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March 31, 2005

Governor Sonny Perdue's ethics reform bill awaits a conference
committee vote today. The original meeting set for this morning did not
go according to plan when the House and Senate did not reach an
agreement on House Bill 48. Lawmakers David Zelski reports.

It appears that a compromise has been reached on House Bill 244, legislation limiting the forms of I.D. voters can use at polling places. The bill would require one of seven forms of photo identification. The bill has caused a good deal of controversy this session.

The Senate today agreed to House changes to Senate Bill 90, the Georgia Smokefree Air Act. The legislation bans smoking in many public facilities, but exempts restaurants that exclusively serve individuals 18 and over. Lawmakers Chriss Knight has more about the four year struggle to pass this legislation.

House Bill 36, the enabling legislation that would allow Sandy Springs
to incorporate as a city, stirred debate before a compromise was
reached in the House today. Representative Wendell Willard defended the
right of the northern suburbs, while Representative Bob Holmes argued
that this set a dangerous precedent.

Legislation that would revise the way child support is calculated received final passage today. The House approved the Senate's minor changes to House Bill 221 and the bill goes to the Governor. Lawmakers Jesse Freeman has the highlights of that two hour debate.

House Minority Leader Dubose Porter spoke out against healthcare cuts made to the PeachCare for Kids program in a press conference yesterday. Democratic leadership also took the opportunity to speak out against House Bill 244, voter identification legislation. They say will not only affect minorities but also the elderly in Georgia.

Tom Crawford, National Editor of, shares his perspective of this hectic Legislative Day 39
with Gerald Bryant. He'll give us his insight on the debate over Ethics
legislation, as well as the General Assembly's goal to adjourn after
only 39 days.

The House agreed to a new structure for the Legislative Budget Office with separate staffs for the House and Senate. An amendment to Senate Bill 254 that would have prevented the Lieutenant Governor from hiring his own staff was a removed from the bill.

The Senate agreed to House changes to Senate Bill 174 today.
That legislation would allow some small business to offer health
insurance plans that don't include all state-mandated coverage. The
Senate also agreed to a conference committee report on Senate Bill 188, a measure that creates a child molestor registry.