A new five-member authority would be created to unify official anti-poverty efforts under a new bill filed in the state House.
“I looked at federal, state and local programs,” said bill sponsor state Rep. James Beverly, D-Macon, and “there’s not a coordinated effort to use those to attack poverty.”
As Macon and Bibb County consider a major transformation to a unified, smaller government, he said poverty must be part of any honest reform conversation.
Where poverty rates in U.S. Census-defined neighborhoods are above 40 percent, the Macon-Bibb County Community Enhancement Authority would do its work. By 2010 data, that counts areas in Fort Hill and Pleasant Hill, and along Houston and Montpelier avenues that are home to as many as 25,000 people.
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Beverly thinks the authority would start work by mapping assets in those areas, studying the blight, and working with residents on a redevelopment plan.
As is usual with authorities, it would have the power to accept and administer government and private grants or issue bonds on their own account.
The authority chair would be named in a majority vote among Bibb’s legislative delegation. Then that chair would pick two members. The Macon and Bibb governments would each get one of the two remaining appointments.
Five Bibb House members, who represent the vast majority of the county, have already signed the bill. Beverly said he’s hopeful for support from Bibb’s senators.
If House Bill 1265 speeds through Gold Dome formalities without opposition, it has just enough time to become law before the state Legislative session closes in the next three weeks.
Hanging up on rogue telemarketers
Telemarketers in Georgia will have to honestly identify themselves or risk a class action lawsuit under a bipartisan bill from the midstate.
“A lot of these companies show false numbers, false names (on caller ID) to try and get us to answer,” said House Bill 1132 author state Rep. Robert Dickey, R-Musella.
His bill requires a real name and manned number to appear on caller ID, which people will be able to call back and to demand to be taken off the calling list. He said no legitimate business should have a problem complying.
The bill does not apply to calls of a political nature.
Dickey ushered it through the House and with unanimous approval from the state Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. State Sen. George Hooks, D-Americus, will work on pushing it through Rules onto the Senate floor.
-- Compiled by Maggie Lee