HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.... I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY.
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX...
WHEN BIBB COUNTY PARENTS ASKED QUESTIONS ABOU T THE MACON MIRACLE PLAN...SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER GARY BECHTEL SAID...HE'S IN THE DARK TOO.
BECHTEL SAYS BOARD MEMBERS HAVE NO MORE INFORMATION ...THAN BIBB COUNTY PARENTS.
THATS WHAT HE TOLD NEARLY 30 PEOPLE WHO MARCHED THROUGH DOWNTOWN MACON TO PROTEST SUPERINTENDENT ROMAIN DALLEMAND'S STRATEGIC PLAN.
THE GROUP.... MOSTLY PARENTS... MARCHED FROM THE MUSIC HALL OF FAME TO THE BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD OFFICE ON MULBERRY STREET.
BECHTEL MET THEM OUTSIDE .
THE PROTESTERS HANDED BECHTEL A PETITON AND ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COST...AND OTHER CONCERNS.
BETCHEL COULD NOT ANSWER MANY OF THE QUESTIONS... SAYING HE DOESNT HAVE THE ANSWERS HIMSELF.
where are we going to get the money for the ten hour sextended even for those children that choose to do it. ive got no detail points on the consultants that are going to be hired. i got no detail on the number of schools that are going to be closed. it's just countless questions and other board members have questions as well.
BETCHEL SAYS HE DOES NOT EXPECT THE BOARD TO VOTE ON THE PLAN ANY TIME SOON.
MILLEDGEVILLE POLICE SAY THEY'RE STILL TREATING THE STABBING DEATH OF 19-YEAR-OLD LAUREN BASWELL AS A POSSIBLE HOMICIDE... EVEN THOUGH HER BOYFRIEND SAYS SHE STABBED HERSELF.
POLICE CHIEF DRAY SWICORD SAYS JUST AFTER 11 LAST NIGHT... POLICE RESPONDED TO A 9-11 CALL FROM A HOME OFF VINSON HIGHWAY WHERE BASWELL'S BOYFRIEND SETH GLENN LIVES.
GLENN CALLED 9-11.
BASWELL WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT OCONEE REGIONAL HOSPITAL.
HE SAYS BASWELL WAS STRESSED AND AGITATED TUESDAY NIGHT AND DECIDED TO TAKE HER OWN LIFE.
"She made a few laps like i said I was on the couch and all of a sudden I hear a sound, she's standing there, she looks at me, she said something about suicide and that was it. She fell out and that was her last workds and I told her I loved her and held her hand and that was it."
SWICORD SAYS GLENN HAS BEEN VERY COOPERATIVE AS POLICE QUESTIONED HIM THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT.
HE WOULD NOT NAME GLENN AS A SUSPECT.
REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE NEWT GINGRICH CONTINUES HIS CAMPAIGN SWEEP IN GEORGIA.
GINGRICH PREDICTED HE'LL WIN HIS HOME STATE ON TUESDAY... AND WOULD LOVE TO CAPTURE ALL 76 DELEGATES BY GRABBING MORE THAN 50 PERCENT OF THE VOTE.
Newt: "It would be fabulous if we could do it. It would relaly be a huge victory.
Randall: Is there a low point that would cause you to have second thoughts about continuing?
Newt: "Yes, if I lose the state, but if I win the state, I think we're fine. We'll just keep moving forward.
Randall: "As long as you're number one you'll keep moving."
Newt: "We;re going to keep moving.
GINGRICH ALSO WANTS TO AMEND THE U-S CONSTITUTION TO LIMIT THE POWER OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT... AND SHIFT THAT POWER TO THE STATES.
Newt: "We're talking about the idea that the 10th amendment says a lot of power shouLD be kept at the state and local level. We want a platform plank in Tampa and then we want a bill that would return power to the states.
GINGRICH ALSO TALKED ABOUT THE NEED FOR TAX CUTS AIMED AT CREATING JOBS.
Newt: "I would pass a series of tax cuts that would dramatically increase jobs. I'd pass an energy plan to brings gas prices down to $2.50 per gallon, which would dramatically increase jobs and I would pass deregulation that would create jobs."
TEN STATES INCLUDING GEORGIA HOLD PRESIDENTIAL CONTESTS NEXT TUESDAY... WITH 437 DELEGATES AT STAKE.
76 OF THOSE DELEGATES ARE IN GEORGIA.
A CANDIDATE NEEDS 11-HUNDRED 44 DELEGATES TO WIN THE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION AT THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION IN AUGUST.
AT LEAST TEN GEORGIA LAWMAKERS WANT TO CAP THE AMOUNT OF CASH LOBBYISTS CAN SPEND ON LEGISLATORS EACH DAY.
AS WE TOLD YOU LAST NIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS... A DOZEN MIDSTATE LAWMAKERS RECEIVED NEARLY 37 THOUSAND DOLLARS FROM CAPITOL LOBBYISTS LAST YEARS... AND THAT PACE CONTINUED IN JANUARY OF THIS YEAR.
AND AS RANDALL SAVAGE LEARNED... SOME LAWMAKERS WANT TO PUT A LIMIT ON THOSE AMOUNTS... AND HOW MUCH LOBBYING FIRMS CAN SPEND.
<<1:04:57:12 "We're just trying to get the process going. All the states except three in the United States have some kind of caps. Georgia is one of three that does not have a cap, and we just feel like it makes sense to have a cap.
