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.
Georgia Gov. Brian KempBrian KempI voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Abrams targets Black churchgoers during campaign stops for McAuliffe in Virginia Arbery murder trial set to begin this week MORE (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.
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 BidenJoe BidenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Methane fee faces negotiations White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege The No Surprises Act: a bill long overdue MORE 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.
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.
Rhyan Lake, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Georgia, applauded Kemp for the new initiative, writing in a statement that the group is glad that the governor “has finally come around to supporting President Biden’s American Rescue Plan after staunchly opposing this critical relief for working Georgians and law enforcement.”
Lake also knocked Kemp and Republicans in the state for their previous opposition to the American Rescue Plan.
“If Kemp or any of Georgia’s Republican Senate candidates had their way, Georgia would not be seeing a dime of this essential funding for our first responders. These bonuses are thanks exclusively to the President and Georgia Democrats, who passed the COVID-19 relief package without a single Georgia Republican vote,” Lake said.
This story was updated at 6:38 p.m.