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Day 27 - March 1, 2007

The Senate today passed a bill that would require passengers in pickup trucks to wear seatbelts when driving on public roads. Georgia is one of the only states in the nation that does not currently require seatbelts to be used in pickup trucks. Senate Bill 86 now moves to the House.

Two bills are currently before the House Ways and Means Committee that would allow Georgians to tax themselves to reduce traffic. House Bills 442 and 434 allow voters to pay a one-cent sales tax to fund congestion relief and other traffic projects. Lawmakers' Sandra Parrish has more.

Two bills dealing with transportation alternatives passed the Senate today. Senate Resolution 263 urges Congress to provide funding for a commuter rail system from Atlanta to Athens, while Senate Bill 157 provides grants and tax incentives for ethanol producers. Sen Ross Tolleson says this could be the beginning of a statewide E-85 web. E-85 is fuel that is 85% ethanol and 15% petroleum.

Legislation that gives the right-of-way for a new petroleum pipeline passed the Senate today. Senate Bill 173 sponsor Sen. Ross Tolleson says this pipeline is necessary for the future infrastructure for the growing Metro Atlanta area. SB 173 now moves to the House.

The House Ways and Means Committee passed legislation today that aims to help public housing authorities across Georgia collect bad debt owed by their tenants. House Bill 237 proposes to allow the public housing authorities to collect outstanding debt directly from delinquent rentors' tax returns.

Senate Resolution 279 is aiming to create 4-year terms for Georgia State Senators as opposed to 2-year terms. The Senate passed SR 279 today, and if the measure gets through, the new senate terms would begin after the 2010 elections.

Tom Crawford of stopped by today to talk with David Zelski about the legislative session.

All that and more, tonight on Lawmakers.