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Ga. Capitol roundup: Senate panel pushes tax cut despite federal penalty

Georgia Capitol roundup
Georgia Capitol roundup(WRDW)
Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 3:04 PM EDT
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ATLANTA - A Georgia Senate committee is moving forward with a $140 million state income tax cut despite warnings that it could cost the state federal aid.

The Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday for House Bill 593, which would raise the amount of money that someone could earn before starting to pay state income taxes.

The bill moves to the full Senate for more debate. Support comes despite a provision in the recent federal relief bill that says states will lose a dollar in aid for every tax dollar they cut through 2024.

Gov. Brian Kemp and House Speaker David Ralston criticized the provision. Georgia is in line for $4.7 billion in federal aid.

Senate panel approves paid parental leave for state workers

ATLANTA - A Georgia Senate committee is supporting a plan to give three weeks of paid parental leave to state workers, teachers and university employees.

The Senate Insurance and Labor Committee unanimously voted for House Bill 146 on Tuesday, sending it on to the Senate for possible final passage.

Nearly 250,000 workers could be eligible for the leave after the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.

House Speaker David Ralston, a Blue Ridge Republican, has made the measure one of his priorities.

A similar bill nearly passed last year but failed on the last day of the session in the Senate. Currently, state employees in Georgia are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave as required by federal law.

Georgia courts may take 2 or 3 years to reduce trial backlog

ATLANTA - Georgia’s outgoing chief justice says it may take two or three years for courts to dig out from a backlog of jury trials.

Outgoing Chief Justice Harold Melton says the backlog may yet worsen even as jury trials resume. Melton called on lawmakers Tuesday to pass a bill suspending state speedy trial deadlines through June 2023.

Melton says some courthouses have few courtrooms large enough to space out jurors and courts might handle one-third as many cases as normal.

Speedy trial deadlines are suspended now under Gov. Brian Kemp’s public health emergency order.

Melton warns that unless the suspension is extended, judges could be forced to acquit thousands of accused criminals.

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