Notes on the 39th Day to come

The House Rules Committee has completed the first calendar for Wednesday, the penultimate day of the 2009 session of the Legislature.

We understand that S.B. 200, the governor’s transportation reorganization bill, will be among the first bills tackled by the House. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has insisted on a vote in that chamber before joining negotiations over a sales tax for transportation.

A vote on S.B. 200 could be close, given the split support in the House Rules Committee. S.B. 120, the bill to give MARTA more control over its own finances, has been held back to ensure the good behavior of House Democrats.

Movement on S.B. 200 could give the Legislature just over two days to cut a deal on transportation financing.

My AJC colleague James Salzer is reporting that the Senate version of the budget, which will be voted on tomorrow, includes the transfer of a 33-employee, $1.86 million consumer affairs division — out from under state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine and into the governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs.

Both Oxendine and Cagle, who presides over the Senate, are running for governor.

In the middle of a crisis created by subprime home mortgages, the only legislation aimed at tightening state laws governing home lending looks like it may be headed for the trash heap. S.B. 57, sponsored by state Sen. Bill Hamrick (R-Carrollton), failed to make the calendar drawn up by the House Rules Committee.

A place on the supplemental calendar is possible, but Rules Chairman Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) is well known for his hostility to restrictions on lending. Supporters of mortgage reform had made some progress by enlisting the Georgia Family Council, a conservative Christian group, to help push the measure.

Everyone is on edge, in anticipation of some 48-hour sleight-of-hand.

My AJC colleague Jim Tharpe spotted Ben DeCosta, general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, roaming the state Capitol on Tuesday afternoon. The reason: airport officials heard that lawmakers might try to resurrect H.B. 644, which would rip control of the world’s busiest airport out of the hands of the city of Atlanta — and into the hands of a state-controlled board.

Turns out the rumor was just that — looks like the bill is dead for the session.

Finally, the Marietta Daily Journal today raised the possibility that Cobb County Commission Chairman Sam Olens might drop down and go for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, rather than run for governor.

Republican state senators David Shafer of Duluth and Eric Johnson of Savannah are already in the contest.

Olens, in his latest Facebook entry, declares he “is hoping the rain washes the Legislature home really soon.”

Amen, and amen.

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2 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

April 1st, 2009
8:13 am

7, maybe 8 or 9 Georgia Banks have failed in the past year and no legislation to tighten controls? Well at least we’re No 1 in something…Bank failures. Now if we can screw up education a little more (we’re 48 of 50), we can be no 1 in education (from the bottom).

The two proposed schemes to pick project and priorities are a joke, but what do you expect from people who cannot manage a one car funeral. By dedicating any monies to state legislative project selection reeks of earmarks if not bribery. They already get $50 million every two years for enhancement projects, and then there is the safe routes to school program which could be up to 10% of federal funding. And state aid and county contracts?

When are we really going to adress congestion? When are we going to address the failing sections of the interstate (pavement, bridges, etc) and much needed capacity and safety? the plan ciphons of monies needed to address these goals.


April 1st, 2009
4:01 pm

Any word on the birthday tax bill, H.B. 480?