Legislative Notebook: Senate gives wildlife a chance

March 13, 2014 

In a 51-1 vote, the state Senate agreed to channel about $2 million more annually from the purchase of “Give Wildlife a Chance” car tags to nongame wildlife conservation, as most tag owners think already happens. House Bill 881 by state Rep. Bubber Epps, R-Dry Branch, now needs final agreement from the House for Senate edits.

Silly season begins

The last days of the annual state legislative session have arrived with characteristic silly behavior.

As the number of working days in the session dwindle, the state House and Senate need to pass each other’s bills to put them on the governor’s desk.

Each chamber keeps a tally of what the other passes to keep it even and do no favors for the other. The Senate knocked more than a dozen bills off its Thursday to-do list in retaliation for perceived House foot-dragging.

As confusingly explained by Senate Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, on the Senate floor, he offered the House “a fig leaf, but was slapped with an olive branch.”

One of the bills delayed is from a Macon-Bibb Republican.

State Rep. Allen Peake’s House Bill 128 creates a revolving low-interest loan fund of up to $20 million for redevelopment of city downtowns.

It could reappear as early as Tuesday on the Senate floor. The annual legislative session is scheduled to end Thursday.

Senate tables animal cruelty bill

The state Senate also decided to delay action on a bill that would increase penalties for animal cruelty, including making a second offense subject to a fine up to $100,000. House Bill 863, by state Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, adds further offenses that would constitute animal cruelty, including failure to provide “adequate” shelter. Some senators quibbled with what “adequate” means so the bill got laid aside for the day.

Writer Maggie Lee compiled this report.

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