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Day 22- February 22, 2006

Today the House passed a bill that would require the Public Service Commission to make an up or down vote on a new natural gas pipeline in the state. House Bill 1325 passed 110 to 59. Atlanta Gas Light
is already authorized to build a pipeline from the Elba Island port,
but under this bill the PSC would have limited input in setting AGL's
building recuperation rates.

A bill making it easier for prosecution of GA 400 toll booth violators passed the House today. Representative Joe Wilkinson sponsors House Bill 1190,
which aims to close a current loophole in the law where the state road
and Tollway Authority has found it difficult to collect unpaid fines.

The Senate today voted to make county sheriff's responsible for courthouse security & make superior court judges responsible for approving those security plans. Senate Bill 462, the courthouse security measure, passed 52 to one and goes to the House.

It was an active day for the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. Four bills received a Do Pass, including legislation introduced by Representative Calvin Hill,
that would revise licensing for private detectives and security
officers. A second piece of legislation headed back to the house floor
is House Bill 1234. This measure would give constables of rural magistrate courts permission to carry deadly weapons.

The Democratic leadership held their weekly press conference today
to announce a bill that would require General Assembly approval for any
changes to the state employees health benefit plan. They said this legislation is a response to several teachers and state employees who were outraged over the Department of Community Health entering them into a contract with a new provider in January, without informing them of details.
Representative Bob Hanner then discussed House Bill 1115 which aims to help those, primarily in rural areas, who have been forced to travel, at times up to 100 miles to get the health care they need.

More physical education in many state schools will be the result if Senate Bill 474 becomes law. Senator Joseph Smith says schools need to pay more attention to student health and fitness. The bill passed by the Senate today provides for a State Department of Education position to coordinate physical education.

UGA Head Football Coach Mark Richt was in the state Senate today to deliver the morning devotion. He also paid tribute to Georgia National Guard members in the Senate gallery.