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Hill: Whats in the stimulus
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The 111th U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama passed and signed into law H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, on Feb. 17. This package includes a wide array of provisions that will ultimately benefit state and local governments.  

Although the exact figures are unclear at this time, Georgia is estimated to receive roughly $6.6 billion from this package. As of right now, it is uncertain of exactly what strings will be attached to the allocation of these funds. The current estimated dollar amounts are listed below:

• Criminal justice/law enforcement: Nearly $114 million will be designated for law enforcement; including victim’s compensation, violence against women, and the COPS program.

• Nutrition: $28 million for state food stamp administration and school lunch programs.

• National Science Foundation research: $79 million designated for research.

• EPA: $126 million for the clean water and drinking water resolving loan funds and the LUST program.

• Energy: $177 million for energy efficiency, the weatherization assistance program and the state energy program.

• Homeland Security: $50 million for state and local emergency assistance programs, aviation security funds, and emergency food and shelter for the homeless.

• Employment and training: $125 million for dislocated worker assistance, competitive grants, employment training and unemployment insurance claimants.

• Health services: $63 million for health information technology, health training program and health scholarships and loan repayment programs.

• Welfare services: $141 million for the child care development block grants, Head Start and community service block grants.

• Senior meals: $33 million for congregate nutrition services, home-delivered services and the CDC immunization program.    

• Education: $972 million for Title 1 schools, school improvement grants and programs, special education and work study programs.

• Transportation: $1.01 billion to fund various infrastructure investments, transit capital improvements, and fixed guideway infrastructure; which would likely benefit MARTA as well as local commuter bus systems.      

• Housing: $86 million for community development block grants, the HOME investment partnerships program and the homelessness prevention fund.

• State budget stabilization: $1.5 billion for the state fiscal stabilization fund.

• TANF: $1.8 billion for recession related funds, Medicaid assistance and a temporary DSH increase.
Senate action last week
The following legislation passed the Senate:  

• SR 1: The “Taxpayer Protection Amendment” would require any additional state revenue collected in future years to be appropriated in the amended budget in the following priority: 1. Satisfying the state’s student enrollment increases; 2. Funding of the revenue shortfall reserve until the fund reaches 10 percent of the previous year’s budget.; 3. Any remaining surplus would be put toward outstanding debt and/or providing taxpayer relief. If passed, the resolution would go before voters as a proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2010 ballot before becoming law.

• SB 55: Requires foreclosure sales to be considered in property assessment comparisons.

• SB 72: Establishes criminal violations of the rules and regulations of the Board of Natural Resources.

• SB 80: Would provide requirements for testing of samples or specimens of foods by food sales establishments for the presence of dangerous substances.  Tied to the peanut contamination case.

• SB 85: Would create the Georgia Aviation Authority.

• SB 4: Requires constables/marshals when issuing protective orders to notify the protected person by electronic or telephonic means within 24 hours.

• SB 6: Would change the penalty for truck drivers violating restricted driver’s license requirements to an increased fine instead of possible suspension.

• SB 62: Seeks to include plan health insurance administrators in prompt pay requirements already on the books in Georgia.

• SB 100: Would dissolve the Georgia Public Defenders Standards Council and create an accountable oversight board.

• SB 111: Allows cap lights for lawful night hunting.

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