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March 5, 2003

Senators debated the FY 2002-2003 Supplemental Budget this
afternoon for hours. The Senate Appropriations Committee substitute to
House Bill 121 represents $90 million in additional cuts to State
funding, it does not include projected revenue from the Governor's
proposed excise tax increases, and does not dip into the State reserve
fund. Democrats respond with a proposal that would restore funding to
several programs, including nursing homes, the State's Greenspace
program and would make use of the State's reserve funds. Democrats say
that the "Rainy Day Fund" was established for such times these. We'll
have the highlights of that debate, and the outcome.

Two different proposals before the House would raise Georgia's state sales tax from 4% to 5%.
The 1% increase is expected to generate $1.2 billion annually,
according to the author of one of the bills, Representative David
Lucas. Lucas went on to say that the proposal is finding support among
his colleagues and constituents.

A resolution introduced in the Senate yesterday paves the way for the State to sell off property to generate revenue rather than raise taxes. Although Senate Resolution 121 has bipartisan support, the list of exact properties to be sold is causing dissention. Lawmakers David Zelski has more.

Senator Robert Lamutt, a Republican, accused Labor Commissioner
Michael Thurmond, a Democrat, today of withholding information from the
Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. Senator Lamutt, sponsor of Senate
Bill 167, said that Thurmond did not want the bill passed. The bill
would provide a continued break to employers in their monetary
contributions to the Unemployment Compensation Fund. We'll have the

Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond joins Lawmakers LIVE to respond to Senator Lamutt's charges.

The convention and tourism business is keeping a wary eye on Governor Sonny Perdue's flag referendum proposal.
The Governor avoided the subject at a luncheon with the Atlanta
Convention and Visitors Bureau today. Correspondent Hamilton Northcutt
was there and has more.

A coalition of Black and Jewish leaders rallied at the Capitol today to urge the legislature to defeat the Governor's flag referendum proposal.
House Bill 380, the legislation that would provide for that referendum,
is currently in House Rules Committee. Lawmakers Jesse Freeman has more.

The House is re-examining laws that toughened penalties for teen drivers. House Bill 185,
a bill allowing limited licenses for speeding violators aged 18 to 21,
passed today. The legislation was inspired by numerous complaints that
young adults were being forced to quit jobs, or college, because they
lost their drivers' licenses.