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March 4, 2005

The House and Senate today agreed on the conference committee report to House Bill 84, the Supplemental Appropriations bill. That legislation contains changes to Georgia's $16.6 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2005. The House also passed House Bill 85,
the General Appropriations Act for 2005-2006. That $17.1 billion
spending plan would take effect July 1, 2005. It now moves to the
Senate for their approval.

While the legislature discussed how to spend the State's revenue, the Governor announced a significant decline in revenue collections over the past month. Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that February collections were down almost 24% compared to last year.

The Senate today passed House Bill 197, a controversial abortion bill. The Woman's Right to Know Act
contains measures that require informed consent, a 24-hour waiting
period and parental consent for minors. The bill now goes to the
Governor for his signature. We'll have the highlights of that debate.

Two parts of Governor Perdue's Ethics Reform
legislation passed the House today after lengthy debate. House Bill 48,
the Ethics in Government Act, would make changes to the way lobbyists
operate, including "closing the revolving door" at the Capitol.
That measure would require former legislators or elected officials to
wait one year before becoming lobbyists. The House also passed House Bill 665, which aims to protect whistleblowers who expose those who violate the law. Lawmakers Chriss Knight has that story.

Nwandi Lawson talks with Tom Crawford , National Editor of Capitol for our weekly update about the goings-on under the gold dome.

The House Governmental Affairs Committee today
approved a measure that would make it possible for student athletes at
private schools to participate in public prayers prior to sporting events. House Bill 678 would also allow visiting athletes from public schools would also be allowed to participate in the prayer. Lawmakers Angela Von Drasek has that story.

All that and more on Lawmakers.