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March 25, 2004

Today the Georgia Senate approved their version of the FY '05 Budget.
We'll have highlights from more than four hours of debate and details
on the Senate's changes to the $16 billion spending plan.

A bill that would make changes in Georgia's HOPE Scholarship
program failed to pass the Senate today. Senators voted 28 to 22 in
favor of HB 1325, but the bill failed to gain a constitutional majority
vote of 29. Lawmakers' Chrissy Thrasher has more.

Today the Senate approved SR 907, which encourages the Georgia
Lottery Corporation to adopt advanced technologies and would set up the
Lottery Technology Joint Study Committee. Opponents say encouraging the use of computers to play the lottery is akin to video poker and a bad idea.

Today the House Education Committee approved SB 428, part of Governor Sonny Perdue's education reform
package. The bill would take away a student's drivers license if they
failed to meet school attendance requirements. However, many changes
were made to the bill, which means that it will most likely end up in a
conference committee. Lawmakers' David Zelski has that story.

Also discussed in today's House Education Committee were the
creation of study commissions for early learning and Pre-K. SR 760
would create a Joint Early Learning Initiative commission, and SR 674 would create a joint study commission of Georgia's Pre-K program.

Lawmakers' Jesse Freeman talks with House Judiciary Chair Mary Margaret Oliver about tort reform.

The Georgia House voted today to allow traffic officials to create high-occupancy toll lanes. The so-called "Lexus Lanes" or H-O-T lanes
would allow solo drivers to hop in the high-occupancy vehicle lanes,
for a price. Supporters say this move could help ease some of metro
Atlanta's traffic woes.

Today the Senate approved HB 1580, the Foster Parents Bill of Rights. The bill goes to Governor Perdue for his signature.

Governor Sonny Perdue honored the 2004 and 2005 Teachers of the Year. Lawmakers' Chrissy Thrasher has more.