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February 17, 2004

New Senate Maps. Today leaders in
the Georgia Senate unveiled a new map to redraw Senate district lines
following a federal ruling last week that threw out the current maps
for both the House and Senate. Gerald Bryant spoke with Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Michael Meyer Von Bremen,
about the proposed Senate districts. The Senator issued a challenge to
the Senate Republican leadership to draw the politically blind maps
they talked about in 2001.

Gerald Bryant also spoke with Senate Reapportionment Committee Chair, Sen. Tom Price
about the new map. Sen. Price says the new Senate district map follows
the federal court order to adhere to the principle of one man-one vote.

This afternoon members of the Christian Coalition rallied outside the Capitol in support of SR 595, the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Georgia. Lawmakers Chrissy Thrasher has more on the event.

Members of Georgia Equality also came to the Capitol today
and said that they are happy with the progress they have made over the
years, and they are optimistic that the Georgia House will vote down SR
595, the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in

Today House Speaker Terry Coleman assigned SR 595 to the House Rules Committee. House Rules Chair, Rep Calvin Smyre,
says he is not going to send SR 595 to subcommittee, preferring to
allow debate by the entire committee. Nevertheless, he says he is not
prepared to fast-track the bill.

Senator Regina Thomas went to the well this morning and took
her Republican colleagues to task for voting against a proposed
amendment to SR 595 yesterday. The amendment sought to make adultery unconstitutional in Georgia.

Courthouses would be free to display the Ten Commandments under a bill to be introduced by Georgia House Republicans. Representative Lynn Westmoreland
announced today that he will sponsor a bill to allow Ten Commandments
displays as long as they are portrayed as historical, not religious,
documents. David Zelski reports.

This afternoon the Senate Ethics Committee gave a do-pass recommendation to SB 517, part of Governor Sonny Perdue's ethics legislation.
SB 517 would increase the responsibility of the State Ethics Commission
and make it a separate entity from the Secretary of State's office. Jesse Freeman has more on the meeting and details on the legislation.