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February 7, 2005

The House today passed legislation that would prohibit municipalities from requiring private businesses to give same-sex partners benefits usually reserved for married heterosexuals. Proponents say House Bill 67 is pro-business legislation, opponents say it's an end to home rule.

An abortion bill is expected to be debated on the Senate floor later this week. Lawmakers David Zelski talks with Senator Renee Unterman,
sponsor of Senate Bill 77, to get a preview. The legislation would
require a minor to have parental consent before an abortion, including
use of RU-486, often called the "morning after" pill, and would require
a 24-hour waiting period for all those seeking abortions.

House Majority Leader Jerry Keen and Speaker Pro-Tem Mark Burkhalter
spoke about Congressional redistricting and the speed of the session
thus far shortly after the House adjourned today. We'll have the

Senate Majority Leader Bill Stephens says he is unaware of
any sentiment in the Senate to mandate a later start date for public
schools. Legislation proposed in the House would require public schools
to begin no earlier than the last Monday in August.

Georgia will soon award over $7.5 million in one-time grants to local school systems
in funds from the FY 2005 Supplemental Budget. That announcement came
in a special joint House-Senate Education Committee press conference
today. Lawmakers Jesse Freeman has the details.

Nwandi Lawson talks with Representative Barry Fleming, Chair
of the specially formed House Civil Justice Committee. That committee
passed their House substitute of Senate Bill 3, the tort reform legislation on Friday.

Gerald Bryant talks with Senator Jeff Mullis, Chair of the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee, about Governor Perdue's tourism initiative expected to be in his committee tomorrow and when public hearings might be expected in regard to Senate Bill 5.

The Senate Insurance and Labor Committee passed a bill that would create a "training wage" for employees under the age of 20. Sponsors of Senate Bill 92
say that the $4.25 per hour wage will encourage businesses to hire
younger employees, especially in the summer months. Lawmakers Chriss Knight has that story.

The Senate passed two pieces of legislation today. Under Senate Bill 55, registered public accountants will be recognized as certified public accountants. Senate Bill 68
will make provisions for members of the State Board of Real Estate
Appraisers to recuse themselves from decisions in which they may have a
conflict of interest.

Today was Sustainable Business Day under the gold dome. Small businesses came to the Capitol to showcase their environmentally friendly industry. Lawmakers Angela Von Drasek has more.

Fifty-one high school students from across the State came to the Capitol today to participate in State School Superintendent Kathy Cox's Student Advisory Committee. Today's discussion topic: the legislature and how changes in the law affect Georgia's schools. Lawmakers Michael Rittle has that story.