Though the General Assembly has paused any further action for the week amid the death of Speaker Tim Moore’s father, the Senate State and Local Government Committee convened on Tuesday before the closure to consider legislation that would assist government agencies with employee recruitment. 

The committee approved House Bill 223, which aims to streamline hiring processes for state positions through the State Human Resources Commission. Many state agencies cite staffing shortages as a key issue, such as the Division of Motor Vehicles, which has been under scrutiny for long wait times. 

The legislation would provide transparency and efficiency in the job recruitment process by authorizing agencies to make job offers immediately after interviews, contingent on satisfactory references and background checks. Additionally, the bill would allow applicants to be considered for future job postings if they are identified as qualified within the same field.

To facilitate hiring new employees faster, the bill removes the requirement that job openings be filled no sooner than 21 days after listing. Job postings must include a brief description of the duties and salary range.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall has said her department faced “a crisis” over inadequate funding for agency staff, and the Department of Adult Corrections has also struggled with staffing issues in recent years. The department has made several efforts to draw in new employees while retaining current employees through a $1.2 million investment to push recruiting efforts statewide on billboards and at gas stations. 

The bill also targets applicants who provide false or misleading information about their employment history. Employees who knowingly provide dishonest information on employment applications to meet position qualifications would be fired. 

In a new section of the bill, the Department of Health and Human Services would be permitted to run a two-year pilot program that prioritizes the hiring of temporary employees who have been working with DHHS for at least six months.  

The bill passed the House in 2023 and now awaits consideration in the Senate Committee On Rules and Operations. While it doesn’t address ongoing salary concerns, it would simplify some of the steps agencies must take when hiring prospective employees.