Sunday, March 2, 2008

weekly update lunsford

State Representative John Lunsford's Weekly Capitol Update

March 1, 2008

Next week taxes, certificate of need and lobbyists

We have completed twenty-six days of the 2008 Georgia General Assembly session and we are quickly approaching “Day 30” which is “Crossover Day.” Crossover day is the last day that the House or Senate will consider their own legislation and pass it over to the other body for consideration. If a bill that originates in the House of Representatives hasn’t been passed by the House by this Day 30, then the bill effectively is considered “dead.” Day 30 activities are widely active as Members of the House and Senate try to push bills through and we have a very long calendar of bills to consider. I anticipate Day 30 to be on March 7th or 11th this year.

This past week, we passed House Bill 455, a bill that dramatically helps us to control narcotic prescription drugs that are dispensed at drug stores. The bill establishes a program for monitoring prescribed and dispensed schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances. Dispensers of these drugs will be required to submit specific information regarding when the prescription was filled, the quantity dispensed, as well as, the patient’s data and the prescribing doctor’s information. This bill is designed to help fight the growing battle of “prescription shopping” that some drug addicts use to get prescribed drugs. The bill passed 149-8.

We passed a major transportation bill creating a Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank to help us fund future transportation projects. The new “bank” would serve in assisting in the financing of qualified road projects by providing loans and other financial assistance to governments for constructing and improving highway and transportation facilities. The bank will receive its funds from the state’s toll ways, federal transit funds, or state funds. The bill passed easily 162-1.

After a state employee who rang up hundreds of thousands of dollars in unlawful purchases, we saw the need for and passed H.B. 1113, legislation that would restrict the use of state purchasing cards. The legislation would require state agencies only to issue cards to those whose job duties would require them to have one and would limit purchases to $500 unless the item is part of a state approved contract. The legislation also established some very strict penalties for those convicted of stealing from the state. The bill passed unanimously.

We overwhelmingly passed H.B. 188, a bill that would recuse those who serve as the primary unpaid caregiver for a person over the age of 6 who has a physical or congenative limitation from jury duty. The bill passed 158-1.

We overwhelmingly approved the creation of children’s transition care centers, centers that are temporary, home-like environments for medically fragile children, technology dependent children, and children with special health care needs. These centers would be for children who are considered medically stable by a physician but dependent on life-sustaining medications, treatments and equipment and who require assistance with activities of daily living to facilitate the transition from a hospital to a home or other appropriate setting. The bill passed 148-1.

Of great importance was, H.B. 1159 that would provide a $2,000 tax credit for adopting a foster child until the child reaches maturity, this is the greatest tax credit of any state in the country in an effort to speed up the adoption process for foster care children, not only was it logical it saved money too. That bill passed 127-1.

We passed House bill 978, a bill that declares that any vehicle in an accident that is driven by an illegal immigrant will be subject to forfeiture to the state if the defendant is convicted of the offense charged. This bill passed 104-51.

We agreed to allow wine drinkers in this state to special order up to 12 cases of wine per year directly from an out-of-state vendor of wine. Currently, wine vendors could only ship wines directly to a vendor in the state of Georgia. This bill passed 126-8. 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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