Political Notes — Senate panel considers a new way of handling tax breaks

[private]A Senate study committee will make the radical suggestion that maybe there’s a better way for the Legislature to dole out tax breaks.

Sen. John Albers’ committee, which has been reviewing the process by which tax breaks are enacted, wrapped up its final hearing on Tuesday and will issue recommendations sometime in December.

But Albers (R-Roswell) said one of the recommendations will likely be that the General Assembly adopt a two-year process for considering tax break legislation, similar to the way it handles pension bills and some of the bills for incorporating new cities.

Under that scenario, tax break bills would introduced in the first year of a two-year session, but would lay over until the second year of the session. That way, bills could be thoroughly vetted and analyzed in the interim period between the two sessions, just as pension bills are.

“This would be good for Georgia,” Albers said.

If such a process were actually put in place, it could end some of the madness attendant to the final days of legislative sessions, when bills are jammed through at a breakneck pace and legislators have no time to know what they are voting on.

Immigration panel sets hearing on Cagle complaint

The state Immigration Enforcement Review Board agreed Wednesday to hold a full hearing in January on a complaint by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle that Decatur is allegedly a “sanctuary city.”

Board members decided at a brief meeting that Cagle met the legal requirements for filing a complaint and was entitled to a formal hearing, which will be held the week of Jan. 15.

“This is just a procedural step,” board Chairman Shawn Hanley said.

Cagle did not attend Wednesday’s meeting but did send his legal counsel, Irene Munn.

Cagle is challenging a recent change in Decatur’s police employee manual that states:

“In particular, the Decatur Police Department shall not arrest, hold, extend the detention of, transfer custody of, or transport anyone solely on the basis of an immigration detainer or an administrative immigration warrant.”

Cagle contends that this makes Decatur a “sanctuary city” that illegally protects undocumented immigrants, a charge that city officials say is unfounded.

Bryan Downs, the attorney for Decatur, said Cagle’s complaint has an “absolute lack of merit as to why Decatur has been brought into this” and should be tossed by the immigration board.

New Regents’ officers

The Board of Regents has elected James M. Hull as the new board chairman and Don L. Waters as vice chair.

Hull will serve as chairman for a one-year term in 2018. Gov. Nathan Deal first appointed Hull to the Board of Regents in 2013 and reappointed him in January 2016.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Board of Regents , Casey Cagle complaint , Decatur sanctuary city , immigration panel , John Albers , tax breaks