Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 28- March 9, 2009

Tonight on Lawmakers, the House passes a controversial measure to increase fines on super speeders, a Senate committee votes to ban embryonic stem cell research in Georgia, opponents and proponents speak out; the $18.9 billion 2009 amended budget heads to conference committee, the Senate approves Governor-Perdue backed legislation to waive liability for landowners willing to open their property for agri-tourism purposes and the House adopts legislation aimed at building Georgia’s workforce for high demand, high skill and high paying jobs.

Legislation backed by Governor Sonny Perdue that would tack an additional fine to speeding tickets passed by a wide margin in the House today. However, the so-called “Super Speeder” bill had its detractors. House Bill 160, sponsored by Representative Jim Cole would add $200 to the cost of a speeding ticket where the offender is caught driving 85 MPH or more on the State’s highways. On a two lane road, the excessive speed threshold is 75 MPH or more. Lawmakers’ Valarie Edwards has the details.

Conferees have been appointed to hammer out the differences in House Bill 118, the Supplemental Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2009. The midyear amended budget totals $18.9 billion. The House conferees are Appropriations Chair Ben Harbin, Majority Leader Jerry Keen and Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter. Senate conferees are Appropriations Chair Jack Hill, Majority Leader Chip Rogers and President Pro Tem Tommie Williams.

A bill that would prohibit creating new embryos for stem cell research received a do pass recommendation by substitute from the Senate Health and Human Services Committee today. Senate Bill 169, sponsored by Senator Ralph Hudgens, was originally touted as the “Octomom Bill” that would limit the number of embryos that could be implanted through in-vitro fertilization. Over the weekend, the entire intent of the bill changed. Lawmakers’ Brittany Evans reports.

Legislation aimed at improving graduation rates and the preparation of Georgia’s workforce passed the House today. House Bill 400, the Building Resourceful Individuals to Develop Georgia’s Economy, or BRIDGE, Act is sponsored by Representative Fran Millar. The bill would provide for focused studies in certain fields so that high school students can graduate prepared for the job force or post secondary careers. Lawmakers’ Minoo Hosseini has more.

Governor Perdue-backed legislation that would waive liability for landowners willing to open their property to agri-tourism passed the Senate today. Senate Bill 75, the Landowners Protection Act, is sponsored by Senator Bill Heath. The initiative was first introduced last year, but supporters hope that it successfully pass both chambers this year. Lawmakers’ Emily Banks 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 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.