Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day 32- March 18, 2008

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Tonight on Lawmakers, Senate leaders propose a 10% state income tax cut, Governor Perdue asks for emergency federal assistance to help in Georgia’s recovery from the weekend’s severe weather and Representative Ron Sailor pleads guilty to federal money laundering charges.

Senate leaders, including Lt. Governor Casey Cagle propose major changes to the tax plan that passed the House last week. Changes to House Resolution 1246 are expected Thursday. The expected changes include elimination of the house's proposal to wipe out personal vehicle taxes over the next 2 years. Instead, it implements a 10% reduction in state income taxes, delivered over the next 5 years. Senate changes would also set limits on government spending. Lawmakers Bridget Snapp reports.

The Senate today passed the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank Act. House Bill 1019 is an initiative from the Joint House-Senate Transportation Study Committee which met over the summer. The legislation creates another avenue for funding for local transportation projects.

Many lawmakers returned to the State Capitol in Atlanta for the first time since Friday's tornado hit the downtown area. Governor Perdue has already as President George W. Bush for an expedited federal disaster declaration in light of the weekend tornados. Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine estimates the damage at more than 250 million dollars. Lawmakers’ Sandra Parrish has more about cleanup and recovery efforts.

State Representative Ron Sailor, Jr. plead guilty today to federal money laundering charges. As part of the plea agreement, Sailor will resign from the Georgia House of Representatives. The 33 year old preacher from Decatur, who was elected to the house in 2001, could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. Federal officials say because of financial problems he tried to launder money for a drug dealer who was really an undercover agent. Today, fellow House members and Gov. Perdue reacted to the news.

Have a craving for ostrich or emu meat? Then you might be interested to know that the House today voted to reclassify a number of large, flightless birds as “poultry” rather than “livestock”. Senate Bill 364 passed without opposition, but not without some joking.

House Rules Chair Earl Ehrhart had harsh words this morning for the Senate, which he said is holding up the progress of the overrides of the Governor's vetoes passed by the House on the first day of the session. The House Rules committee put three Senate Bills on tomorrow's calendar, including SB 82, which would allow for the incorporation of Dunwoody.

All that and more, tonight on Lawmakers.