Sunday, January 13, 2008

lunsford weekly update before session

State Representative John Lunsford's Weekly Capitol Update

January 13, 2008

Legislative Session Prepares for Busy Year


The 2008 Legislative Session officially gets underway on January 14th and there are many substantial issues that will be on the agenda this year. This is a departure from typical years when one or two big issues dominate the headlines and the attention of lawmakers. The issues that will be at the forefront of legislators’ consideration are:


In many parts of our state, a drought-like situation became a paramount concern as a poll identified water as the top concern for Georgians. The State Water Council has drafted a plan that creates regional panels and states that $30 million in research on water needs is necessary. In separate legislation, funding is expected for a network of reservoirs.


Taxes, or the concern of higher taxes, are always on the minds of hard-working Georgians. This session, House Speaker Glenn Richardson is proposing to increase the state sales tax in exchange for the elimination of property taxes for schools. Although this proposal has met opposition, it is expected to get to the House floor for a vote. This plan calls for a constitutional amendment, so it would require approval by two-thirds of the House and Senate before it could be included on voter’s ballots in November.


A gubernatorial task force is expected to present a plan for revising how the state allocates funds to local school systems. The recommendations are expected to include rewarding schools with high student performance by relaxing spending requirements.

Health care

There are two separate, but complementary proposals from the Governor and Lt. Governor that have proven so far to be non-controversial.  Gov. Perdue’s plan would allocate money projected to be saved by Medicaid’s switch to managed care and use those funds to subsidize the premiums to private insurers paid by small businesses.

Lt. Cagle’s plan would fund additional local health clinics, create a Web site for comparing private insurance policies, and work to stimulate more contractual services by private clinics and physicians. The Governors plan at this time looks more promising.

Sunday alcohol sales

This issue is in its second year and convenience and grocery stores are attempting to get state lawmakers to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday, much to the chagrin of package stores and most churches. A similar proposal stalled last year.

Sexual predators

House Majority Leader Jerry Kean, R-St. Simons, intends to restore some restrictions on where those convicted of sex crimes can reside. This would correct constitutional flaws the Supreme Court recently cited in invalidating the original restrictions by legislation several years ago.


Along with the above we will be dealing with a vast list of other issues such as criminal justice, Medicaid, illegal immigration, prisons, transportation and the list goes on and on. As each issue comes before the state legislature, I will keep you informed through weekly updates. Your opinions and concerns are important to me and I consider it an honor to serve you at the state capitol and in our district. If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-7573 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 401, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at




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