By David Pendered
The Atlanta City Council is slated on Monday to urge state lawmakers to pass a law that would increase the amount of money a state department receives from the sale of special license plates to fund the sterilization of dogs and cats. The bill also would fix an apparent typo on the state’s “Go Braves” tag.
The council is scheduled to pass a resolution that supports House Bill 253. The House bill was introduced with bipartisan support. The lead sponsor is ranking House member Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) and co-signers include House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta).
HB 253 would raise the amount awarded to the sterilization program to $19 of the $25 fee for the sale of a Dog and Cat License Plate. It would raise the award to the sterilization program to $20 of the $25 charged to renew such plates, according to the city’s pending legislation.
Currently, $10 of $60 on the sale of a Dog and Cat License Plate and $10 of $35 on a renewal goes towards the grant program, according to the city’s resolution.
Councilmember Yolanda Adrean sponsored the pending city resolution.
As an aside, it’s worth noting that HB 253 would eliminate an odd punctuation mark on the “Go Braves” legend. The legend appears where the county sticker normally appears.
For mysterious reasons inherent in the legislative process, the law that establishes the legend evidently calls for it to appear as, “Go Braves.” The quotation marks don’t appear in the legend. But the period mark does appear on the legend. HB 253 would eliminate the period mark. The quotation marks would not appear.
The money from the sale of “Go Braves” tags goes to the Braves Foundation. It funds programs that help children, education and neighborhoods, according to a free description on guidestar.org.
Adrean introduced a resolution calling on the city council to support HB 253. The council’s Finance Committee approved the resolution Feb. 15.
The committee approved the resolution unanimously and without question or comment. By virtue of its unanimous approval, the resolution appears in the basket of legislation the council is slated to approve en masse on Monday.
Adrean’s resolution states that the Dog and Cat Sterilization Program was established by a constitutional amendment in 2002. The program is administrated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
The program was to be funded, in whole or in part, through the sale of specialty license tags. However, funding was diverted to other programs since the Great Recession, according to the resolution.
The statewide legislation hasn’t budged in the House Motor Vehicles Committee, where it was assigned following its introduction on the House floor on Feb. 7.
The lack of movement is not yet a cause for concern among backers, given Willard’s influence in the chamber.
Willard chairs the Judiciary Committee, which handles legal matters ranging from all civil penalties to laws, courts and judges, and constitutional amendments. Willard also serves as a voting member of a number of significant committees – Appropriations, which oversees state spending; Ways and Means, which oversees state revenues; and Rules, which determines the bills that are called for a vote after a certain date on the legislative calendar.
The House Motor Vehicles Committee is chaired by Rep. Bubber Epps, a retired paving contractor from Dry Branch, located about 10 miles east of Macon. Like Willard, Epps serves as a voting member of a number of significant committee and as secretary of the House Transportation Committee.