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March 24, 2004

Today the Senate Appropriations Committee approved their version of the FY '05 Budget.
There are substantial differences from the House version of the budget.
The $16.4 billion spending plan for the State will go before the full
Senate tomorrow. We'll have the details on the Senate's changes.

Governor Sonny Perdue signed the FY '04 Supplemental Budget
yesterday, but suggested the legislature be more responsible with the
2005 budget. Even though he signed the legislation, the Governor said
many of the programs left in the budget, such as PeachCare, will
receive insufficient funds.

Today a three judge federal panel released its latest version of maps for Georgia's House and Senate districts.
One more hearing to discuss the new maps is planned for tomorrow, after
which the three U-S District judges will make their final decision on
new districts. We'll have an update on reapportionment.

Members of the Service Employees International Union and the
Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) held a press
conference today in support of HB 1554, which would lighten the case load
of Georgia's DFCS case workers. However, since the bill did not pass
the House on the 33rd Day, it appears dead for this session. Lawmakers'
David Zelski reports.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee discussed several
bills today. Among the legislation covered was HB 1138, which would provide criminal penalties for adults smoking in vehicles with a child in a safety seat. Lawmakers' Chrissy Thrasher has more.

The House Judiciary Committee today passed a bill that would put a limit on how long a prison inmate would have to file a writ of habeas corpus. There is currently no statute of limitations in Georgia. Lawmakers' Jesse Freeman has more.

Today at the Capitol nine life-saving children helped Governor Sonny Perdue celebrate 911 Appreciation Day.
The Governor also announced that he has allocated $3 million to help
rural 911 centers. Lawmakers' Michael McCollum has the story.

Today the Georgia House approved SB 418, the bill that would make female genital mutilation
a crime. An amendment adopted without objection added "piercing" to the
list of prohibited actions. The bill now must return to the Senate
because of the piercing amendment.