Sunday, March 21, 2010

lunsford weekly update

Under the Gold Dome

State Representative John Lunsford's

Weekly Capitol Update

March 21, 2010

The Georgia General Assembly concluded this week on Thursday, the 27th Legislative Day.  The committees continued to work on Friday and some through the weekend. The days during session are now longer and the members are concentrating on the bills within their committees and those arriving on the House floor for debate and possibly passage.  The speed and intensity of the legislative session is increasing daily as we vote upon legislation which has made its way through the committee process.  With Cross-Over Day vastly approaching, next Thursday will mark the last day during which a bill must be passed by one Chamber in order to be considered by the other.  As discussed each week, the budget remains at the top of our priority list.  Since we have received incoming revenue figures, the members of the House Appropriations Committee are working tirelessly with our budget office and are in the process of finalizing our proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget, which will then go to the Senate for consideration.  The General Assembly made a major stride this week in regard to conserving water in Georgia.

            A key vote this week was the passage of the Water Stewardship Act of 2010.  Conserving water and ensuring that this vital resource is available to Georgians has been a key concern, especially in recent years with the drought many of us throughout the state have experienced.   This bill uses both incentives and requirements to promote the conservation of water in the state.  Senate Bill 370 passed both the House and the Senate and now awaits the signature of Governor Perdue.

            The House also passed HB 396 this week, which deals with how the funding for school transportation can be used.  Previously the funding designated for school buses could only be used for the new purchases of school buses; however, many schools simply needed their buses to be refurbished.  This bill allows the State Board of Education to have the ability to use the funds to refurbish the buses which might need work.  This could save the local school systems millions of dollars each year and in especially during times like these, we are looking to every means possible to save money.

            Collecting taxes owed to the state are one of the issues the Department of Revenue is experiencing.  This increases our budget shortfall, as those collections the state is expecting are not being received.  The members passed HB 982 which will provide for an administrative garnishment process to allow the Department to more efficiently collect delinquent taxes on active businesses.  Numerous other southern states already use this process and this bill will improve the collection process here in Georgia.

            Currently, drivers in Georgia that have previously had eyesight problems and were required to wear glasses or contact lenses and found guilty of failing to do so would have their license temporarily suspended even if they had had corrective surgery. To correct the issue, the House passed HB 1224 so that if this driving violation occurs, the driver can provide proof that they no longer suffer from an eye condition and will avoid the suspension and penalties.

            As we get older, many of us experience arthritis.  It is the most common form of disability and affects one in every five Americans.  By passing HB 1119, this bill would create the Arthritis Prevention and Control Program to increase the public's awareness of arthritis, promote early detection and prevention, and to make information available on diagnosing and treating arthritis.


            Encouraging and attracting businesses in Georgia is a priority to the General Assembly.  Businesses help our economies grow, from the state level down to the local.  We passed HB 1082 to allow local government to exempt all inventory from ad valorem taxes.  Increasing economic development here in Georgia has many benefits and this legislation follows that of surrounding states to allow cities and counties to remove ad valorem taxes on inventory. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions, ideas, or concerns.  The legislative update will continue throughout the 2010 session. Should you have any ideas, questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact me (404) 656-0213 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 508 clob, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at






No comments: