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Day 7 - January 24, 2007

Following up on a story that you saw first on Lawmakers, Rep. Ed Lindsey, along with several advocacy groups, held a press conference today to announce the filing of House Bills 97 and 102. The bills are intended to reform judicial elections.

A bill aimed to revitalize the advance loan industry in Georgia was introduced in the House today. Bill sponsor Rep. Steve Tomlin says the bill will allow the industry to once again do business in the state, after regulation forced advance loan companies to move elsewhere.

A bill that would give local communities control of beer and wine sales on Sundays may be stalled. Sen. David Shafer, Chair of the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities, has moved the bill to a study committee. Proponents of the bill still aren't giving up hope.

Sen. John Douglas took the well today to criticize the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's coverage of the War in Iraq. Sen. Douglas accused the AJC of intentionally emphasizing negative stories, and neglecting to cover the positive ones.

Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears of the Georgia Supreme Court gave her annual State of the Judiciary address to lawmakers today. Chief Justice Sears praised the legislature for funding drug treatment courts, and said she hopes the Business Court Pilot Program currently being developed in Fulton County will help Georgia to be seen as a business friendly state.

She saved her remarks on family cases for last because she says it is a subject that she hopes will stay with lawmakers the longest and one that is closest to her heart. Chief Justice Sears charged lawmakers with refusing to accept the decline of the two-parent family, and asked them to do whatever it takes to strengthen families so that they never have to burden the court system.

All that and more, tonight on Lawmakers.