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February 22, 2005

Legislation limiting the number of credit hours for which the the HOPE scholarship will pay passed the House today. House Bill 299 limits students to 127 semester hours.
Proponents say the bill is fair and saves HOPE funds, opponents say the
bill is not fair to students in courses of study that require more than
127 hours. Lawmakers David Zelski has more on this new change that, if passed by the Senate, would take effect in Fall 2005.

In a related story, Senate Bill 179 passed out of the Senate Higher Education committee today. The measure would remove all capital outlay projects from lottery proceeds, allowing more money for the HOPE scholarship. The bill's sponsor, Senator Bill Hamrick, explains why this bill is so important during these tight budget years.

Debate over the Georgia Residential Mortgage Fraud Act was
heated on the Senate floor today. Senator Bill Hamrick expressed the
concerns of State Attorney General's office, while Senator Vincent Fort
said that Senate Bill 100 should deal with predatory lenders who charge high interest rates. We'll have the highlights of that debate.

It's a hop, skip and a jump to Georgia having an official State amphibian, the green tree frog.
Senate Bill 41 passed the Senate today amongst many frog analogies,
puns and jokes. We'll have the highlights of the presentation of the
bill's sponsor, Senator Preston Smith.

A bill revising the Georgia minimum wage law by prohibiting local governments from setting the minimum wage passed the House today. House Bill 59 would not give local governments the power to set living wage mandates. Lawmakers Chriss Knight has the story on HB 59.

The House Rules committee voted to send a controversial abortion bill to the floor of the House tomorrow. House Bill 197, the Woman's Right to Know Act contains informed consent, a 24-hour waiting period and parental consent for minors. Lawmakers Jesse Freeman has details.

Former Governor Samuel Ernest Vandiver, Jr. passed away
Monday evening. Senators took a moment to pause and remember him today.
Vandiver was Governor of Georgia from 1959 to 1963. His body will
lie-in-state at the Capitol tomorrow from 11am until 2pm. Governor
Vandiver was 86.

Senate Majority leader Bill Stephens discussed several measures at his weekly press briefing this morning. He said that Senate Bill 230,
would require companies to quickly notify consumers about potential
identity theft, is gaining momentum in the Senate. He also said that
the Governor's Faith and Family initiative is expected to pass the
Senate this week. Senate Resolution 49 is a proposed constitutional amendment which would allow the State to pay faith-based organizations to provide social services.

Members of the Service Employees' International Union marched on the Capitol today to rally, encouraging State legislators to increase employee wages and improve heath care benefits. David Zelski has the story.

A group of community leaders working to improve the lives of families across the State met with legislators today. The Family Connection Partnership held their annual meeting today to discuss changes they would like to see. Lawmakers Chriss Knight reports.

The Georgia Rural Health Association presented its legislative agenda at the Capitol today. Lawmakers Angela Von Drasek has more.

And, the Future Farmers of America met at the Capitol today.
Students from across Georgia were honored and Governor Sonny Perdue
presented the group with a proclamation. Lawmakers Michael Rittle has that story.