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Day 36 - March 23, 2006

The House today approved a study commission to explore the possibility of licensing direct entry midwives to assist mothers who decide to deliver their babies at home or in birth centers. Passage of House Resolution 1341 today coincided with Homebirth Day at the Capitol. Representative Stephanie Benfield explained the legislation to the gathering of homebirth advocates.

The Senate today voted to allow judges to increase sentences in hate crime cases. Georgia's original hate crimes law was ruled unconstitutional in 2004. Today Senator Vincent Fort successfully amended a routine court bill to put hate crime language back into law.

The Senate passed the fiscal year 2007 budget by substitute
today. They created a committee as a whole to discuss this bill, which
meant they followed committee rules for debate instead of the usual
floor rules. Senate President Pro-tem Eric Johnson chaired the committee on House Bill 1027. There were several changes to the house version, but the most notable came in the department of human resources.

The House today decided to repeal a law that required certain General Assembly personnel to post bonds in order to maintain their employment. Representative Earl Ehrhart explained Senate Bill 260, which passed the House without opposition.

Back to school shoppers can enjoy another sales tax holiday weekend this Summer. The Senate today passed House Bill 1219 49 to zero and it now goes to Governor Perdue.

The House defeated a plan to restrict the use of ATVs-all terrain vehicles-by children. Senate Bill 400
prohibits the use of ATVs by youngsters under 10, requires operators
under 16 to take a safety course, and requires that child riders be
supervised by licensed drivers over the age of 18. Representative Chuck Sims
told the House that the bill is necessary to save lives but many argued
that it would impair the ability of young people to use the vehicles
for farm chores and restrict family freedoms.