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Lawmakers face busy day at Capitol
Bills must pass House or Senate today for chance to become law
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For the Georgia General Assembly, today is one of the most hectic days of the 40-day session.

This is Crossover Day. Under the rules of both the House and Senate, bills must be passed by the originating body by the 30th day in order to be considered by the other.

Abit Massey, president-emeritus of the Georgia Poultry Federation, has been observing state politics for half a century.

He says today is second only to the final day of the session in terms of frantic pace.

“There are a lot of agendas and a lot of moving targets,” said Massey.

Key Republican-backed tax proposals top the list of measures that could reach the make-or-break point today.

“I have my seat belt strapped on and I have tightened down the hatches,” said state Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville. “It’s a day of uncertainty. Everyone is trying to get a bill through and we have a lot of bills on the calendar. It is a mild preview of what will come on day 40.”

House lawmakers could consider proposals to give companies a $500 credit toward the unemployment insurance tax and a $2,400 income tax credit for each new employee hired.

The chamber also could debate a new scheme that would eliminate the annual car tag tax and replace it with a one-time fee of up to $1,500. The fee would only apply to newly purchased vehicles and could help fund trauma care.

A late push to revive the 4 percent state sales tax on groceries seems less likely after key GOP leaders voiced concern over it. The plan would have reimbursed residents later through a tax credit.

A showdown is shaping up in some of the nation’s most conservative states, including Georgia, over embryonic stem cell research, as opponents draw language and tactics from the battle over abortion to counter President Barack Obama’s plan to ease research restrictions.

A measure that would ban some forms of stem cell research on fertilized embryos is moving quickly through the state Senate. The bill would outlaw the destruction of fertilized embryos, which the legislation defines as a person. It is expected to face a vote in the full state Senate today.

One major bill remaining to be passed is the 2010 budget, which is the only act that must be passed by the General Assembly before adjournment. Also remaining is House action on Gov. Sonny Perdue’s proposal to revamp the state’s administration of transportation.

Perdue’s plan, which has been passed by the Senate, strips the present transportation board of its powers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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