Political Notes – ‘Little budget’ approved by lawmakers

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There were unanimous votes in both the House and Senate Tuesday as legislators signed off on the $19.3 billion supplemental state budget for the current fiscal year.

The spending plan known informally as the “little budget” incorporates several non-controversial changes in the state budget, including $167 million for local school systems to pay for growth in student enrollment and money to ease a funding shortfall in Medicaid.

The supplemental budget now goes to Gov. Nathan Deal for his expected signature.

Veterans’ licenses

House members spent more than an hour Tuesday arguing and debating a bill, HB 188, that would help military veterans trained in such areas as plumbing, electrical work and heating/air conditioning systems obtain state licenses for those skilled trades.

After all that fussing, the vote was 167-2 to pass the bill and send it over to the state Senate.

Historic property battle ends?

Legislation that would allow developers to carve up property and build subdivisions in designated historic preservation areas (HB 474) appears to have stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.

Language from HB 474 could still be added to another bill for passage between now and the end of the legislative session.

The bill was introduced to help Troutman Sanders attorney Robert “Bobby” Buckler, who’s been embroiled in a long-running legal battle with the Druid Hills Civic Association over Buckler’s proposal to subdivide three residential lots in that historic neighborhood and build seven houses on the tract.

Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) introduced HB 474 last week, just four legislative days prior to the Day 30 deadline for a bill to pass the chamber in which it originates.

Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), whose district contains the Druid Hills area, opposed HB 474, which she called “way bad.” Oliver opposed a similar bill introduced on Buckler’s behalf last year by Rep. Doug McKillip, who was then a House member from Athens (McKillip was defeated when he ran for reelection).

Graves accuses Obama of ‘stunt’

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ranger), who has supported the spending cuts that are part of sequestration, now says that President Barack Obama is engaging in a “political stunt” by canceling White House tours to comply with sequestration requirements.

“Rather than do his job and agree to take responsible measures to get our government’s finances in order, President Obama continues playing on the emotions and fears of the American people,” Graves said in a statement released by his office.

“Canceling all self-guided White House tours is the latest shameless political stunt by the president, who is twisting basic government efficiency into an extreme consequence,” Graves said.

© 2013 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: developers' subdivisions , historic areas , Mary Margaret Oliver , occupational licenses , supplemental budget , Tom Graves , veterans , Wendell Willard