Friday, February 8, 2008

Day 14- February 8, 2008

Tonight on Lawmakers, the House passes the 2008 Supplemental Budget, a DNA testing bill is announced, the State Ethics Commission launches an investigation into expenditures of Representative Sharon Beasley-Teague. The Senate passes a bill giving Georgians an extra month to file homestead tax exemptions, Senator Judson Hill explains his healthcare legislation, it’s time for our weekly talk with Tom Crawford of, and the Week Wrap.

The House today passed House Bill 989, the 2008 Supplemental Budget. The bill adds over $332 million to state spending for the 2008 fiscal year. Representative Steve Davis took the well to complain about overspending in state government.

Senator Bill Hamrick introduced a bill today that would allow for DNA samples to be taken from any suspect in a known case. Currently the law only allows for DNA to be taken from convicted felons. Sen. Hamrick says Senate Bill 430 will aid law enforcement in to solve more cold cases.

Lawmakers learned late this afternoon that the State Ethics Commission has launched an investigation into campaign disclosures of Rep. Sharon Beasley-Teague. More on this story Monday on Lawmakers.

A bill that will give most Georgians extra time to file their homestead tax exemptions passed the Senate today. Senate Bill 159 changes the deadline for filing from March 1st to the close of the calendar year. The bill now moves to the House.

Lawmakers’ Bridget Snapp spoke with Senator Judson Hill today about his new healthcare legislation. Sen. Hill says Senate Bill 383 will help the 1.7 million Georgians who don’t currently have health insurance by offering tax breaks and incentives to small businesses.

And it’s the end of the week, so that means it’s time to talk with Tom Crawford, National Editor of David and Nwandi talked with Tom about repercussions for the DOT Board elections, the continuing water issues in the state, and the budget.

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

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Day 13- February 7, 2008

Tonight on Lawmakers, the Senate debates legislation that could make driving with a suspended license a felony, the House reconsiders its action on a bill to expand the Georgia Composite Medical Board, the Parent Protection Act gets heard before a House committee, Robocalls legislation rears up again, and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle announces transportation legislation.

The Senate took up Senate Bill 350 today, which aims to make driving with a suspended license in Georgia a felony on the fourth offense. The bill, which is sponsored by Sen. John Wiles, was introduced last year, but was vetoed by Governor Sonny Perdue. Sen. Wiles believes new changes will meet with the Governor’s approval. SB 350 passed the Senate, and now goes to the House.

Senator Eric Johnson’s "Robocalls" legislation was heard before the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee today. SB 379 aims to make the use of automated calling machines illegal unless the operator holds a state permit. The legislation would not affect the use of recorded messages from emergency services, churches, or schools. Lawmakers’ Sandra Parrish has the story.

The Parent Protection Act, House Bill 901, got a hearing before the House Industrial Relations Committee. HB 901 would allow for employees in the private sector to take time off for medical needs and/or attend to the educational needs of their children in cases where such leave isn’t guaranteed by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Lawmakers’ Bridget Snapp has more.

The House voted today to reconsider its action on House Bill 492, which passed the House yesterday. Controversy arose when the bill was amended to allow for three advance practice nurses to serve on the Georgia Composite Medical Board. HB 492 now returns to the House General Calendar, and the House Rules Committee may or may not place it back on the House Rules Calendar.

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle announced new bi-partisan transportation legislation at a press conference today. The resolution proposes a constitutional amendment that would allow county governments to propose a one percent Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST. Eighty percent of those funds could be used on the local level to fund transportation projects, while the remaining 20 percent would be returned to the state.

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

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Day 12- February 6, 2008

Tonight on Lawmakers, water seems to be on everyone’s mind. Governor Sonny Perdue signs the Statewide Water Plan and EPD Director Dr. Carol Couch gives a drought update and talk of swimming pools abound. An exclusive interview with DHR Commissioner B.J. Walker after plans to restructure that agency were announced Monday and Democrats announce the predicted impact of their property tax rollback on local education systems. Also the House and Senate take up legislation to resolve a 200 year old border dispute between Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Governor Sonny Perdue signed the Statewide Water Plan into law at a press conference today. The plan, which proposed by the Georgia Water Council, will create 11 regions with 25-member water councils to address water concerns in those regions. Gov. Perdue also announced that amid the easing of statewide water restrictions, the filling of swimming pools would once again be on legal ground. Meanwhile legislation that would have limited the EPD’s ability to control water in swimming pools was tabled in committee.

Amid allegations of misconduct and patient abuse in the state’s mental hospitals, Gov. Perdue announced plans Monday to restructure the state Department of Human Resources. Tonight, Lawmakers Bridget Snapp sits down with DHR Commissioner B.J. Walker, director of one of the state’s largest agencies.

Democrats said today that the property tax rollback in HB 1057 could benefit local school districts. The plan would give a portion of the $300 million dollar State Education Fund to city and county schools in exchange for lower property taxes. Democratic leadership believes this plan, in addition to a Democratic plan to fully fund Georgia’s Quality Basic Education Act, will overcome recent cuts to education.

Senator David Shafer introduced a bill that will seek to resolve the dispute between Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina over the northern border of Georgia. According to Sen. Shafer, the true northern border of Georgia lies along the 35th Parallel. A survey taken in the 19th Century established the border several miles south of that line. Senate Resolution 822 and a companions resolution in the House would create two boundary line commissions to work out a solution with Tennessee and North Carolina.

We’ll also have Georgia’s Presidential Preference Primary Results.

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

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Day 11- February 5, 2008

Tonight on Lawmakers, backlash over Friday’s Department of Transportation Board vote, legislation allowing consumers greater freedom to freeze their credit reports passes its Senate committee, Governor Perdue announces plans to revamp the Department of Human Resources, the Statewide Water Plan gains final passage in the Senate, and an exclusive interview with House Democratic Leader, Representative DuBose Porter.

In a move many view as retaliation to Friday’s DOT Board vote, House Speaker Glenn Richardson demoted four members of House committees from their positions. Representatives Martin Scott, Doug Collins, Tom Graves, and John Meadows rifted with Richardson when they voted against his candidate for chairman of the Department of Transportation board, and supported Mike Evans, who had the support of Gov. Perdue. Sandra Parrish has the story.

The Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee heard testimony on SB 361, which would give consumers more control over freezing their credit reports. A similar bill has already passed the House and currently resides in that same committee. SB 361 passed the committee and now moves to Senate Rules.

Amid allegations of misconduct and patient abuse in the state’s mental hospitals, Gov. Perdue yesterday announced plans to restructure the state Department of Human Resources. The Governor has established a commission which will look at ways to reform the DHR, which is one of the state’s largest agencies.

The Senate today passed House Resolution 1022, known as the Statewide Water Plan, in a vote of 42 to 10. The resolution now moves to the Governor for his signature. Gov. Perdue issued a statement that says he intends to sign the resolution into law tomorrow.

Lawmakers co-anchor Nwandi Lawson spoke with House Democratic Leader, Representative DuBose Porter today for the Lawmakers Leadership Interview Series. Rep. Porter addressed the Democratic agenda in the House regarding healthcare, education, and water.

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