New Falcons stadium one of many issues for legislature - Dallas News |

New Falcons stadium one of many issues for legislature

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From a new Atlanta Falcons stadium to allowing school administrators to carry guns, state lawmakers have a lot on their plate this session.

As soon as the legislature was gaveled into session on Monday, state lawmakers got down to work. In the Senate, they approved new ethics rules, capping the amount of lobbyist gifts at $100.

 "Well, I think it is historic that we put a gift cap in place on day one. We did it by rule. And we don't have to wait for legislation. We don't have to wait for the governor's signature," said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
Advocates pushing for comprehensive ethics reform law say they want more to be done.

"It's not the complete package. We are applauding the Senate for taking a historic step that never has been done before but we got a lot of holes to plug," said William Perry of Common Cause Georgia.
Lawmakers also have to wrestle with a new stadium for the Falcons. The team would foot most of the $1-billion bill, but the state would have to come up with $300 million, including increasing the world congress center's debt limit.

"We're in a tough economic climate, and we're still cutting the budget here. We're going to cut the budget this session to fund our Medicaid responsibility. So some of this is whether this is something we ought to do, and some of it is timing," said House Speaker David Ralston.

Other issues include allowing college students to carry weapons on campus, a so-called Bed Tax to shore up the state's Medicaid funds, a plan to put carbon monoxide detectors in every school and a proposal to allow armed administrators in schools.

"They have to go through specific training as a peace officer. They have to qualify for their weapon. they have to go through all the background checks, and have a licence to carry a weapon," said Paul Battles, (R), Cartersville.

As for the Falcons stadium, the $300 million would come from visitors through the hotel-motel tax. Supporters say that will shore up the franchise, and provide a much needed economic boost to the area. Opponents say the new stadium is a waste of money, and if the Falcons want a new stadium, they should pay for it themselves.

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