ATLANTA — UPDATE: At a press conference Wednesday afternoon Georgia House Speaker David Ralston announced that $59.6 million has been appropriated in the amended 2020-2021 fiscal year budget to give a one-time $1,000 dollar bonus to state employees who make less than $80,000 a year.
He said it will cover some 57,000 state employees across most state agencies.
"We're talking about frontline employees at the Georgia Department of Public Health, who have fought COVID-19 day after day, working to get Georgians tested and vaccines distributed," Speaker Ralston said. "We're talking about our Georgia State Patrol and other state law enforcement who have tried to keep the peace in the tough days that we've seen over the last year. We're talking about... food inspectors who stayed on the job and kept our food supply safe, and we're talking about (Division of Family and Children Services) case workers who have continued serving and protecting children who are victims of abuse or neglect."
With the $1,000 bonuses, Gov. Brian Kemp said, "I believe we are doing our part as state leaders to say thank you for all that you have done."
"Our state employees have worked incredibly hard despite a global pandemic. They have been going above and beyond the call of duty to deliver essential services to our most vulnerable, keeping our businesses open and delivering financial assistance to those who, quite honestly, many days were losing hope," said the governor. "And like so many hard-working Georgians, they juggled jobs and school and the new normal for their kids and their families, like we all have, and from those of us here today we simply cannot thank you enough."
You can watch the full announcement in the video player above this story.
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Gov. Brian Kemp is giving a briefing this afternoon the state's budget.
Kemp submitted his budget proposal during his State of the State address last month, and the Georgia General Assembly has been at work since then coming together to pass a budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which will begin in July.
He will be joined at the press conference by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Georgia House Appropriations Committee Chairman Terry England.