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Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 4:51am

Trauma Care Among Dead Bills

Crossover Day at the Capitol included dozens of bills considered by lawmakers well into the evening. And for many pieces of legislation, their run ended on Wednesday.

The effort to find a funding mechanism for trauma care funding is a dead issue again this year. After voters rejected a new $10 car tag fee on the ballots in November, lawmakers went back to the drawing board. They crafted a resolution that would dedicate an existing $10 car tag fee to improve the state's ailing trauma system. However, they say voters wouldn’t be able to sign off on the idea until 2012. So, they’ll wait until next session to push it through the chambers.

The Senate on Wednesday tabled a bill that would expand Georgia's school voucher program to include military families and foster care children. Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers says the program has been successful among special-needs students and wants to use taxpayer money to give students the option of attending the school of their choice, including private schools. The Republican from Woodstock lamented the lack of support for the issue among his colleagues, which he says saves money and gives children better educational results. Opponents say vouchers take funding away from cash-starved public school districts. It’s the second time the bill has failed in the General Assembly in as many years.

The House Wednesday rejected a bill aimed at halting businesses from overpaying sales tax then collecting hefty interest payments from the state. Lawmakers voted the bill down 82-to-92 on Wednesday, voted to reconsider it and then quickly rejected it again 83-to-89. State Representative David Knight said some companies know the state pays 12 percent interest a year and intentionally overpay. They seek a refund after several years have passed. The Republican from Griffin said the state has paid out $16 million interest on such claims over the past three years. His bill would have required that interest on overpayments couldn't go into effect until businesses apply for the refund. But Alpharetta Republican Representative Chuck Martin argued businesses could be penalized for honest mistakes.


Associated Press