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Ga. House, Senate Leaders Formally Approve Budget

ATLANTA (AP) - House and Senate leaders have formally approved a roughly $41 billion state operating budget comprised of state and federal money for the next fiscal year. 

The next stop is the desk of Governor Nathan Deal.  The final version looks a lot like what Deal pitched in January.

The state portion includes $19.9 billion, an increase of around $56 million.

The budget largely spares K-12 education from budget cuts, while many state agencies will see slight cuts. The pre-kindergarten school year will be expanded, as will HOPE grants for technical college students.  Some of that money will also go to the Education Center at Robins Air Force Base and to Mercer University, though dollar amounts aren't certain yet.

Deal has called for cutting payment rates to health care providers treating Medicaid patients. Lawmakers rejected that idea.

The budget year begins July 1.


Tri-Cities to Update the Robins Region at Chamber's Eggs & Issues

Tri-Cities to Update the Robins Region at Chamber's Eggs & Issues

WARNER ROBINS, GA- Mayor Chuck Shaheen from the city of Warner Robins, Mayor John Harley from the city of Centerville and Mayor Jimmy Faircloth from the City of Perry, be featured at the first-ever Tri-City Eggs & Issues breakfast of the Robins Regional Chamber; to be held Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. in Hangar One at the Museum of Aviation.

Sponsored by Flint Energies, a progress report will be presented from each of the cities in Houston County.  The event will also give an update of the cities’ current programs and offer a preview of plans for growth.  The breakfast are designed to keep community members abreast of local issues and is one of five in a series that the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce holds throughout the year.  The program features a presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.

Houston County Jobless Rates Below Georgia Average

Houston County Jobless Rates Below Georgia Average

Houston County's jobless rate was 7.2 percent in February compared to Georgia's 8.6 percent and metro Macon's nine percent.

The Georgia Department of Labor says  February unemployment declined to nine percent in metro Macon.

According to a release, that's down from February 2012, when unemployment for metro Macon was 10 percent.

Georgia's February unemployment rate is 8.6 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

From January to February, metro Macon gained 500 jobs and fewer people were laid off.

RELATED | Macon's Unemployment Up in January 2013

Most jobs were added in the professional, business, education, health care, trade, transportation, warehousing, leisure and hospitality industries as well as in in local government.

Metro Macon includes Bibb, Crawford, Jones, Monroe and Twiggs counties.

How to Write for 13WMAZ's Where You Live

How to Write for 13WMAZ's Where You Live

Where You Live is WMAZ's hyperlocal feature. This means that we are helping bring you more community-specific news more often.

We have websites for these communities:

Dooly-Macon County
Warner Robins
obins AFB

These community websites are a place for you and your community members to share information.

To join our team and share with folks just like yourself, all you have to do is email us your email address and name whereyoulive@13wmaz.com

From there, we set up an account for you. This account lets you log in to your community site and post photo galleries, concerts, community events, 100th birthday parties, your concerns, latest creative projects, how-to advice and anything else you want people in your area to know.

Once you have an account, here are some examples of how you can stay involved Where You Live:

(These are just ideas to get you started. Feel free to come up with your own blog ideas!)

  • Post about your hobby: 
    Music reviews 
    Movie reviews 
    Local fashion


  • Are you that person who always takes photos at the high school's football games or at community festivals?  You can log in with your new account and create a gallery to show off your photos on our site.
  • Have a story idea that may need a reporter in our newsroom? Send us a news tip by emailing eyewitnessnews@13wmaz.com
  • Where You Live is your space for public conversation.  Feel free to comment on others' articles. New ideas can crop up just from simple conversations with others.
  • See something bizarre around town? Take a (cell phone) photo and post it to your community site! Maybe someone else will know the background story.
  • Add an event to our community calendar. Click "Add an Event"  on your community site's event section.
  • Like" us on Facebook to include your local news, breaking news and weather warnings and watches in your Facebook feed.
  • Follow us on Twitter for breaking news and weather updates.

Senator Staton's Take on Senate's Crossover Day

Senator Staton's Take on Senate's Crossover Day


The Georgia General Assembly reached a significant milestone in the 2013 Legislative Session—Crossover Day. Day 30, also known as Crossover Day, marks the point at which legislation must pass either the House or the Senate in order to be eligible to pass into law this session.

During Crossover Day, members of both chambers are in session from 10am until well into the evening hours as we consider every piece of legislation that’s been placed on the calendar. On Crossover Day, the Senate took action on 29 bills and passed them to the House for further consideration. In total, the Senate passed 54 bills this week.

This week, the Senate passed numerous bills. I’ve outlined some of the most important ones below, but a full list of passed legislation is available online. For more information regarding a specific piece of legislation, visit the Georgia General Assembly website at http://www.legis.ga.gov/.

High Profile Bills Pass on 'Crossover Day' in Ga Legislature

Georgia lawmakers closed "Crossover Day" with the passage of several high profile bills Thursday.

Senate voted to ban Georgia law enforcement agencies from setting minimum waiting periods before they act on a reported missing persons case. That's Senate Bill 13. It will now go to the house.

Lawmakers in the House approved a plan to lower grade requirements for those seeking HOPE grants to attend the state's technical colleges. They voted 169 to 1 to send it to the Senate. 

The bill would return the qualifying grade point average to 2.0.

Sen. Staton Applauds Passage of Second Amendment Protection Bill

Sen. Staton Applauds Passage of Second Amendment Protection Bill


Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Macon) applauds the passage of Senate Bill 101, which passed by a vote of 41 to 10. This legislation would allow out-of-state weapons carry licenses to be recognized in Georgia and protect the Second Amendment rights of all Georgians regardless of residence or economic status.

“I am pleased by the passage of Senate Bill 101 today,” said Sen. Staton. “This legislation is an important measure to further protect the Second Amendment rights of all Georgians.” The right to bear arms is one of the most fundamental rights of our nation, and must be preserved for future generations.”

SB 101 proposes five measures within the bill, including: