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February 18, 2005

Senator Preston Smith today announced his plans for new legislation that he hopes will help save the lives of teen drivers. Senate Bill 226, which Senator Smith is calling Joshua's law,
would put driving simulators in every public high school in the State.
A public-private partnership would pay for the simulators to help put
drivers education programs back into Georgia's high schools. Lawmakers'
Chriss Knight has the details.

Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson talks about redistricting and ethics at his weekly press conference today. We'll have the highlights.

The Georgia Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, held a press conference today to call for enforcement of clean water measures. Representatives Wendell Willard and Debbie Buckner announced new legislation to establish fees
for industrial and public-owned facilities that discharge pollution
directly into Georgia's lakes, streams and rivers. Supporters say the
fees would generate significant revenue for water pollution control.
Lawmakers' Jesse Freeman has that story.

Representative Stephanie Stuckey Benfield has told the House Education and Youth Committee that she is no longer pursuing a bill she sponsored, House Bill 497. The measure would have required a student's BMI or body mass index to be recorded on report cards.
BMI is often used to determine if a child is overweight or obese. The
aim of the legislation was to raise parents' awareness of their
children's health. Benfield tells Lawmakers that with all the negative
public reaction, nothing positive could come of the bill.

"Education Go Get It", the largest educational partnership in history,
was launched today by State School Superintendent Kathy Cox, University
System of Georgia Chancellor Thomas Meredith, Department of Technical
and Adult Education Commissioner Michael Vollmer, IBM's Director of
Corporate Relations Ann Cramer and Georgia Student Finance Commission
President Shelley Nickel. The program is designed to help boost Georgia's high school graduation rates. Lawmakers' David Zelski reports.

A Lawmakers exclusive, Gerald Bryant talks with Chancellor Thomas Meredith about "Education Go Get It" and the State University System.

Senate Bill 87, the Georgia Seed Law, would prevent local
jurisdictions from creating their own seed laws. The House passed that
measure today after lengthy debate. Also passed by the House was Senate
Bill 88, the Georgia Fertilizer Act. That measure places
similar restrictions on the creation of local fertilizer laws. Both
bills go to the Governor for his signature.

The House today agreed to allow the Chiropractic Board of Examiners to broaden its standards. A similar measure was vetoed by Governor Sonny Perdue last year, but proponents of the measure say House Bill 266 should have no such problems.

Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor and Secretary of State Cathy Cox joined nearly a hundred demonstrators last night at a candlelight vigil for Georgia's uninsured children. The event, sponsored by Georgians for Health Care, was held at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Lawmakers' Sean Yancy has that story.

Today is Arbor Day in Georgia, but Governor Sonny Perdue got a jump on celebrating. The Governor planted a summer red maple tree on the northeast lawn of the State Capitol grounds yesterday. Lawmakers' Angela Von Drasek has more.