Top bills to start making debuts

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ATLANTA --- The General Assembly met for a week to get sworn in and hear the governor's budget recommendations, then spent last week reviewing them. This week, officials will begin rolling out their major proposals.

- Gov. Sonny Perdue's floor leaders in the House and Senate will introduce bills to enact several proposals on his agenda, including extra pay for science and math teachers, bonuses for top-performing principals, heightened fines for speeders exceeding 85 mph and bills to make lawsuits more difficult.

- Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Senate leaders will give the formal "first reading" to a constitutional amendment to create a regional 1-percent sales tax for transportation.

- The House Ways and Means Committee begins consideration of a constitutional amendment to cap the increase in property assessments used in local taxes. Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, said members of the Senate Finance Committee he used to head will be urged to sit in on the House committee's discussion.

Many of the House and Senate committees will have to formally organize themselves and adopt their rules for the next two years or hear briefings from the agencies they deal with. Most won't have many bills to consider because much legislation has yet to be introduced.

Reach Walter Jones at (404) 589-8424 at walter.jones@morris.com.

STATUS OF KEY BILLS

House Bill 39

Cigarette tax increase of $1 per pack

Status: Awaiting committee assignment

HOUSE BILL 104

Permit local voters to approve the sale of packaged alcohol on Sundays

Status: House Committee on Regulated Industries

HOUSE RESOLUTION 1

Capping local assessments on property

Status: House Ways and Means Committee

SENATE RESOLUTION 44

Constitutional amendment to create a transportation special purpose local option sales tax of 1 percent

Status: Introduced Friday

SENATE BILL 31

Allow Georgia Power Co. to charge customers the financing costs of nuclear plants before they begin operation

Status: Introduced Friday

SENATE BILL 39

Constitutional amendment to raise the sales tax 1 percent statewide for transportation

Status: Introduced Friday


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