Legislative Notebook: Epps wants to cut fee for some specialty tags

January 14, 2014 

State Rep. Bubber Epps, R-Dry Branch, wants to channel more money out of some specialty car tags away from the state’s general fund.

Like most specialty tags, when people pay an extra $35 to renew the “Give Wildlife a Chance,” trout or bobwhite quail tags, $10 goes to the cause, and the rest goes into the state’s general bank account. Epps’ House Bill 730 would cut the fee to $25 and send $5 to the state and $20 to the wildlife funds, much of it to be used for habitat acquisition.

The state sells dozens of types of special tags, benefitting causes from universities to cat and dog sterilization, which are not covered in Epps’ bill. The House has been reluctant to shift revenue for all those tags. State Rep. Willie Talton, R-Warner Robins, filed a bill last year similar to Epps’, but it covered many more tag types. That House Bill 180 has yet to get a committee hearing.

Special tag sales were worth about $5.8 million to sponsoring organizations in 2011, according to the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts.

Former legislator joins state Senate race

The midterm election season is getting fierce early in the midstate. Thomaston doctor Spencer Price will again challenge state Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, in the GOP primary in the west Bibb to Upson district. Price has recruited as his campaign chairman former state Rep. Sonny Watson, who served as a Warner Robins Democrat from 1976 to 1999. Macon attorney John F. Kennedy also is a primary candidate.

-- Maggie Lee

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