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April 17, 2003

The House of Representatives took a step toward finding a new revenue source to help balance the budget, they passed a tobacco excise tax increase.
Though not as much as the Governor originally requested, the new levies
on tobacco are expected to generate $178 million a year. We'll have the

Governor Sonny Perdue is happy about the tobacco tax but says he is disappointed that the State does not yet have a budget. He blames "partisan petty politics"
for the legislature's failure to find real solutions to the State's
budget crisis by the 38th legislative day. He vowed that he would not
sign a budget that was either unbalanced or contained huge one-time cuts. Lawmakers Nwandi Lawson has more.

The Senate Rules Committee gave a do-pass recommendation to House Bill 380, the bill that would give Georgia a new state flag
and provide for a referendum so that voters could express their opinion
about the design. No date was set for floor debate on the issue, but
there were plenty of opinions about the decision to vote on the
legislation. Lawmakers Hamilton Northcutt has that story.

Legislation aimed at fixing Georgia's water quality and quantity issues
passed the Senate today after three hours of debate. Lawmakers David
Zelski has been following this issue and has the highlights of the
Senate discussion of House Bill 237.

Gerald Bryant talks to Jim Ledbetter, the Director of the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government
about plans to reward public service. You can access more information
about the Excellence in Public Service Awards on the Institute's
website at

All that and highlights of House and Senate debate tonight on Lawmakers!