Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 37- March 26, 2009

Tonight on Lawmakers, the Senate approves a measure that would allow a state income tax credit for a single family home purchase; more compensation for Georgia’s math and science teachers; a new income eligibility verification requirement for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids passes the House; Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill shares the challenges of plugging holes in the State’s 2010 budget and we talk with Tom Crawford of about this week under the gold dome.

Legislation aimed at boosting home purchases in a sagging real estate market passed the Senate today. House Bill 261 provides homebuyers with a tax credit of 1.2% of the purchase price or $3600- whichever is less- for the purchase of a qualifying single-family residence. Changes made in the Senate send that bill back to the House.

An education initiative of Governor Sonny Perdue passed the Senate today. House Bill 280 hopes to address Georgia’s shortage of math and science teachers by increasing compensation levels. This measure would move a teacher certified in math or science up in salary equal to six years of credible service.

The House today approved a measure that would require a new income eligibility verification process for those applying for Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids. Senate Bill 165 will authorize the Department of Community Health to obtain income verification from the Department of Revenue.

Voting has been delayed once again on Senate Bill 200, the Transforming Transportation Act. That legislation is the Governor’s reorganization of the State’s transportation agencies. Senate Transportation Chair Jeff Mullis explains the ongoing negotiations between the House and Senate on transportation funding measures. Lawmakers’ Valarie Edwards reports.

The House today approved a measure aimed at bringing attention to the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of the Sudan. Senate Bill 155 keeps Georgia businesses with certain ties in the Sudan from bidding on state contracts.

It’s no secret that Georgia’s revenue picture is bleak and cuts to the 2010 budget are quite drastic, even with over $1 billion in federal stimulus funds. Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill took the well in the Senate this morning to explain why he is being conservative with using the State’s reserve funds and also looking forward a year or two when making these decisions.

Legislation that aims to reduce the incidents of sexual exploitation of minors passed the House today. Senate Bill 69 expands the definition of sexual exploitation. Lawmakers’ Minoo Hosseini has that story.

Legislation that expands the definition of child molestation to include the internet passed the Senate today by committee substitute. Currently, child molestation laws do not include electronic devices such as webcams or streaming video found online. House Bill 123 will change that. Lawmakers’ Tiana Fernandez has more.

Today marks the end of the tenth legislative week under the gold dome, a perfect time to check in with Tom Crawford, National Editor of Nwandi talks with Tom about transportation, the restructuring of the Department of Human Resources, Super Speeder legislation and funding for the State’s trauma care network.

A bill that would allow parents to send their children to any public school, provided there is adequate space at that school, takes another step toward becoming law. House Bill 251 passed the Senate Education and Youth Committee by substitute this morning. Lawmakers’ Brittany Evans 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.