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Politics Georgia to use federal funds to provide first responders $1,000 bonus

01:10  28 september  2021
01:10  28 september  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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Georgia is rolling out a program that will use federal funds to provide first responders with $1,000 bonuses to recognize the "sacrifice and dedication" workers showed amid the pandemic.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp © Getty Images Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced the new supplement on Monday, which will be open to all eligible full-time public safety officers and first responders, including law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians and firefighters. It will also provide a $300 stipend for volunteer firefighters.

Employers of first responders will be in charge of applying for the program and allocating the funds to their eligible employees. Eligible employers include state agencies, counties, cities and private ambulance services, according to the state.

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The program will apply to more than 80,000 workers, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The state said it will be using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act - the COVID-19 relief bill President Biden signed in March - for the bonuses.

Applications will be accepted between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.

"Our law enforcement officials and first responders answered the call of duty and bravely served on the front line of our fight against COVID-19, despite the unprecedented challenges thrown their way," Kemp said in a statement.

"Working with Speaker Ralston and the General Assembly, today, we are taking yet another step in supporting our men and women in uniform and first responders by providing this well-deserved bonus. Like they do every day, these heroic Georgians ran toward the COVID-19 crisis and put their lives on the line to protect others," he added.

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The state of Georgia said the bonuses "seek to address the negative economic impact of the pandemic on law enforcement" by providing funds to help offset expenses that may have risen amid the pandemic, including rapid testing to return to work, child care costs and isolation lodging.

"This program was established in recognition of the sacrifice and dedication those individuals have shown in serving Georgians and their communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic," the state added.

Georgia officials in February announced that they were rolling out a new program to provide $1,000 bonuses to more than 57,000 state employees who make less than $80,000 a year.

In January, Kemp announced a similar program for bonuses for public school teachers in Georgia.

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