A daily recap of the Georgia Public Broadcasting show "Lawmakers". The show airs weekdays at 7:00pm with a replay at 5:30am the following weekday.
* Lawmakers returns and so do I!
* Top story is the Homeowners Relief Grant. Essentially the current version would tie the grant to revenue estimates. Sen. Steve Thompson is explaining how a Governor can game the system. Now Sen. Tommie Williams (he's from Wilson's neck of the woods) says this will fund it for 09 and will only fund it if we're able to in the future. I think what Sen. Thompson was getting at is "able to" is a very fluid term in the hands of the gubmint. But despite the plea, the bill has now passed both houses and goes to the Governor where things get really interesting...
* Governor Perdue told a meeting of county commissioners he still opposes the grant. He's lucky whole tomatoes weren't served at the lunch.
* Hey! Someone at the meeting is mugging for the camera! Stop that!
* Stimulus time. It's a wonder every one hasn't turned blue from holding their breath.
* Ahhhh here's Virgil Floods new tax ideer. I promised someone earlier that I would give this more play tonight so here goes. Rep. Flood wants to take sales tax collection from the Georgia Dept. of Revenue and give it to the local boys and girls. But wait! There's more! He also wants to allow the locals to contract with private companies to perform collections. Now, are you sitting down, Myrtle? Virgil's a Democrat. Yes, I typed that right. He's a Democrat. Privatize. Localize. Democrat. Let that roll around your brain awhile.
* CVS just got a free 15 second plug when the b-roll tape froze. Maybe that's the solution to the budget crunch - product placement. Let's just go full bore NASCAR.
* Least shocking news of the day - the Association of County Commissioners supports Flood's bill.
* One more thought on this thing. It's a preview of what's to come in 2010. Two words, my friends - local control. The Democrats are going to hammer that at every rubber chicken chow, pig jig and rattlesnake round up from Rossville to St. Marys.
* New live shot! Valerie is actually in an empty Senate chamber. Well, empty except for one guy who may or may not be pilfering office supplies.
* She's talking the tort reform bill dealing with big pharma. This sounds awfully, ahem, tortured. I think I know an attorney or two who might chime in on this. We'll wait and see what they have to say.
* The Legislative Chair of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association is named Buck Rogers. I kid you not.
* Buck is of course using the poison peanut situation to explain why we can't trust the feds to tell us everything is safe. I say we all consult Dr. Theopolis!
* Three unanimous bills. Yawn. Oh wait. Sen. John Douglas (R-Crazyland) sponsored one of these. His would prevent pedophiles from running for school board. His argument has twisted logic for something that seems to make sense, but this is John Douglas we're talking about. Then again, it passed unanimously, so I'll cut him some slack. This time.
* Democrats are pushing bills to help veterans and they are calling them "Five for Fighting". Wasn't that an 80s band? Bill 1 - would give the spouse of a wounded vet 90 days of paid leave (that's a lot of paid leave) to deal with hospitalization issues. Bill 2 - deals with providing marriage counseling for those with PTSD. (Brief interjection - there's Dan Weber looking earnest again. I suspect it's the same b-roll). Bill 3 - tax relief for disabled vets and spouses of deceased vets. Guess we'll have to wait for the last two for they were not mentioned.
* The house voted to continue a sales tax break on jet fuel for Delt...er...I mean...the airlines. Funny how there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth on the property tax grant and this one practically flew through.
* Emily Banks and the new live shot is back! But it's still in the Senate. Maybe they just got kicked out of the Rotunda. Anyway, it's a much nicer background.
* Finger printing day care workers. Seems reasonable. Too bad there's no money for it.
* The live shot's definitely in the Senate. There's that dude rummaging around the desks again.
* Poison peanut time! And what is the first step the legislature takes any time horror descends on the citizenry? Form a sub-committee with an absurdly long name. Rep. Kevin Levitas (D-griftdrift's district) is making the announcement and there are candy bars on the podium. Seriously. (For the record - from left to right - Butterfinger, Reeses Cup and Mr. Goodbar)
* They want to ban teenagers from using cell phones while driving. And if it involves driving, we must have a shot of cars speeding along the downtown connector.
* Ummmm. Criticism of this bill is coming from HAM radio operators. Okay, they just want to make sure they are excluded from the bill. Did somebody dose the water supply down there today?
* Leadership Series time (I miss the radio series already). Tonight is Senate Democratic Leader Robert Brown
* And of course they are talking about the budget. Ask him what he thinks about HAM radio operators impact on revenue, Dave.
* About the only thing concrete Sen. Davis said is a regional transportation plan wouldn't help Twiggs and Wilkinson counties. In case you couldn't guess - that's his district.
* Man, Sen. Davis just got very weird on the voucher issue. He went from the classic "baby with the bathwater" cliche to pointing out people could use it to support a madrassa. I'm telling you. Something was in the water today.
* Alan Freedman gets the human interest story today. He interviewed the head of CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates. They protect abused children, don't ya know.
* It was student lobby day also! Oh my god! They are turning children into lobbyists! Rep. Charlice Byrd is being distracted by GSU teachers talking about sex while this abomination is taking place only a few feet away from her chamber? Get thy crusades prioritized!
* What a weird day, but Lawmakers made it through without a hitch. Maybe the weirdness finally migrated. Either way, that's a wrap.