to see the Governor's helicopter land in the front lawn of their school. Standing on playground mulch, Deal explained why he was signing the bill drafted by Macon state Rep. Allen Peake.

"We know that while sometimes criminals may apply for jobs in these types of setting, we want to know who is being hired on our childcare facilities," Deal said.

Up until now, only the owners and managers of licensed childcare facilities have had to undergo a fingerprint-based national criminal records check. All other workers only had to go through a less expensive check of state records that would have missed any out-of-state convictions.

But now every new employee will have to undergo the national screening, and current employees will get periodic checks going forward.

Ga. driver's license bills now law

Earlier in the day, Deal signed two pieces of legislation aimed at making it easier for foreign nationals to get a driver's license.

People can now get a Georgia license just by showing their license from their home country, provided that foreign governments work out reciprocal agreements with the state. Also, people who are waiting to get their visas renewed can now get a temporary license with their old visa.

Deal signed the bills at the Kia Motors plant in West Point. "We believe both of those make our state more business-friendly to international business people," he said. "We have a growing presence of foreign companies, Kia being one of the classic examples."

Deal stressed that both laws only apply to legal residents of the state.