Georgia Political News for March 21, 2012

21
Mar

Georgia Political News for March 21, 2012

Alexis is a 2-3 month old female mixed puppy who has not yet been spayed but will come with a referral for a reduced cost spaying. She weighs ten pounds and is available for adoption at 10 AM tomorrow from Walton County Animal Services. The adoption fee is $40.

Walton County is facing a major influx of new dogs, taking in 10 yesterday and only adopting out 1. This has been happening for several days. If you can’t adopt, please donate today to a good rescue group.

Legislative Day 36

Senate Rules Calendar is available here.

Senate Committee Meetings

9:00 AM ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 125 CAP
1:00 PM HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES 450 CAP
1:00 PM VETERANS, MILITARY & HOMELAND SEC. 125 CAP
2:00 PM ETHICS 310 CLOB
2:00 PM GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT 125 CAP
3:00 PM NATURAL RES. & ENVIRON. 450 CAP
3:00 PM PUBLIC SAFETY 125 CAP
4:00 PM JUDICIARY 307 CLOB
4:00 PM AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER AFF. 125 CAP

House Rules Calendar is here.

8:00 AM SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 506 CLOB
8:00 AM INSURANCE 606 CLOB
9:00 AM RULES 341 CAP
1:00 PM GAME, FISH & PARKS 415 CLOB
2:00 PM MOTOR VEHICLES 606 CLOB
2:00 PM REGULATED INDUSTRIES 515 CLOB
2:00 PM JUDICIARY CIVIL 132 CAP
2:00 PM ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & TOURISM 506 CLOB
2:00 PM GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS 406 CLOB
2:00 PM Academic Support Sub. of Education 403 CAP
2:00 PM STATE INSTITUTIONS & PROPERTY 415 CLOB
3:00 PM BANKS AND BANKING 406 CLOB
3:00 PM ENERGY, UTILITIES & TELECOM. 515 CLOB
3:00 PM CHILDREN & YOUTH 403 CAP
3:00 PM HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES 606 CLOB
3:30 PM Approp. General Government Subcommittee 506 CLOB
4:00 PM TRANSPORTATION TBD

Yesterday, the State House passed HB 386, the comprehensive reform of Georgia’s tax structure. In passing the bill, they dismissed pleas by Tea Party activists, some conservatives and an AJC columnist to slow down the public process for final passage. The Speaker of the House took the well to discuss the bill, and answered criticism of the speed of its adoption by noting that the tax structure overhaul has been a two-year process begun in the last session. Here is the Fiscal Note for the bill.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the $19.2 billion budget for FY 2013, sending it to the floor for a vote.

According to GPB, Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill said the 2013 budget adds funds for Pre-k and increases the number of available residency slots for doctors and nurses in the state.

“These are real needs and the funding based on real growth for population growth which has totaled well over 100,000 in populations since the census is done two years ago,” said Hill.

House Bill 397 will substantially revise Georgia’s Open Records and Open Meetings laws. Dennis O’Hayer has an interview with First Amendment lawyer Cynthia Counts, discussing the upgrades. The Facebook page for Counts Law Group has comprehensive updates on Georgia legislation and is worth a look.

The Senate State and Local Goverment Operations Committee passed the Brookhaven incorporation bill by a 4-3 vote, correcting the name change that passed the House. Sponsor Rep. Mike Jacobs said, “We are well on our way to the citizens having their say in July.”

The Senate approved local legislation allowing Macon and Bibb County governments to consolidate. Senate amendments will send the bill back to the House for approval. Once a reconciled bill is passed, it must be signed by Gov. Nathan Deal and voting lines pre-cleared by USDOJ before a July 31 vote that coincides with the General Primary election.

Executive Branch

First Lady Sandra Deal visited the Gainesville-Hall County Meals on Wheels and delivered some meals for the organization, which will deliver about 100,000 meals to homebound residents this year.

Attorney General Sam Olens lauded the progress of reforms to Open Records and Open Meetings acts:

“I appreciate the Senate Judiciary Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Bill Hamrick, recommending ‘Do Pass’ on HB 397, which will enhance government transparency in Georgia,” said Olens. “I am also grateful to Representative Jay Powell and the many stakeholders who have assisted in strengthening the bill. I look forward to working with Senate sponsor Senator Charlie Bethel as the bill advances to the full Senate for consideration.”

Olens noted to the Athens Banner-Herald that the revisions would have allowed his office to pursue several matters that the current legislation prevented.

Campaigns and Elections

State Rep. Doug Collins has been added to the “Young Guns” list by the National Republican Congressional Committee in his campaign for Congress from the Ninth District.

Also in the Ninth District, Martha Zoller has been endorsed by FreedomWorks PAC, a conservative organization that promotes individual liberty and freedom.

State Rep. Billy Horne will not seek reelection. “I’m term limiting myself,” Horne told the Times-Herald. “I’m stopping for personal reasons. I never went into politics with the intention of making a career.” Horne will not endorse a candidate to succeed him.

Dawsonville will name an interim mayor and call a special election to fill the office after the death of Mayor Joe Lane Cox.

Rebecca Keaton will hold a fundraiser for her campaign for Cobb County Superior Court Clerk on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at Browning & Smith, LLC, located at 31 Atlanta Street, Marietta, GA 30060.

Josh Belinfante, candidate for Georgia Senate, will debate the other candidates at the BuckSprings Breakfast on March 24 at 8:15 AM at Fulton County GOP HW, located at 5920 Roswell Road, Suite B115 in Sandy Spring. AJC Columnist Kyle Wingfield will moderate.

Energy

The Georgia Public Service Commission approved Georgia Power’s plan to close three coal-fired electric plants and enter into natural gas contracts to replace the lost capacity. Upgrading the plants to meet new federal EPA regulations would have cost as much as three billion dollars.

Local News

Macon’s city council sold bonds to get an early start on some projects under the SPLOST approved by voters last November.

Villa Rica Mayor J. “Veto” Collins, who has exercised the power every year he’s been in office except one, is satisfied with the City Council’s cooperation on addressing his budget concerns and is unlikely to veto it.

Gratuitous Railroad Photo

Norfolk Southern Heritage Unit 8099

 

 

Stuff that doesn’t fit elsewhere

The Eagle & Phenix dam in Columbus will be blown to smithereens this afternoon between 2 and 4 PM as part of the clearing of the downtown stretch of whitewater to create a kayaking and rafting course.

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