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Day 31 - March 28, 2007

Sixteen senators from both parties presented their substitute to the 2007 Supplemental Budget this morning. Less than 24 hours after receiving House Bill 94, Senate leadership shared their version, a five page substitute, which eliminates all additional spending projects from the House version and returns 10 percent of the surplus to the reserve fund.

The House passed only two resolutions today. One supporting family literacy projects, and another urging school districts to teach patriotism. Yesterday's lengthy house calendar included passage of a revision to the class size mandates for high school. House Bill 332 would have given systems two additional years to reduce class sizes to 28 in core subjects, but an amendment by Education Chair Brooks Coleman would allow local systems to increase class size to 33. Both the amendment and SB 332 passed. The bill now moves to the Senate

We begin our coverage of bills that didn't make it past Crossover Day with House Bill 337. HB 337 would have allowed general surgeons to open their own outpatient facilities. The bill was called up in the House last night, but the House voted to recommit it to House Rules before debate began. The measure is effectively dead for the year.

Legislation drafted at the request of the Sheriff's Association dealing with sex offenders passed the Senate last night. Senate Bill 219 pertains to vehicles used by sex offenders during criminal activity. Senate Bill 249 puts limitations on where a sex offender can reside, work, and volunteer. Both bills passed unanimously.

The House yesterday agreed to curtail spending for indigent defense in murder cases. Rep. David Ralston said House Bill 586 could reign in spending on cases like that of alleged courthouse shooter Brian Nichols. HB 586 passed without opposition and moves to the Senate.

Libraries will not be exempt from obscenity laws, according to a bill adopted yesterday in the House. The version of House Bill 226 that came to the floor excluded academic institutions and libraries from criminal prosecution for possession or distribution of materials deemed obscene, but Rep. Bobby Franklin introduced an amendment to remove the library exemption bill. Both the Franklin amendment and the bill passed, and move to the Senate.

All that and more, tonight on Lawmakers.