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Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - 6:14am

Lawmakers Much To Do In Final Five Days

State lawmakers are back at the Capitol this morning with Day-36 of the General Assembly session.

Still at the top of the laundry list of items to be handled--the state budget. On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee OK'd the fiscal 2011 budget plan. Still at issue for lawmakers within the $17.7 billion dollar blueprint is the hospital tax. Key budget writers have projected about $160 million in new funds would come from this tax.

Of other legislation making its way through the Capitol yesterday:

- A measure to free-up hundreds of millions of dollars for road projects is through the House Transportation Committee. The resolution would allow the state to authorize the Department of Transportation to sign contracts for multi-year projects with only part of the money on-hand, with the rest of the money projected year-by-year. Current law says the DOT can only start a project if all the money is set aside at the time a contract is signed.

- A telecommunications bill has been amended by the state Senate, and now goes back to the House for consideration. HB 168 would essentially restore the ability of the Public Service Commission to resolve customer complaints relating to AT&T and its land-line market. The bill is supported by AT&T and rural phone companies, but opposed by cable companies. The measure would take-away much of the remaining state regulation of AT&T.

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