Modeled after programs in Georgia and New Jersey, the measure will allow dislocated workers to receive on the job training at private companies, while continuing to receive their unemployment benefits for eight weeks.
After that period, the company providing the training will have the opportunity to hire the retrained worker in a full-time capacity. Employers that demonstrate a pattern of continued employment of the workers will be eligible for grants under the new law.
Democratic House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley, the sponsor of the legislation, said Georgia's labor commissioner estimated the program there saved the state about $6 million in unemployment insurance, "while nearly two-thirds of participants found work within three months of completing the program."
"The great thing about this legislation is that it's not just another entitlement, it actually requires people to work in order to receive their benefits," Fitzhugh said. "At the same time, companies get to train a new employee at little to no cost. So by the time the training is done, the displaced worker has a new job and the company has a highly trained employee."
Also going into effect is a law aimed at prohibiting abortion-inducing drugs such as RU-486 from being prescribed by a doctor remotely or through teleconferencing. The physician is required to be present with the pregnant woman.
"Even with the advent of new technology, the doctor-patient relationship remains a critical part of a good healthcare system," said Republican Sen. Rusty Crowe of Johnson City, who sponsored the measure. "The dispensing of this medication can have serious effects and should never be done remotely."
Other laws taking effect on Tuesday include a measure to curb prescription drug abuse by requiring doctors to check a controlled-substance database before prescribing certain drugs, and legislation to keep business owners apprised of changes in government regulation and their status as license holders.