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Day 8 - January 25, 2007

The Senate Education Committee gave a do-pass recommendation to a bill that will give education vouchers to students with special needs. Opponents say it opens the door for vouchers for all students in Georgia.

Gov. Sonny Perdue and Sen. Zell Miller celebrated the one millionth recipient of the HOPE Scholarship at the Capitol today. Sen. Miller was Governor of Georgia when HOPE was signed into law in 1993. HOPE has so far generated $8.8 billion towards education in the state.

Sen. Cecil Station filed a bill today that would setup a statewide trauma network in Georgia. Georgia currently has a trauma death rate that is 20 percent above the national average. Sen. Staton says the trauma network would allow better coordination between trauma centers, which could help save lives.

A joint meeting of the House and Senate Health and Human Services Committees was held at Grady Memorial Hospital today. Rep. Sharon Cooper, Chair of the House Committee, emphasized Grady's importance as a teaching hospital.

The Senate Judiciary Committee discussed a bill today that would increase prison sentences for victims who are mentally handicapped. Concerns were expressed over the belief that individuals who falsely claim a mental handicap could be protected under the bill.

The Senate passed its first two bills of the 2007 session this morning, both unanimously. Senate Bill 11 allows Georgia State and Superior Court judges to retain their judgeships while serving in the Reserves and National Guard. Senate Bill 18 will enable the expansion of limitations on a specific municipal court located in Columbus, GA.

Lawmakers' Co-Anchor Nwandi Lawson sat down with House Appropriations Chairman Ben Harbin. Rep. Harbin discussed, among other things, a potential shortfall in the proposed 2007 Budget, PeachCare, and Go Fish Georgia.