Friday, March 20, 2009

Day 34- March 20, 2009

Tonight on Lawmakers, the House votes to compensate John Jerome White, who was wrongfully convicted and served over ten years in prison; the Senate votes to give state income tax credits for scholarship fund donations; our leadership series of interviews continues with Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams; our legislative scorecard as of day 34; and we’ll talk with Tom Crawford of for his thoughts on this week under the gold dome.

A man who served 10 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of rape, burglary and aggravated assault is one step closer to receiving compensation from the State. But passage of House Resolution 161 was preceded by serious questions about whether John Jerome White deserves an annuity package valued at over $700,000.

The House today also passed Senate Bill 193, legislation which would allow inmates to transfer to transitional centers or work release programs during the offender’s final year of incarceration.

Legislation giving individuals and corporations the option to donate to student scholarship organizations for tax credit passed the Senate today, but not without heavy opposition from Democrats. Senator Steve Thompson says House Bill 100 is just another step closer towards a statewide school voucher system.

The Senate today passed House Bill 71; legislation that supporters say removes a loophole used a defense by producers of false identification or documents. Under this bill, having the word “novelty” printed on false ID will no longer be a defense for charges of manufacturing, selling or distributing false identification documents. Changes in Senate Committee send that bill back to the House.

The Senate today failed to pass House Bill 550. This measure, which relates to the conversion of a mutual insurer to a stock insurer, seeks to provide an additional method of payment by a mutual insurer of the equity, namely, a paid-up life insurance policy with a cash value equal to 100% of the policyholder’s equity.

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers spoke out yesterday about Georgia’s rising unemployment, which is now at a record 9.3%. He spoke about the JOBS Act, House Bill 481, which he says will help create jobs. Today, Senator Nan Orrock spoke out about the cost associated with that job creation. She says it will cost the State an average of $265,000 per job created- that figure from the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

Our leadership interview series continues with Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams. David Zelski had a chance to interview Senator Williams about his transition from Majority Leader to Senate President Pro Tem in challenging economic times. They also spoke about transportation, the budget and federal stimulus dollars.

Only 6 legislative days remain in the 2009 session. Tonight we bring you the Lawmakers’ legislative scorecard. Where in the process are the big issues? Tune in for our synopsis.

Today marks the end of the ninth legislative week under the gold dome, a perfect time to check in with Tom Crawford, National Editor of David talks with Tom about the budget, funding for Medicaid and the controversy in the House over a resolution that would have made President Barack Obama an honorary member of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus.

All that and more tonight on Lawmakers at 7 PM.

Lawmakers repeats 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. You can also watch a repeat of Lawmakers Monday morning on GPB television at 5:30 AM.