Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Day 30- March 11, 2008

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Tonight on Lawmakers, it’s Crossover Day. In a surprise move, the House passes a revised version of Speaker Glenn Richardson’s tax relief plan, revised revenue estimates mean significant budget changes and the Senate passes a measure that would make it more difficult for law enforcement to secure no-knock warrants.

It’s Legislative Day 30 under the gold dome, also known as Crossover Day. This means that bills must pass out of the chamber in which they originated in order to be considered by the opposite chamber. As of 6 PM, the House is still in session but the Senate had recessed for the day.

House Resolution 1246 eliminates the annual birthday tax on vehicles and freezes property assessments, but does not include a cap on millage rates set by local governments. The measure also includes the Governor's proposal to eliminate the state portion of property taxes. Following the overwhelming passage of HR 1246, house members then passed House Bill 1158 adding a ten dollar fee to car registrations to pay for trauma care. Lawmakers Sandra Parrish reports.

Ad Valorem tax breaks also passed the Senate today. Senator Kasim Reed sponsors Senate Resolution 515 which gives local property tax breaks to service men and women and teachers who live in the district they serve.

Governor Sonny Perdue announced changes to Georgia’s revenue estimates yesterday. The slowing economy will force revisions in the FY 08 Amended and the FY 09 State Budgets. Instead of dipping into the State's $1.5 billion reserve fund, Governor Perdue wants to cut $65 million from the FY 08 Amended Budget and $245 million from FY 09. The Governor has recommended the reduction for this year's budget come from school technology and buses, while next year's cuts would include decreasing the proposed raise for state employees from 2.5 to 2%, among others. Lawmakers Bridget Snapp has the details.

The Senate today also passed two pieces of divestment legislation: one requires divestment from Iran, and the other curbs future divestment bills. Senator Don Balfour, sponsor of Senate Bill 451, says that legislation would require public pension funds to identify companies that have spent over $20 million dollars in oil and gas in Iran. Senate Bill 327 is designed to provide checks and balances for future divestment legislation. Lawmakers would need the approval from the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, or the House Speaker in writing, as well as a fiscal analysis.

The Senate today passed a measure that would make it more difficult for law enforcement to obtain no-knock warrants. Senate Bill 259 reads that a no-knock warrant cannot be obtained unless the judge finds that knocking imposes an imminent danger to the officers.

All that and more, tonight on Lawmakers.