Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 10- January 30, 2009

Tonight on Lawmakers, the House passes legislation extending the Homeowner Tax Relief Grant but with an important caveat; the Senate Judiciary Committee votes to put public defenders under the Governor’s control; an overview of the proposal to restructure the Department of Human Resources and we’ll take a look back at the second week of the Georgia General Assembly.

The House today agreed to guarantee the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant (HTRG), but only for one additional year. The passage of House Bill 143 was preceded by debate about the fairness of eliminating the subsidy.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a measure yesterday that would strip the power from the entire board of the Public Defender Standards Council. Lawyers with the Council represent indigent defendants in criminal cases. Judiciary Chair Senator Preston Smith is the sponsor of Senate Bill 42. Lawmakers’ Valarie Edwards has more.

The State’s largest agency may be pared down into three smaller ones. Governor Sonny Perdue’s plan to restructure the Department of Human Resources is contained in House Bill 228. Lawmakers’ Nwandi Lawson speaks with Representative Mark Butler, the Governor’s Floor Leader, who sponsors the bill.

Non-profit groups have joined the organizations that have come to the Capitol to express concern about looming state budget cuts. The United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta held an event yesterday afternoon to appeal to legislators to continue public safety net programs during these difficult economic times. Lawmakers’ Minoo Hosseini has that story.

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle took a few moments yesterday to discuss this year’s proposal to improve Georgia’s transportation problems. He still supports the creation of a Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax or T-SPLOST.

Democrats say proposed cuts to the budget put due stress on local school systems . House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter says the education budget has little to do with tough economic times.

Healthcare officials from across Georgia assembled at the Capitol this morning for an education and awareness day. With Governor Sonny Perdue’s proposed hospital and provider tax of 1.6% still under consideration, it gave the Georgia Hospital Association a chance to voice their concerns over the plan. Lawmakers’ Brittany Evans reports.

All that and more tonight on Lawmakers at 7 PM.

Lawmakers repeats on GPB Radio at 8 PM tonight and tomorrow morning on GPB Knowledge at 7 AM. You can also catch a repeat of Lawmakers on GPB television at 5:30 AM Monday morning. GPB Knowledge is available to those with digital television receivers at .3 of your local GPB transmitter, for example 20.3 in Augusta, or 8.3 in Atlanta.