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April 7, 2003

The House approves its version of the FY 2004 Budget.
We'll have highlights of the debate as lawmakers try to balance the
State's $16 billion spending plan with decreased revenues. House Bill
122, general appropriations for FY 2004, heads to the Senate.

Georgia's flag could be changing again. Last week the House
Rules Committee approved a plan that would adopt a new flag design and
allow for a statewide referendum. Black caucus members spoke out
against the plan today. Lawmakers' Nwandi Lawson has the details.

It's legislative day 32, and the pressure is on to make sure
legislation doesn't die. If a bill doesn't pass out of the chamber in
which it originates by day 33, then the bill is lost for the session.
Correspondent Hamilton Northcutt has a status report on some of the
session's notable pieces of legislation.

Payday Loans. Today the Senate voted to criminalize the
payday loan industry in Georgia. Senate Bill 157 would make it a
misdemeanor the first two times a company is caught issuing payday
loans and a felony the third time. The Senate approved the bill by a
vote of 46-6.

Members of a newly formed organization called LAP, Lenders Against Predatory Practices,
spoke at the Capitol this morning to announce their new program. Rep.
Ron Sailor organized this group of Georgia lenders after recent changes
to Georgia's Fair Lending Act. The group pledges to find better ways to
protect borrows and has set aside money to educate consumers about
potential lending dangers. David Zelski was there and has more on what
the group hopes to accomplish.

Today social services and disability rights activists came to the
Capitol to encourage lawmakers to increase state revenues to avoid cuts
in social service and healthcare programs like Medicaid. Lawmakers'
Sara Hays has that story.

All that and more tonight on Lawmakers!