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Under the Gold Dome: Day 36
Full coverage of the 2011 legislative session
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Highlights

The Senate approved an $18.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2012 on Wednesday, zooming forward with a spending plan that borrows from Medicaid to fund health benefits for state employees, retirees and teachers.

The House passed its own budget proposal earlier this month. A conference committee from both chambers will negotiate a compromise that must be adopted before the 2011 legislative session ends April 14.

In the House, representatives continued to debate a bill that would reform Georgia's tax code.

The bill, which cuts personal incomes taxes and places the burden on sales taxes, sailed through a joint legislative committee Tuesday and will face a House floor vote this week.

The state's personal income tax rate would drop from 6 percent to 4.5 percent, but it would also cap many itemized deductions, leaving the overall income tax burden unchanged.

Senate

Senate Bill 271: Allow the State Court of Putnam County to have concurrent jurisdiction with the Magistrate Court of Putnam County regarding violations of Putnam County ordinances.
SB 272: Give the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Authority certain authority over video lottery terminals.
SB 273: Allow the Lumpkin County chief magistrate to appoint the clerk of the county's magistrate court.
SB 274: Restructure the governments of Macon, Payne and Bibb County.
SB 275: Require people applying for Class M licenses to complete a motorcycle safety training course.
SB 276: Provide terms and appointment of members to the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority.

House

House Bill 617: Give an exemption for ad valorem taxes for educational purposes in Polk County.
HB 618: Change the corporate city limits of Holly Springs.
HB 619: Allow Dalton to use the Redevelopment Powers Law to carry out community redevelopment, create tax allocation districts and issue tax allocation bonds.
HB 620: Create the Department of Probation/Parole Community Based Supervision to oversee probationers and parolees.
HB 621: Provide an income tax credit for qualified reforestation expenses.
HB 622: Change terms of office for mayor and council members of Poulan.
HB 623: Levy an excise tax in Buford.
HB 624: Allow citizens the right to address commissioners in Ware County.
HB 625: Allow communications officers to have membership in the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund.
House Resolution 738: Urge Congress to propose the Parental Rights Amendment to allow parents to make child-rearing decisions about education, religion and other areas without government interference.
HR 739: Support federal recognition of the Lower Muskogee Creek Indian Tribe of Georgia.

Both chambers also passed various resolutions to recognize special days and people.

Carolyn Crist

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