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March 4, 2004

Senate Passes Smoking Ban. The state
Senate today passed a ban on smoking in most public buildings. Under SB
507, only private homes, cars, small businesses, some hotel rooms and
bars that receive less than 20% of their revenue from food sales would
be exempt from the measure, which passed 45-7 and now goes to the

Today the House approved HB 1138, which creates an offense for smoking in a motor vehicle with a child in a car seat.

The Senate Higher Education committee approved SB 471, the Senate plan to preserve the HOPE Scholarship.
The bill will enact a "Trigger" plan that considers end of year
balances in the Lottery for Education Account. Each time the end of
year balances are less than those of that of the previous year, a
trigger is generated to first cap fees at $500, then eliminate them,
and finally, if the balances drop for a third year in a row, eliminate
money for books.

This morning Rep. Jeanette Jamieson introduced another version of
legislation that would make same sex marriage unconstitutional in
Georgia. However, Sen. Mike Crotts says Jamieson's resolution, HR 1470,
guts his same sex marriage bill which failed in the House last week.
Lawmakers' David Zelski has more.

Today the House agreed to a conference committee report on SB 157, the bill to regulate the payday loan industry in Georgia. That bill now goes to Governor Perdue for his signature.

Not everyone is happy about the legislature's approval of SB 157, the payday loan bill. Lawmakers' Jesse Freeman has reactions to today's House vote to agree to the compromise bill.

A competition between Olympic Athletes in seven major sports will be
coming soon to Atlanta. Today Governor Perdue along with the United
States Olympic Committee and the Atlanta Sports Council announced that
Atlanta will be the host city for the Titan Games. Lawmakers' Chrissy Thrasher has more.

Today the House Natural Resources committee approved SB 436, which would create a water conservation incentive program for Georgia farmers.