Legislature Roundup
March 20, 2014 03:30 PM | 519 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gov. Deal addresses lawmakers ahead of campaigns

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal took a few minutes to congratulate lawmakers during the final hours of their annual legislative session and made an indirect re-election pitch for himself.

Georgia lawmakers welcomed the Republican governor to the House floor Thursday. The session must end by midnight, freeing legislators to campaign ahead of May 20 primaries.

Deal praised the General Assembly's work and called special attention to a fiscal year 2015 budget that includes about $500 million in additional support for K-12 education. The governor calls it the single largest education funding increase in seven years.

The governor didn't mention his re-election bid. But his likely Democratic opponent, Sen. Jason Carter of Atlanta, has already hammered Deal for previous budgets that Carter says shortchanged Georgia's schools and colleges.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Georgia Senate approves MARTA overhaul

ATLANTA (AP) — A two-year struggle over changes to metropolitan Atlanta's transit system faces a looming deadline.

The Senate approved its version of a MARTA overhaul Thursday, answering a version that the House adopted last year.

The two chambers must try to settle their differences before midnight, the required end of the 2014 session. Any proposal that doesn't pass by tonight's adjournment must start from scratch next year after a new General Assembly is elected in November.

The House and Senate appear to agree on relaxing rules that force MARTA to spend half of its tax revenues on capital improvements and half on operations. MARTA officials want flexibility.

But lawmakers have differed on what MARTA services should be privatized and whether to grant Atlanta suburbs more power over the agency.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Medical marijuana bill stalls in Georgia Legislature

ATLANTA (AP) — A plan to create a medical marijuana program in Georgia has hit a political roadblock.

The state Senate voted 54-0 on Thursday to allow people suffering from the side effects of cancer, glaucoma or seizures to take oil derived from cannabis in the hope it will ease their symptoms. House lawmakers already voted overwhelmingly in support of the plan.

However, the Senate attached to the bill a requirement that insurance companies cover behavioral therapy for Georgia children 6 and under who have been diagnosed with autism. That's a nonstarter for senior House Republicans who are concerned about costs.

State Sen. Renee Unterman says she expected the differences to be resolved in a conference committee later Thursday.

Any bill that does not pass by midnight Thursday fails for the year.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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