THAT'S STATE REPRESENTATIVE TOMMY SMITH.. A REPUBLICAN FROM NICHOLS.. AND THE LEADER OF THE EFFORT TO LIMIIT HOW MUCH LOBBYISTS CAN SPEND ON GEORGIA'S STATE LAWMAKERS.. SMITH AND NINE OTHER LAWMAKERS INTRODUCED LEGISLATION TO CREATE A CAP.
1:02:32:29Tommy Smith, State Representative: It's a hundred dollars. A hundred dollars within a 24-hour period. And so they take somebody out to eat for instance, they could spend $100 dollars, but they can't take them out again if they spend $100 until 24 hours have lapsed, which is extremely, I mean that's broad. But at least it does put a cap there and right now we have no cap whatsoever.
ACCORDING TO REPORTS FILED WITH THE GEORGIA GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE COMMISSION.. LOBBYISTS OFTEN SPEND HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS ON LAWMAKERS AND THEIR SPOUSES FOR DINNER AND DRINKS AT RESTAURANTS....LIKE BONES IN BUCKHEAD.
SMITH ALSO WANTS TO CAP THE AMOUNT A LOBBYING SHELL OUT TO LAWMAKERS ATTENDING CONFERENCES.
1:04:25:25 Tommy Smith, State Representative: We've also put a $2,000 limit on conferences. In other words, say there's a farming meeting going on or some kind of legislative meeting in Washington, they can only spend up to $2,000 on a trip.
BRAD CARVER SERVES AS A LOBBYIST FOR THE LAW FIRM OF HALL.. BOOTH.. SMITH AND SLOCUMB.. HE SAYS DISCLOSURES NOW REQUIRED UNDER THE STATE'S TRANSPARENCY LAWS WORK WELL.. AND THE PROPOSED CHANGES COULD HAVE UNINTENDED RESULTS.
1:04:58:07Brad Carver, Lobbyist: I think we self-regulate because we have that in place now and that's why I'm a little fearful of putting place a cap because I'm afraid that some of those kind of expenses will just be driven underground.
HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER LARRY O'NEAL.. A WARNER ROBINS REPUBLICAN.. RECEIVED MORE THAN ELEVEN THOUSDAND DOLLARS IN FOOD AND EXPENSES FROM LOBBYISTS.. HE SAYS GEORGIA ALREADY HAS TOUGH ETHICS AND DISCLOSURE LAWS.. AND SMITH'S PROPOSAL COULD BREED CORRUPTION.
1:05:03:05Larry O'Neal, House Majority Leader: What happens when you set caps is that you also basically stop disclosure and you make it nefarious and you send it underground. That's been the experience of other states so that's what we're debating with the issue, how is the state best served . I think if it weren't for full, complete and instant disclosure, you wouldn't have know that statistic to ask me that question.
REPRESENTATIVE SMITH ISN'T BUYING THOSE COMMENTS ABOUT DRIVING SPENDING UNDERGROUND.
1:02:21:08 Tommy Smith, State Representative: I don't think that's correct logic. As a matter of fact, I had some of my staff call Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. They talked with the Attorney General's office in those states and we cannot find any evidence that they do not work.
SMITH'S BILL IS AWAITING CONSIDERATION IN THE HOUSE.. RANDALL SAVAGE.. 13 WMAZ.. EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> THE PROPOSED CAP LEGISLATION WAS SIGNED BY FIVE DEMOCRATS AND FIVE REPUBLICANS.
BUT OTHERS... SUCH AS STATE HOUSE SPEAKER DAVID RALSTON... SAY THEY WON'T FAVOR ANOTHER ETHICS BILL DURING THIS YEAR'S SESSION.
TODAY'S 13 WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... SHOULD THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY LIMIT LOBBYISTS' GIFTS TO LEGISLATORS?
SO FAR 93 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.
AND 7 PERCENT SAY NO.
VOTE NOW... VISIT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
IF YOU HAVE A CHILD THAT WILL BE MOVING OUT ON THEIR OWN SOON... YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE READY.
SHERRI GOSS WITH ROSENBERG FINANCIAL GROUP IS HERE TO SHARE SOME ADVICE FOR PARENTS.
SHERRI... WE'RE TALKING ABOUT KIDS THAT ARE MOVING OUT FOR THE FIRST TIME?
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS FOR SHERRI CALL HER AT 752-1374 OR EMAIL HER AT EYEWITNESSNEWS@13WMAZ.COM.
SHE'LL BE HERE UNTIL 6:30..
AS YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED... IT'S FEBRUARY 29TH.
AND FOR ONE CENTRAL GEORGIA MAN... THAT MEANS HE'S WELCOMING HIS FOURTH GREAT GRANDCHILD... ON HIS 21ST BIRTHDAY.
GLOVER STUART WAS BORN ON LEAP DAY IN 1928... SO HE'S ACTUALLY 84 YEARS OLD.
TODAY... HIS FAMILY CELEBRATED THE BIRTH OF FAITH JACKSON... HIS GREAT GRANDDAUGHTER... WITH CAKE AND BALLOONS.
"It feels wonderful to know that she's safe and sound...got here okay. She's doing good."
PARENTS NATHAN AND MICHELLE JACKSON WELCOMED THE EIGHT-POUND... THREE OUNCE BABY GIRL TODAY.
BABY FAITH WILL CELEBRATE HER FIRST BIRTHDAY.... IN 2016.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.