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Budget Day 2- January 18, 2006

As budget briefings continued at the capitol today, State Corrections Commissioner James Donald thanked Governor Sonny Perdue for recommending $45 million for new prison construction. Commissioner Donald said that would relieve the over crowding in county jails which are currently housing many state prisoners.

Juvenile Justice Commissioner Albert Murray told members of
the Joint Appropriations Committee that his department was ready for
the final inspection by the United States Department of Justice. For
several years Georgia's Juvenile Justice Department has been trying to
comply with federal mandates to provide better care for juveniles in their custody.

As budget briefings wrap up, the State Senate is expected on Monday to take up the controversial Voter ID legislation that passed the house last week. Governor Perdue's bill reducing the sales tax on natural gas and propane is also up for debate on Monday.

As the 32nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v Wade decision approaches, Lawmakers' Jesse Freeman takes a look at bills filed during the 2006 session dealing with the controversial issue.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Harold Linnenkohl
presented his 2006 amended and fiscal 2007 budget request to the Joint
Appropriations Committee today. Lawmakers questioned the Commissioner
about how local governments from their districts could get Local
Assistance Road Project and State Aid money.

Also presenting his budget request was Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Doug Marchand. He says his authority needs money to expand ports in Brunswick and Savannah.

The Chancellor of the University System outlined the Board of Regents $1.9 billion budget
with highlights including support for the Governor's proposal to
increase the number of highly qualified principals working in
needs-improvement schools.

When Commissioner Mike Vollmer presented the budget for the Department of Technical and Adult Education he was in the unique position of requesting no new money. Lawmakers asked him why the system enrollment is declining.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan spoke at today's budget briefings about funding and operating Governor Perdue's GBI Meth Force Initiative.

Last year the General Assembly passed legislation to help fight Georgia's meth-amphetamine problem, and as Governor Perdue mentioned in his State of the State address last week, the fight will continue this session. Representative Jay Neal spoke with Lawmakers' David Zelski about the Governor's new plan for a GBI Meth Force.

Police raided a shop in Roswell, GA yesterday that was selling fake license tags along with other motor vehicle paperwork. State Tax Commissioner Bart Graham commented on the case, which has now been turned over to the fraud unit at the Department of Renvue.

All that and more tonight on Lawmakers.