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Day 38- March 30, 2009

The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved its version of the 2010 State budget.  The $18.6 billion spending plan is expected to go to the full Senate for a vote on Wednesday, the 39th legislative day.  With the final day of the legislature scheduled for Friday, leaving roughly 48 hours for House and Senate negotiators on the expected Conference Committee to reach a compromise.

On Friday, the House Transportation Committee said no to a proposal backed by the Governor to re-align the State’s transportation agencies.  Senate Bill 200, the Transforming Transportation Act did pass the Committee by substitute, but with substantial changes. Lawmakers’ Valarie Edwards reports.

Legislation dealing with several alcohol sales provisions was debated but eventually tabled in the Senate today.  The issues within House Bill 115 include alcohol sales at the Gwinnett County Braves stadium and opening a new package store within 500 yards of an existing package store.  However, today’s debate centered on an amendment by Senator Seth Harp which would allow local municipalities to vote on whether to allow alcohol sales on Sundays.

An education initiative of Governor Sonny Perdue received final passage today.  House Bill 280 hopes to address Georgia’s shortage of math and science teachers by increasing compensation levels.  This measure would move a teacher certified in math or science up in salary equal to six years of credible service.

The State’s 2,500 National Board Certified Teachers will continue to receive a 10% salary bonus when the State can afford it.  But House Bill 243, would eliminate the incentive for future recipients of the certification. That legislation failed to pass the Senate today, but will be reconsidered.  Lawmakers’ Tiana Fernandez has more.

A bill that would allow parents to send their children to any public school, provided there is adequate space at that school, passed the Senate this afternoon.  House Bill 251 is sponsored by Representative Alisha Morgan. Lawmakers’ Brittany Evans reports.

The House today voted to require foreclosure deeds to be recorded within 90 days.  Representative Mike Jacobs explained the need for Senate Bill 141 in the current economic climate.

The House also approved a new option for property tax assessment appeals.  Supporters of Senate Bill 240 say the current process is “unfriendly to tax payers”.  Under provisions of the legislation, taxpayers would get the option of a “binding arbitration appeal” of their property tax assessment.  Lawmakers’ Emily Banks has that story.

All that and more tonight on Lawmakers at 7 PM.

Lawmakers repeats on GPB Radio at 8 PM tonight and tomorrow morning on GPB television at 5:30 AM. You can also watch a repeat of Lawmakers tomorrow morning on GPB Knowledge at 7 AM. GPB Knowledge is available to those with digital television receivers at .3 of your local GPB transmitter, for example 20.3 in Augusta, or 8.3 in Atlanta.

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