Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 29- March 10, 2009

Tonight on Lawmakers, the House and Senate agree to the Conference Committee Report on the FY 09 amended budget, the House takes aim at increasing the regulation of food processing plants on a local level, the House votes to eliminate the universal access fee to fund rural telephone service but fails to give passage to a measure that would prevent pharmacists from prescribing some generics, the Senate approves measures that would protect borrowers from subprime loans and require that every drivers’ license exam administered in Georgia be given in English only; and our leadership series of interviews continues with Senate Democratic Whip David Adelman.

House and Senate Conferees came to an agreement on the $18.9 billion amended 09 budget today. House Bill 118 includes state government spending reductions of almost $2 billion, but protects the $428 million Homeowners’ Tax Relief Grants. The plan also cuts State legislative office budgets by 8%. Federal stimulus funds have cushioned to blow of deeper budget cuts.

Senate Bill 57 passed the Senate today. The Georgia Fair Lending Act aims to protect borrowers from subprime home loans. The legislation defines what a subprime loan is and defines the role of a mortgage broker. According to the bill, creditors can’t offer loans without “reasonably and in good faith” believing that the borrower can afford it. Lawmakers’ Brittany Evans reports.

A bill that changes the way that food processing plants are regulated passed the House today. House Bill 381 was proposed as a preventative measure following the recent salmonella outbreak at a peanut processing plant in Blakely, Georgia. The legislation revises certain provisions of the Georgia Food Act to increase local regulation. Lawmakers’ Evan Seitz has more.

Legislation calling for the reinstatement of the 4% sales tax on groceries could come to the House floor for a vote on Thursday, but it is more likely dead for the session. House Bill 67, sponsored by Representative Chuck Sims, received a do pass by committee substitute from the House Ways and Means Committee last week.

A measure to prohibit the administration of drivers’ license exams in any language other than English also passed the Senate today. Senate Bill 67 also known as the “English Only” bill would not only limit the test to the English language but it would also limit the tie frame for which a temporary license exam can be taken in any other language. Lawmakers’ Minoo Hosseini has more.

Our leadership series of interviews continues with Senate Democratic Whip, Senator David Adelman. Lawmakers’ David Zelski had a chance to talk with Senator Adelman this afternoon to discuss the State’s budget and and pending legislation as the General Assembly approaches teh crossover day- Day 30.

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.