Friday, February 1, 2008

Day 10- February 1, 2008

Tonight on Lawmakers, Department of Transportation Board members are elected in the Senate Chamber, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle holds a press conference, Rep. Rob Teilhet announces Rapid Refund Loans registration, more talk in the House on impeachment, our weekly talk with Tom Crawford of, and a look back at this week under the gold dome.

Following the Senate session this morning, the Chamber was turned over to Department of Transportation Board elections. Five elections were held today, two to re-elect unchallenged incumbents, and one to replace an outgoing board member. But the elections that drew the most attention were contested races against Board Chairman Mike Evans and Board Member Raybon Anderson, both supporters of new DOT Commissioner Gena Abraham.

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle spoke with Lawmakers co-anchor David Zelski this afternoon about his support of Constitutional Amendment to provide tax relief for homeowners. Senate Resolution 796 would freeze local property taxes, and keeps them from increasing more than 2% a year for residential and 3% for non–residential property.

Representative Rob Teilhet is sponsoring a measure that will put restrictions on rapid refund loans from so-called predatory lenders. House Bill 1030 would require greater disclosure of fees and conditions from those from individuals or companies offering tax refund loans.

The Senate today rejected the House version of controversial gun carry legislation. House Speaker Glenn Richardson responded, saying the House cannot agree to the 45–day gun licensing provision that the Senate included in their version of House Bill 89. Speaker Richardson appointed Representatives David Ralston, Sean Jerguson and Timothy Bearden to a Conference Committee.

And, it’s the end of another week under the gold dome, we’ll take a look back and check in with Tom Crawford, National Editor of

All that and more, tonight on Lawmakers. Watch Online!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Day 9- January 31, 2008

Tonight on Lawmakers, a controversial charter schools bill passes the House, Grady Hospital legislation moves through a Senate committee, a gun carry bill passes the House, the House passes a resolution to block the governor from shifting money in the state budget. And Georgia legislators endorse Mit Romney for president.

The House voted today 119 to 48 to pass House Bill 881, which will offer another avenue for creation of a charter school. The bill allows for the creation of seven-member charter commissions that would have jurisdiction over a charter school on the local level. The commissions would be made up of local leaders and educators. HB 881 now moves to the Senate.

Three pieces of legislation affecting Grady Hospital unanimously passed the Senate Governmental Oversight Committee today. Senator David Shafer is the sponsor of the bills which are aimed to create accountability for Grady.

The House unexpectedly took up House Bill 89 today. The bill as amended by the House would allow for gun owners to not only conceal firearms in their cars, but carry them in most public places. HB 89 now returns to the Senate. Lawmakers’ Sandra Parrish has the story.

The House voted to block Governor Perdue from shifting money around in the state budget. House Resolution 1025 would require the Governor to either approve or veto appropriations and/or the intended purposes of expenditures. The resolution now moves to the Senate, and if approved this constitutional amendment would require voter approval in November.

Over 50 Georgia legislators, including some Democrats, announced their support today for presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Those giving their support included House Speaker Pro-Tem Mark Burkhalter and Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston.

All that and more, tonight on Lawmakers. Watch Online!

Legislative Schedule Update

The Georgia General Assembly meets for no more than 40 legislative days each spring. The session commences on the second Monday after the first Tuesday in January. The legislature does not necessarily meet on consecutive days and the session often extends through March and well into April. The House and Senate set their schedule by Resolution, so, we at Lawmakers are often unaware of what the schedule will be until the Resolution is brought to the floor in one of the chambers for a vote.

When a Resolution is passed, it generally sets the schedule for up to two weeks at a time. On January 30, the Senate and House adopted SR 782, which sets the following schedule:

Friday, February 1. . . . . .in session for legislative day 10
Saturday, February 2. . . . . . .in adjournment
Sunday, February 3. . . . . . . . in adjournment
Monday, February 4.. . . . . . . in adjournment
Tuesday, February 5.. . . in session for legislative day 11
Wednesday, February session for legislative day 12
Thursday, February 7. . . in session for legislative day 13
Friday, February 8. . . . . . in session for legislative day 14
Saturday, February 9. . . . . . . in adjournment
Sunday, February 10. . . . . . . .in adjournment
Monday, February 11.. . . .in session for legislative day 15

For all the latest from under the gold dome, join Lawmakers on GPB Television at 7pm every day that the Georgia General Assembly is in session.

