LEGISLATIVE REPORTRep. Barbara Massey ReeceHouse District 11Week of January 25 – January 29  Democrats have been pushing for changes to the House Rules for five years. The House passed HR 1168, an amendment to House Rules. The most important change created by this amendment is the end of the Hawks. House Hawks, were ex-officio members of all committees and sub-committees with the power to vote as directed by former Speaker Richardson. This system violated the concept of one person, one vote. The Judiciary Non-Civil committee passed HB 219, which requires antifreeze sold in the state to include a bittering additive. The purpose of the bill is to prevent ingestion by animals and people, which can cause injuries and death from poisoning. A chemical commonly found in antifreeze is toxic, and antifreeze has a sweet smell and taste. The bittering additive, denatonium benzoate, makes antifreeze unpalatable to both humans and animals. This same chemical is commonly added by manufacturers of household products to prevent ingestion. The bill includes limitation of liability for individuals or entities that sell or manufacture antifreeze, but include the additive as required by law. The bill gives a two year grace period, allowing manufacturers and retailers until July 1, 2011 to become compliant. This bill was debated on the House floor today and passed. The Education Committee passed HB 910, which removes the requirements from the Department of Education to provide a report on the annual gender equality in school systems to the Georgia General Assembly each year. They will be provided electronically, saving on printing and mailing costs. The bill is ready to be debated on the House floor. House committees continue to hold hearings on the Governor’s recommended FY 2010 Budget which provides for government operations through June.  This “amended budget” usually adds funds to various department budgets to adjust for growth, as in school systems, or unexpected costs such as natural disasters.  This budget reflects the first time that mid-term adjustments have been cut rather than increased.  Among the cuts in the Governor’s budget are three crime labs and the Tuition Equalization Grants for students attending private colleges like Berry and Shorter. I continue to work with other Representatives and Senator Mullis in an effort to find a way for the Summerville Crime Lab to continue operations.  Many parents and students have contacted me about the Tuition Equalization Grants.   I believe the majority of Representatives are in favor of restoring funding cut in the Governor’s version of the budget.  The problem is finding money and removing it from another program or department. Rep. Reece may be reached at 404-656-7859 or barbara.reece@house.ga.gov.  Rep. Reece serves on the Education Committee, State Institutions and Properties Committee, Science and Technology Committee, and the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee.  She is also Secretary of the Rural Caucus.