ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp has signed a series of bills benefitting members of the military, their spouses and military retirees.

This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service

Monday’s signing ceremony took place at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus before an audience of active-duty service members and retirees.

“These men and women, and others like them around our state who proudly wear a uniform, have chosen careers of service above self,” Kemp said. “They make our nation stronger, they defend our freedom and way of life, and they make our communities better places to call home.

“So today, we are taking important steps forward in more fully recognizing and thanking them for those contributions.”

Kemp signed legislation providing the first military retirement income tax exemption in Georgia history. He also signed bills to expedite the issuance of professional and business licenses to military spouses and allow veterans to use their Veterans Health Identification Card when they seek the service of a public notary.

A fourth measure, named in honor of the late state Sen. Jack Hill, will allow taxpayers to donate all or part of their annual state income tax refund to scholarships for disabled veterans.

Georgia has the nation’s fifth largest military population, with almost 700,000 former service members and more than 101,000 military retirees calling the Peach State home.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Dave Williams/Capitol Beat

Dave Williams is bureau chief for Capitol Beat News Service, a service of the Georgia Press Education Foundation.