We will continue to update the schedule here on our blog when a new resolution is passed by both chambers!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Day 8- January 30, 2008

Tonight on Lawmakers, a measure designed to help Georgians combat identity theft passes the House, Gov. Perdue announces plans to insure more Georgians, the Joint Commission on Standards releases a report that tackles Georgia’s transportation challenges, Rep. Barry Fleming speaks out on today’s developments in the Brian Nichols trial, and the Senate Science and Technology Committee hears testimony on the EPA’s proposal to tighten air quality restrictions.

The House passed House Bill 130 today, which will allow for consumers to freeze their credit reports with one of the three credit reporting agencies. Amendments were passed that set the price for consumers instituting a freeze and require the agencies to offer the service by phone, fax, or the web. If passed, Georgia would become the 40th state in the nation to offer credit freezes to consumers.

Governor Sonny Perdue held a press conference today to announce a healthcare plan that will lead to more Georgians being insured. The plan would allow holders of some high-premium policies to deduct the cost of their premiums from their state income taxes if they have not already taken the deduction on their federal income taxes.

The Joint Commission on Standards released a report today that tackles Georgia’s transportation problems. Some solutions offered include private funding and transportation taxes. The recommendations will be included in upcoming legislation this session.

Representative Barry Fleming addressed reporters today on new developments in the Brian Nichols trial. Judge Hilton Fuller is stepping down from the trial after making comments on Nichols’s guilt to a reporter. Rep. Fleming has been a critic of Judge Fuller and the millions of dollars spent on defense for the trial.

The Senate Science and Technology Committee heard testimony on the effects of the new EPA ozone level regulations today. Former North Caroline governor, James Martin, told the committee that the lower levels of ozone emissions that are proposed could cost the metro Atlanta economy billions of dollars if implemented.

All that and more, tonight on Lawmakers. Watch Online!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Day 7- January 29, 2008

Tonight on Lawmakers, the House passes a bill to fix the state’s sex offender law, Democratic lawmakers unveil legislation to lower property taxes and increase funding for public schools, an exclusive interview with Appropriations Chairs Senator Jack Hill and Representative Ben Harbin, and it’s Drinking Water Security Day at the Capitol.

The House passed changes to Georgia’s sex offender law today. The present law prohibits registered sex offenders from residing or working anywhere within a 1000 foot radius any place where minors congregate. House Bill 908 allows for registered sex offenders to remain on owned property or maintain employment within the 1000 foot limit, so long as they owned the property or were employed there before July 1, 2006. HB 908 now moves to the Senate.

Democratic lawmakers announced today that new legislation to lower property taxes and increase public school funding will be introduced tomorrow. The plan is reported to provide $600 million from the state’s reserve funds to local school systems, and is intended to lower the burden of property taxes. Lawmakers’ Bridget Snapp has more.

Lawmakers co-anchors David Zelski and Nwandi Lawson sat down today with Appropriations chairs Senator Jack Hill and Representative Ben Harbin. Topics covered included the effect of the economy on Georgia’s budget, pork barrel spending, and the funding for trauma care.

Today was Drinking Water Security Day at the Capitol. Members of the Georgia Rural Water Association gathered under the gold dome to bring awareness to drinking water issues in the state. Lawmakers’ Andi Dixon has the story.

All that and more, tonight on Lawmakers. Watch Online!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Day 6- January 28, 2008

Tonight on Lawmakers, the Senate votes to override a Gov. Perdue veto, the Grady Hospital Board considers privatization, House Majority Leader Rep. Jerry Keen says the Senate should act quickly on the remaining veto overrides, and a look back at last week’s Budget Briefings.

The Senate finished what the House started by voting to override one of Gov. Perdue’s vetoes. The historic move was the first override of a governor veto in Georgia since 1974. House Bill 529, dealing with the naming of the legislative budget office was passed by both houses last year before the veto by Gov. Perdue.

The Grady Hospital Board met late this afternoon to discuss the possibility of privatizing the hospital, which is the largest level one trauma center in Georgia. As of this posting, no decision had been reached. Bridget Snapp will have more in the Lawmakers broadcast.

House Majority Leader Rep. Jerry Keen held a press conference today to urge the Senate to take up the remaining veto overrides as soon as possible. Remaining veto overrides to be considered by the Senate include legislation dealing with the HOPE Scholarship and charter school employees.

David Zelski presents a look back at last week’s Budget Briefings before the Joint Appropriations Committee. We’ll have those highlights and more, tonight on Lawmakers.

Watch Online!