Even though Georgia Democrats are a small minority in the state General Assembly, they plan an ambitious agenda for the 40-day session which started this week and ends in April.
The Georgia GOP is just one House-seat away from having a supermajority in the legislature. They already have supermajority in the Senate.
Despite that, Tuesday the Senate Democrats introduced an aggressive agenda for the 2013 session “aimed at rehabilitating the fiscal health of the state.”
In Tuesday's press release, the Democratic Party listed government transparency, elimination of tax loopholes for corporations, expansion of Medicaid, and increases in health care access and education resources as priority issues on their agenda.
"For the past decade, we have watched as our state's economic condition has spiraled downward. State revenue projections have missed the mark month after month. We head into a new state budget cycle with a $400 million deficit in Medicaid spending and an additional $400 million deficit from our missed revenue projections," said Sen. Steve Henson, leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
"Our families have seen depressed wages, decreased wealth and historically high poverty. Median household income fell by nearly $2,000 between 2010 and 2011 - its lowest point since the early 1990s. Our legislative agenda includes a number of reasonable and responsible solutions to help repair our state economy and to advance business through a better public education system."
More specifically, the Senate Democrats will introduce the following legislation first:
- bill to restore the ability to purchase out-of-state health care insurance policies
- bill to require a judicial review of home foreclosures
- bill to establish an independent redistricting commission
- bills to push for changes to the HOPE scholarship program to require schools to accept HOPE payments as full tuition and to lower the qualifying GPA to 2.0 from 3.0;
- bill to prohibit the use of handheld devices while driving
- bill to repeal the “fetal pain” law which shortened the period in which a woman can have an abortion to 22 weeks
- bill to impose a strict ban on lobbyist’s gifts of more than $100 with no loopholes
- bills to add an extra day for voting on the third Saturday before elections and to establish that the advance voting period is the same as absentee voting