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February 17, 2005

It's Legislative Day 20, the official
half-way point of the Georgia General Assembly session. We'll have an
update on the status of important legislation.

The Senate today passed their version of House Bill 84, the Fiscal Year 2004-2005 Amended Budget.
The Senate removed the House's bond package for capital construction at
colleges and technical schools. The House had cut $5 million from the
Governor's recommendation for the Department of Human Resources, the
Senate restored $3.75 million of those funds. The differences in the
House and Senate versions will force the bill into a conference

The House passed Senate Bill 33, part of the Governor's education legislation today. The bill would create the Georgia Virtual School
that offers classes, such as Advanced Placement classes, that might not
be offered by some of Georgia's smaller school systems. We'll have the
highlights of that debate.

The House Health and Human Services Committee today gave a do-pass recommendation to House Bill 197, the Woman's Right to Know Act.
The bill would require a 24-hour waiting period as well as requiring
the Department of Human Resources to give educational materials to any
female seeking an abortion. Lawmakers David Zelski has the details.

The Senate today voted to legalize selling sparklers to anyone 18 and over in the State. Senate Economic Development and Tourism Chair Jeff Mullis
said the bill could result in millions of dollars of revenue for the
State because adjacent states currently sell the fireworks. The bill
does not legalize any type of explosive fireworks.

Senator Casey Cagle and Representative Chuck Martin today announced legislation that they hope will help curb underage drinking.
Senate Bill 205 and it's House counterpart would impose stricter
penalties by revoking drivers licenses of both minors and adults.
Lawmakers Chriss Knight has more.

State School Superintendent Kathy Cox released the results of
the nationwide study which places Georgia among the top in the nation
for our English and Math curriculum. Only 4 other states ranked higher
in both areas. The study was completed by the Thomas B. Fordham

The Fulton County delegation held a public hearing this afternoon about the fiscal impact of the incorporation of Sandy Springs. Opponents say that the city incorporation would create a drain on Fulton County's tax base. Lawmakers Jesse Freeman has more about those discussions.

Senator Mitch Seabaugh has introduced a bill he hopes will attract
more moviemakers to Georgia. The tax measure would provide a rebate for
film companies commensurate with the amount of money they spend in the
State. Seabaugh hopes the bill will bring back Georgia's film heyday of
the 1970s and 80s.