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Day 23 - February 21, 2007

The Senate passed legislation today which would begin setting up a more effective statewide trauma network. Senate Bill 60, sponsored by Sen. Cecil Staton, creates the Georgia Trauma Commission. Sen. Staton estimates that over 700 lives per year could be saved with a more effective trauma network.

A bill that would have allowed large public retirement systems to invest up to 20% in foreign companies failed to pass in the House after much debate. House Bill 318 would also have allowed U.S. companies that are incorporated outside of the U.S. to be classified as domestic companies for investment.

Legislation which aims to deter children from smoking passed the Senate today. Senate Bill 95 would allow up to 20 hours of public service for punishment of minors who try to purchase tobacco. The bill also would make it illegal for a vending machine to dispense both tobacco and non-tobacco products. SB 95 passed unanimously and moves to the House.

AT&T wants to jump into the cable television market. House Bill 227 would make it legal for companies like AT&T to negotiate directly with the state to provide cable TV service. HB 227 passed the House Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications today, and moves to House Rules.

The House passed two bills today aimed to protect senior citizens. House Bill 155 calls for mandatory criminal background checks for owners of personal care homes, private home care providers, community living arrangements, and child welfare agencies. The bill would make it illegal for people with criminal records to own or operate such facilities. HB 233 amends some language in a Georgia code section to protect senior citizens from certain kinds of exploitation.

Sen. Vincent Fort introduced hate crimes legislation today. He has been pushing similar legislation for several years. His bill would enhance sentences against person convicted of committing crimes that are racially or culturally motivated.

A resolution condemning the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear program passed the Senate today. The resolution asserts that Iran has continued to develop its nuclear program in defiance of the will of the international community, and that it presents a threat to the safety of nations in the Middle East. The Resolution also condemns Iran as a sponsor of terrorism.

A bill recommended by the Department of Insurance which aims to protect members of the Armed Services from unscrupulous claims passed the Senate today. Senate Bill 84 bill would make it illegal for dishonest insurance claims to be made to members of the Armed Services.

All that and more, tonight on Lawmakers.