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March 27, 2003

Governor Sonny Perdue cautioned lawmakers
to either adopt his tobacco tax plan or come up with another option for
revenue enhancement. The bill that would implement an increased excise
tax on tobacco, House Bill 379 was defeated yesterday, but a
vote to reconsider successfully keeps the idea alive. The Governor went
on to say that if the legislature could not pass a budget by Sine Die
on April 18, he would reluctantly call a special session- the next day.
Lawmakers Nwandi Lawson has more.

Senate leaders accuse House leaders of dragging their feet in creating the fiscal year 2004 budget
and do not agree to take tomorrow off saying they had already agreed to
a long recess in order for the house to come up with an FY 04 spending
plan. House Democrats complained of a lack of cooperation by Senate
Republicans and questioned the insistence by the Senate that they must
have the budget bill by the 33rd legislative day.

Tort reform passes the Senate, but without capping awards for pain and suffering. Debate on Senate Bill 133
lasted nearly three hours, but in the end, Senators agreed on a
compromise, what they call step one of the tort reform process.
Correspondent David Zelski reports.

There was prolonged debate in the Senate today over a bill that would repeal the Governor's powers to ban the transport of weapons and ammunition during a bioterrorism attack. Proponents of Senate Bill 92
said it simply reinforced the Constitutional guarantee of the right to
bear arms, opponents said the repeal would be insanity and could
legalize gun running and lead to anarchy.

Would you know what to do if your community came under attack? Correspondent Hamilton Northcutt spent the day at a Homeland Security conference in Cobb County exploring the answers to that question. She brings us a special report.

Governor Perdue's bill that would revamp the state's foster care system
was given a do pass by the Senate Children and Youth Committee this
afternoon. The Governor himself came to testify on behalf of Senate Bill 236. Lawmakers Cheznee Egemonye has more.

Senate Bill 233 would tighten some of the rules governing
doctors' visits by those receiving worker's compensation. Opponents
tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to, in their words, provide more
protection for workers. The bill passed by committee substitute 48-3.

The House voted today to compensate Ms. Mavis Blackstock
$125,000 over three years for injuries sustained when she was beaten
and raped by an inmate. A mental care services worker, Ms. Blackstock
was accidentally locked into a room with the inmate by a guard.

Today was Agriculture Day at the Capitol. Lawmakers Elizabeth Cowart has more.