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March 25, 2003

Governor Sonny Perdue is standing by his tobacco tax increase.
He spoke about budget projections for fiscal year 2004 and responded to
questions about a proposed sales tax increase. We'll have the

Another issue the Governor addressed is the flag referendum
situation. With as many as five different proposals currently before
the General Assembly, the how and when of dealing with Georgia's state
flag remain unknown. Lawmakers David Zelski takes a look at the
different proposals.

Susan Hoffman talks with Minority Leader Lynn Westmoreland
about proposed budget cuts. Representative Westmoreland and several
House Republicans met with Governor Perdue's budget experts yesterday
to discuss ideas.

The Senate passes a new Senate map. Senate Republicans say Senate Bill 2
is a fair and just map, that it avoids odd shapes and keeps communities
of interest together. Some Democrats and Lt. Governor Mark Taylor says
that he believes the move to be illegal and says he will work with
House Democrats to see that the bill is defeated.

Speaker Pro Tem DuBose Porter talks with Susan Hoffman about
the status of the fiscal year 2004 budget and the state of the partisan
relationship between the House and Senate.

Several bills of interest passed the Senate today. Senate Bill 1
is legislation that would make it a crime to endanger a child. Georgia
is currently the only state in the country without a child endangerment
statute. The bill, part of Lt. Governor Mark Taylor's legislative
package, passed unanimously. Senate Bill 213, a pyrotechnics
bill that increases the amount of licensure and oversight necessary to
set off indoor fireworks or pyrotechnic displays. The bill was
introduced in reaction to the Rhode Island nightclub fire in February
that claimed 99 lives. Senate Bill 217, a tort reform bill that
attempts to put some controls on class action lawsuits that the bill's
sponsor says usually result in big fees for lawyers and small
settlements for complainants.

Child Support reform bills, Senate Bill 16 and Senate Bill 17, were heard before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Senate Bill 16 would require divorced parents to notify their former spouse before moving more than 150 miles away. Senate Bill 17 would change the way child support is calculated. Correspondent Hamilton Northcutt reports.

Inspector General James Seahorn refuses a request from Senator Vincent Fort to investigate what has become known as the "Freddie Mac letter incident".
The Inspector General said that his role was not to get involved in
disputes over legislation but to investigate fraud, waste, abuse and
corruption. Senator Fort took a point of personal privilege in the
Senate today to express his disappointment in that decision.

And 911 heroes are recognized at the Capitol today. Lawmakers Elizabeth Cowart reports about the courage of some very brave children.