Exclusive: Gov. Kemp discusses $69M school safety plan, religious liberty bill

In his first TV interview as Georgia's 83rd governor, Gov. Brian Kemp outlined his agenda for the upcoming year with Channel 2 Action News.

Kemp came by our studios Tuesday morning to talk with Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot about the issues his administration will tackle.

At the top of his agenda are issues related to education. Kemp promised a “historic and well-deserved” pay raise for public school teachers.

"Forty-four percent of our teachers are leaving the profession before the first five years. That is killing our local school districts," Kemp told Elliot.

The governor also unveiled a $69 million plan in the amended budget for school security.

"That will give schools, every single school in our state, all 2,294 public schools, a $30,000 grant," Kemp said.

The chair of the school safety committee says the state will have guidelines, but it will be up to the individual school districts to decided how to best use the money.


Elliot and Kemp talked about the governor's desire to work on healthcare without expanding Medicaid and the religious liberty bill.

"My positions on religious freedom have been very clear. I feel like we should implement what is in the federal statute word for word. Many other states have that. It does not discriminate," he said.

But some groups, including members of the LGBT community, feel it will lead to discrimination because Georgia does not have an underlying civil rights law to protect them.

Some within Georgia’s $10 billion film industry also oppose the bill and have said they would leave the state and its generous tax breaks behind.

But Kemp thinks those tax breaks, which he says he fully supports, are too good for the film industry to leave.

"So I don’t really buy the film industry leaving, you know. There may be some Hollywood actors that do that. But quite honestly, they’re taking advantage of the film tax credits and they don’t even live here," Kemp told Elliot.