Legislative Notebook

State sales tax for
transportation dead

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and other Republican legislative leaders say they have abandoned plans to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would have paved the way for a sales tax directed at roads and rail.

House Majority Leader Jerry Keen said that, while road and rail projects in Georgia remain in desperate need of additional and permanent funding, a statewide sales tax isn’t the answer. Nor did Keen think the measure would pass his chamber -- as it did last year when pushed by Glenn Richardson, now the former House speaker.

Both Keen and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers said they doubted, given the current economy, that voters would approve any statewide referendum to permit a sales tax for transportation, no matter how preliminary.

As an alternative, Republican lawmakers think they may be able to find a way -- through statute -- to permit counties to band together to create tax districts and hold separate tax referendums.

A statute would only need a majority vote, as opposed to the two-thirds required by a constitutional amendment.

But Democrats and some Republicans question whether creation of new tax districts by statute would be constitutional. “I don’t see how it would be,” said Senate Democratic Leader Robert Brown of Macon.

-- Jim Galloway

Moody to head

ethics panel

Dan Moody, a Republican member of the Senate since 2002 and the current chairman of the Majority Caucus, has been tapped by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and the Senate Committee on Assignments to be chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee.

Moody (R-Johns Creek) will replace Eric Johnson, who resigned from the Senate to run for governor.

The Ethics Committee has jurisdiction over legislation addressing moral and ethical issues, especially those related to governmental entities and the relationship of lobbyists and the government.

-- Ernie Suggs

Lottery link

to K-12 suggested

Should Georgia lottery tickets be taxed to help fund education from kindergarten through 12th grade?

A South Georgia legislator believes voters should be asked that question. Rep. Chuck Sims (R-Ambrose) has introduced a bill calling for a constitutional amendment to require lottery tickets to be subject to the state sales tax.

-- Nancy Badertscher

Mandatory first aid classes

suggested for Georgia students

State Sen. Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale) has introduced a bill that would require Georgia students to be certified in basic first aid as a requirement for graduation.

The bill suggests that schools could provide certification courses in eighth grade or higher and use volunteer instructors who receive state school board approval and have served with organizations such as the American Red Cross.

The bill, SB 298, states that the requirement would start in 2014 if approved.

-- Kristina Torres