Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 17- February 11, 2009

Tonight on Lawmakers, a bill that would allow Georgia Power to charge consumers for the construction of future power plants passes the Senate, legislation aimed at preventing another school board crisis like the one in Clayton County is heard in Senate committee and a look at “Loser Pays” tort reform legislation the Governor says will reduce what he calls “frivolous lawsuits”.

The Senate votes to approve the Georgia Nuclear Energy Financing Act. Senate Bill 31 would allow utility companies to charge customers to cover the cost of building nuclear power plants- before the plants are built. Opponents say the legislation ties the hands of the Public Service Commission, which usually makes utility rate decisions. Lawmakers’ Brittany Evans reports.

The House today passed three bills. House Bill 71 seeks to close a loophole that provides a defense for use of false identifications; House Bill 116 extends the sales tax exemption for the sale or use of engines, parts, equipment and other tangible personal property used in the repair or maintenance of aircraft not registered in Georgia but that are being repaired or maintained in Georgia; and House Bill 231 which would allow interior designers to design non-load–bearing walls in structures other than offices.

In addition to passing Senate Bill 31 today, the Senate also passed Senate Resolution 107, which urges Congress to facilitate the building of reservoirs upstream from Lake Sidney Lanier.

Legislation designed to cut down on what Governor Sonny Perdue has termed “frivolous lawsuits” is being met with resistance. Perdue announced the initiative last month at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs and Issues breakfast. Senate Bill 108, sponsored by Senator Bill Cowsert, provides for what has been called a “loser pays” system, which opponents say should be termed a “victim pays” system. Lawmakers Valarie Edwards continues her look into proposed tort reform legislation.

The Senate Education and Youth committee this afternoon heard discussion on Senate Bill 84, legislation aimed at preventing another school board crisis like the one in Clayton County. An initiative of Governor Sonny Perdue, the bill is sponsored by Senator Bill Heath and seeks to revise elections provisions for school boards.

For the third year in a row, the Georgia General Assembly is considering revising the State’s criminal code to include a life without parole sentence for murder. Senate Bill 13 sponsor, Senator Preston Smith, says that the bill would close a gaping hole in Georgia law. The bill received a do-pass from the House Judiciary Non-Civil committee this morning.

Senate Democrats today introduced of another piece of legislation designed to help veterans in areas from education to financial aid. Senator Robert Brown sheds light on what has been termed the “Five for Fighting” agenda.

House Bill 123 would change the offense of child molestation to include direct contact by electronic means, the internet or telephone. A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Non–Civil committee gave the legislation a do-pass recommendation this afternoon. Representative Matt Ramsey is the sponsor of the bill and the chair of the Subcommittee.

Senator Greg Goggans introduced legislation today that would add a $10 fee to tags purchased for passenger vehicles in Georgia to fund the State’s Trauma Care Network. He took a point of personal privilege to invite his fellow Senators to sign on to the legislation.

And Licensed Practical Nurses or LPNs from across Georgia came to the Capitol today. Several legislators and Secretary of State Karen Handel joined the celebration of careers in the medical field. Lawmakers’ Tiana Fernandez has that story.

All that and more tonight on Lawmakers at 7 PM.

Lawmakers repeats on GPB Radio at 8 PM tonight and tomorrow morning on GPB television at 5:30 AM. You can also watch a repeat of Lawmakers tomorrow morning on GPB Knowledge at 7 AM. 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.