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March 15, 2005

Governor Sonny Perdue today released the State portion of the reward for the apprehension of Brian Nichols to Ashley Smith.
The Duluth woman was held hostage in her home for ten hours before
Nichols released her and surrendered. Nichols is the alleged killer in
last week's quadruple murder that began at the Fulton County
Courthouse. Lawmakers Jesse Freeman reports.

There was continued talk of rules, decorum and censure at the
Capitol today. The emphasis comes after two incidents last week. On
Friday, members of the black caucus and several ranking Democrats
staged walk-outs in both chambers after the passage of similar,
controversial bills requiring photo ID at polling places passed the
Senate and the House. On Saturday, Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan
protested the passage of House Bill 244 despite an admonition from the
Speaker and several Senators voiced their opposition to the passage of
Senate Bill 84. Today, Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson
reminded his colleagues about the expected decorum in the Senate and
cautioned against such behavior. A total of ten Democrats came to the
well to speak about their rights to free speech and expression and said
that they had not violated any rules of the Senate. In the House,
Representative David Lucas responded to Speaker Glenn Richardson's
rebuke of the protests in that chamber by recalling what he says are
more egregious violations of House rules that went unpunished. We'll
have the highlights.

Oops! The Congressional redistricting plan passed by the House was
scheduled to for debate in the Senate today, but at the last minute
Reapportionment Chair Chip Rogers asked that the bill be sent back to
committee. Questioned by reporters, Rogers said some last minute
population figures had come in that would require the bill to be
changed. Late this afternoon, Rogers told Lawmakers' Gerald Bryant that
those late figures had been mistaken and that the original figures are
correct. The legislation, House Bill 499, will be passed out of
committee again tomorrow and should be on the Senate floor early next

Members of the Libertarian Action Network and Georgians for Open Government rallied at the Capitol today in favor of House Resolution 87, which would limit and define the use of eminent domain. Those gathered also protested pending legislation that they say would deny or limit access to open government. Lawmakers David Zelski has more.

Representative Edward Lindsey said today that Georgia has the dubious distinction of leading the nation in fraudulent mortgages. Legislation designed to help combat that problem passed the House today. We'll have the highlights of the debate over Senate Bill 100.

Governor Sonny Perdue wants eligible taxpayers to know that help is
available. The Governor held a press conference today to publicize the
Georgia Department of Revenue's ?Free File Alliance?. The
service, offered through the internet, would allow certain taxpayers to
electronically file their State and federal tax returns for free.
Lawmakers Chriss Knight has that story.

The House Health and Human Services committee today gave a do-pass by substitute to Senate Bill 90, the Smoke free Georgia Act.
The House Substitute would exempt bars and restaurants that exclusively
serve individuals who are over the age of 18. Lawmakers Angelena Washington has the details.

A portrait of Georgia native Ellen Wilson, former First Lady and wife of Woodrow Wilson, was unveiled at the State Capitol today. Lawmakers Ashley Poland has more.

The Georgia General Assembly met on Saturday in order to repeal unnecessary laws. Today, David Zelski shows us some prohibitions that they might have missed.