My Questions About the Federal Dollars
On Sunday, April 11, the Atlanta Journal Constitution ran my Op-Ed questioning what will be done with all the Cares Act and Rescue Act money.

Throughout the Session, I pestered my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee with questions about use of Cares Act money, but those questions remained largely unanswered by Sine Die. And now we have the same questions going forward about the American Rescue Plan Act money.

In case you missed the piece on Sunday, I include it here.

NEW SURVEY!
Ever since the General Assembly passed SB 202 changing election laws in Georgia, there have been differing views on appropriate responses, particularly on what responses corporations should make. I want to know what you think:

  • Should Fortune 500 companies should issue statements about SB 202?
  • Should Major League Baseball have moved the All-Star Game from Cobb County to Denver?

Send me your answers HERE.
Coal Ash Controversy Lives On
Plant Hammond on the Coosa River; Photo by Hunter Nichols
As I have regularly reported to you, I have advocated for disposal in lined landfills of all coal ash residual from Georgia Power's coal fired plants. Georgia Power has 11 coal fired power plants (7 of which are closed or in the closure process) with over 86 million tons of coal ash stored in 29 unlined ponds at the plants. Under federal and state law, the ponds must be closed. Georgia Power wants to close most of the ponds "in situ" or in place, after dewatering and capping. Many in the environmental community feel this leaves significant risk for toxins in the coal ash to leach into the water table. We are pushing for a legislative solution: requiring removal of the ash to lined pits, such as are required for disposal of household waste. Our efforts so far have been blocked.

On a different playing field, the Sierra Club is challenging the Public Service Commission's approval of a rate increase for Georgia Power that will pass on the coal ash pond closure costs to consumers. The case is currently before the Georgia Court of Appeals after a Fulton County judge ruled in favor of Georgia Power. For a good summary of this, check out this piece in the Saporta Report.

For Earth Day, Sierra Club Georgia is airing a docu-series "Rising from the Ashes" on Zoom on April 21 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., including a question and answer session with experts and the film makers. Registration is required. Sierra Club Georgia; Rising from the Ashes Trailer; Register Here
Correction: Decatur Homestead Exemption
In my Sine Die newsletter, I reported on passage of SB 292, the Decatur Homestead Exemption. The time stated for the exemption was incorrect; the final version of the bill provides a two year time period instead of a five year period, so that the bill now sunsets in 2023. See Section 1 (c) of the Current Version of the bill, summarized here:

To provide a homestead exemption from City of Decatur independent school district ad valorem taxes for educational purposes for two years in the amount of $200,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of that school district who are between 65 and 69 years of age and whose income does not exceed $53,000.00; to provide a homestead exemption from City of Decatur independent school district ad valorem taxes for educational purposes for two years in the amount of $200,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of that school district who are 70 years of age or older regardless of income; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
Coverdell Legislative Office Building
18 Capitol Square, Suite 604
Atlanta, GA  30334
404-656-0265