This year's session of the Georgia General Assembly is more than half complete. Friday, Feb. 22, marked day 22 of the 2008 session.
New concerns were raised over the week over Senate Bill 82, the "Dunwoody" bill. You may be aware that the bill was defeated in the House Governmental Affairs committee on Jan. 28. I attended a meeting this week of the DeKalb County House delegation, where it was reported that Rep. Mark Hatfield, a Republican from South Georgia, has written a letter to Austin Scott, the chairman of the House Governmental Affairs committee, indicating that he "misvoted" in the Jan. 28 meeting. I am concerned that his letter is a direct result of pressure and coercion on the part of other members of the Legislature who wish to overturn the Jan. 28 vote. It is expected that a hearing on this issue may occur as soon as Tuesday of next week.
Last week, I gave a briefing at the Lou Walker Senior Center on predatory lending legislation being worked on by the Working Families Caucus. We have sponsored legislation, Senate Bill 496, which would address fraudulent lending practices by mortgage companies. We have also teamed up with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society which is offering the services of its Home Defense Fund. If you or someone you know is facing a foreclosure, please contact Mr. William J. Brennan Jr., who is the program's director, at 404-377-0705, extension 236, for assistance.
The House and Senate wrapped up this week's important business on Friday by voting on the 2008 mid-year budget. A conference committee has been appointed to work out the differences between the version passed in the House and the one passed in the Senate. One of the main areas of conflict between the House and Senate budget proposals is school funding. The Senate budget cut both Gov. Sonny Perdue's suggested $65 million for buses and technology, and the House's recommended restoration of $30 million to school districts in 16 metro Atlanta counties.
In the Senate, we also passed SB 361, the Georgia Consumer Protection Act. The bill allows consumers to stop credit reporting agencies from releasing their credit history without their approval.
This week the folks at Leadership DeKalb came to the Capitol to present our delegation with their local legislation agenda. I also met with Zepora Roberts from the DeKalb County School Board who came to the Capitol with the Georgia School Boards Association to express their opposition to House Bill 881.
We will be back in session today for day 23 of the 2008 session. If you have any questions about the 2008 General Assembly, please feel free to contact me at my Capitol office at 404-656-2598.
State Sen. Ron Ramsey, D-Decatur, represents parts of DeKalb and Rockdale counties in Georgia Senate District 43. He serves on the Education and Youth, Insurance and Labor, Special Judiciary, State and Local Government Operations and Urban Affairs committees.