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County chamber praises transportation tax vote

A Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce official praised legislators this week for passing a sales tax plan to fund transportation.

The House passed the Georgia 2020 Transportation Act, and chamber spokesman Demming Bass pointed out that the only Gwinnett representative to vote no was Rep. Brian Thomas, D-Lilburn.

The bill now moves to the Senate, which has passed another version of a transportation tax that would divide the state into districts.

"I believe, but it is by no means certain, that both pieces of legislation ... will wind up in a House-Senate conference committee along with the transportation governance reform legislation," Bass said in an e-mail.

"Our next goal, along with our partners in the Get Georgia Moving Coalition, is to move this process along toward conference as quickly as possible so that policy makers will have enough time to work out vast differences in the funding bills and ultimately pass a meaningful bill this session."

Citizenship proposal

A couple of years ago, lawmakers approved a bill saying people had to show photo identification to vote.

Now, the General Assembly is considering a bill to ratchet up requirements when people register to vote.

This week, the Legislature approved the proposal calling for proof of U.S. citizenship when registering.

"The Senate passed common sense legislation that will further strengthen the integrity and confidence in our elections by ensuring that only U.S. citizens are able to vote," Secretary of State Karen Handel said.

Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill on the idea, and senators approved a companion bill the day before. The two bodies must agree on one version before the governor can sign it into law.

Handel said 230 Georgia residents cast "challenged" ballots in the 2008 general election because of questions about their citizenship. The voters failed to return to their county registrar's office with proper documentation before the election was certified.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.