Local Update - January 8, 2007

Georgia 2007 Legislative Session begins today

Georgia lawmakers will convene at the capitol today for the 2007 Legislative Session.

Unlike the U.S. Congress, Georgia's House and Senate will be in the control of the Republicans.

Aside from Rep. Quincy Murphy, Augusta will have a lot of new faces in the House: Republican Barbara Sims and Democrats Henry "Wayne" Howard, Hardie Davis, and Gloria Frazier.

And in the Senate, J.B Powell and Ed Tarver are returning today.

We met with Sen. Tarver to get his thoughts about the new members of the local delegation.

"Certainly it's going to take some time for them to get accustomed and acclimated, but I think that we have some really smart legislators from the House side," he said.

Issues expected to come up this session include voter ID, sex offender laws, and hospital funding.

Be sure to tune in to News 12; we're live in Atlanta for opening day.

South Carolina 2007 Legislative Session begins tomorrow

South Carolina lawmakers will convene in Columbia on Tuesday. They say education and health care will be the focus.

Governor Mark Sanford says he wants to re-structure state government and raise the tax on cigarettes.

Sheriff's deputy hospitalized after hitting deer

A deer and car collision sends one Columbia County sheriff's deputy to the hospital.

Deputy Thad Brown suffered major injuries Saturday night when a deer ran out in front of his patrol car. It happened on White Oak Road in Appling around 11p.m.

Brown was responding to a 911 call when it happened.

He is still at MCG.

Sex offender still missing

From the CrimeTeam: the Richmond County Sheriff's Office is still trying to track down a missing registered sex offender.

46-year-old Bill Laws, convicted of child molestation, has been missing for two weeks.

His last known address was 1628 Gordon Highway, where he worked at Carpet "Wholesellers".

Since then, he's been spotted throughout Augusta, most recently in the Harrisburg area.

News 12 has learned he's also been to his brother's home off of Peach Orchard Road.

"Only thing I know is he came by and said the law was looking for him and that was it," Bobby Laws said. "Said something about he had the money to go to his, uh, sex offender...some of that stuff. Said he was going to stay in Waynesboro with some girl he knew."

Bobby Laws says he didn't know his brother was wanted.

Bill Laws is 5' 9" and 185 pounds. If you see him, call the sheriff's department.

Laws is not the only registered sex offender gone missing in Richmond County.

Investigators are also looking for these five men:

Wanted Sex Offenders
Robert Black - May '06
Bruce Bird - November '06
Gerald Ishman - November '06
Larry Moore Jr. - October '06
James Terry - May '06

I-20 pacing starts today

If you drive I-20, don't be in too much of a hurry. Pacing starts today for westbound traffic starting at Exit 1 in South Carolina.

You can expect this all week from 9 to 4.

Georgia exits 200 and 199--that's River Watch and Washington Road--will close during pacing and reopen after pacing vehicles pass.

Work crews will be taking down the existing Walton Way Extension overpass bridge because of the ongoing widening project.

Motorists are advised to use extra caution.