Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 19- February 17, 2009

Tonight on Lawmakers, President Barack Obama signs the federal stimulus bill, Governor Perdue, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and House Speaker Glenn Richardson talk about the impact here in Georgia; the House votes to reconsider their action on legislation that could allow voters to decide to freeze property tax assessments; GPB Radio News Director Susanna Capelouto joins us to talk about the lack of science teachers from Georgia’s Universities; peanut producers join forces with legislators to make the case for the safety of peanut products; and GPB completes the transition to digital television, we talk with Assistant General Manager Bob Olive.

Earlier today Governor Sonny Perdue adjusted State revenue projections downward for fiscal year 09, increasing the current budget shortfall of $2.2 billion by an additional $450 million. But with President Barack Obama’s signing of the stimulus bill in Denver this afternoon, Georgia will soon receive help from the federal government. Lawmakers’ Valarie Edwards reports on the future of those federal dollars here in Georgia.

The House today voted to reconsider their action on House Resolution 1, which would create a referendum for voters to decide if increases in assessed values of real property for ad valorem tax purposes should be capped at the lesser of 3% or the rate of inflation. That legislation failed to garner the necessary 2/3 majority to pass the House last Thursday. House Bill 233, which provides for a moratorium on all increases in assessed values of real property from 2009 through 2011, did pass on Thursday. That legislation would also allow for the reduction of assessed values and requires that each parcel be reassessed at least once during the time period. The House failed to reconsider their action in passing HB 233 last week, so that legislation moves to the Senate. HR 1 is back in the House Rules Committee.

The House today approved Governor Perdue–backed legislation that seeks to grant pharmacists and nurses the ability to administer flu shots through the use of a written protocol rather than a patient–specific prescription. Supporters say that House Bill 217 will increase Georgians' access to the flu vaccine. Governor Perdue's floor leader, Representative Jimmy Pruett sponsors the bill. The House also approved House Bill 294 would require that the General Assembly approve any consolidation, creation, suspension or discontinuation of a technical college or institution under the State Board of Technical and Adult Education. Representative Butch Parrish sponsors the measure.

The Senate today approved Senate Bill 58 and Senate Bill 4. Senator Dan Weber sponsored Senate Bill 58 which deals with provisions for the delivery of services and disposition of properties in new municipalities. Senator Steve Henson raised questions about the need for the legislation. Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Senator Gloria Butler, would require constables or marshals to notify protected persons upon service of certain protective orders.

In his remarks at the annual Eggs and Issues breakfast at the beginning of the 2009 session, Governor Sonny Perdue noted that Georgia's Universities are producing very few science teachers. GPB Radio's News Director Susanna Capelouto has been visiting colleges and looking into the issues that surround the recruitment, education and retention of science teachers for Georgia's classrooms. David Zelski talks with Susanna about what she has discovered.

Since 1971, every one of the approximately 1500 Lawmakers broadcasts have been transmitted over Georgia Educational Television's, Georgia Public Television's, and now Georgia Public Broadcasting's analog transmitters. Today's Lawmakers program will be the last ever broadcast over the analog spectrum. GPB is permanently shutting down its analog transmitters tonight at midnight. Nwandi Lawson talks with Bob Olive, GPB's Assistant General Manager about the change to all digital transmission of our television programming.

A coalition of religious and human rights leaders held a press conference today to call on lawmakers to address threats to fairness and due process in the State's capital punishment system. Martina Correia, sister of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis, and Senator Vincent Fort, sponsor of a death penalty moratorium bill, spoke out about the need for reform. Lawmakers’ Andrea Hummel-Shelton has that story.

From 9 to 10 AM this morning was designated as the “Peanut Power Hour” under the gold dome. Legislators and peanut producers joined forces to reassure the public that peanut products are safe to eat. Lawmakers’ Alan Friedman has more.

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.