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Day 29 - March 20, 2007

The Senate voted today to allow prosecutors to seek a sentence of life without parole as a sentence in a murder case. The two options currently available at the outset of a case are capitol punishment or life without parole. Senate Bill 145 passed by a vote of 49 to 3.

The Senate also voted to set up a state stem cell cord bank and further encourage non-embryonic stem cell research. Senate Bill 148 does not include funding for destructive embryonic research. SB 148 passed 39 to 15, and now moves to the House.

The House today agreed to a $19.4 billion mid-year budget. The supplemental budget will carry state agencies through June of this year, and includes an $8 million cut to the Go Fish Georgia program to fund the PeachCare insurance program. House Bill 94 passed 171 to 1, and now moves to the Senate.

Rep. Nikki Randall drew fire from House Speaker Glenn Richardson for speaking against House Bill 340. The bill, which is sponsored by Richardson, would change the PeachCare income cap from 236% of the federal poverty level to 200%. HB 340 is expected to come to a full House vote later this session.

The Senate voted today to move the Georgia Public Defenders Standards Council from the judicial branch to the executive branch so that the legislature can have more oversight. Also today the House voted for $9.6 million to fund the PDSC through the end of the fiscal year.

Just before adjourning for the day, the Senate voted down a measure that would have allowed limousine proprietors to vend alcoholic drinks in their vehicles. Senate Bill 99 was moved to the foot of the calendar earlier in the day, and failed to pass when it was taken up for a vote. SB 99 failed 23 to 25.

Tom Crawford of joins us live for commentary on the the week's news from the House and Senate.

All that and more, tonight on Lawmakers.