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February 1, 2005

It's legislative day 10 of the
Georgia General Assembly. Excepting local legislation and resolutions,
the House has passed only one bill, House Bill 98, and the Senate has
passed only three bills, Senate Bills 3, 33 and 34.

The Georgia State Senate passed Senate Bill 3 today. The controversial tort reform legislation was the subject of over 4 hours of debate. The bill would cap non-economic damages for pain and suffering at $250,000 per guilty party or an aggregate cap of $750,000. Lawmakers David Zelski has that story.

Governor Sonny Perdue held his quarterly meeting with State agency heads today. He outlined his legislative agenda and encouraged agencies to remain fiscally frugal. Lawmakers Jesse Freeman has that story.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses was at the
Capitol today to encourage legislators to pass tort reform and hear
Governor Perdue's progress report on current business legislation and
small business initiatives. Lawmakers Chriss Knight has more.

Nwandi Lawson talks with Representative Tyrone Brooks about his legislative push to repeal the last remaining "Jim Crow" laws.

The House Education Committee received a lesson today in the State's
Quality Basic Education, or QBE, guidelines from John Brown of the
Office of Planning and Budget. State School Superintendent Kathy Cox spoke to the committee about the financial impact of class-size reductions.

The Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Higher Education
met this afternoon to hear budget requests. Although the FY 05-06
Budget is still in the House, the Senate members are already preparing
for their review of the $17.1 billion spending plan.

Preparations for a statewide energy plan took place in the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee
today. The committee also passed Senate Bill 68, legislation that would
change PSC license administration for real estate appraisers.

Senate Bill 76 was heard in the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee today. The legislation, which would increase regulation of medical malpractice insurance rates, was sent to subcommittee for further review.

Corrections Commissioner James Donald says putting prisoners to work
will help them transition back into society. He is currently advocating
work programs that allow prisoners to earn reduced wages, minus room
and board and victim restitution. Lawmakers David Zelski has that story.

Today was Firefighters day under the gold dome. Firefighters from
across the State came to the Capitol to talk about their five-year
strategic plan with legislators. Lawmakers Michael Rittle has the highlights.