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Greg Bluestein

A legislative session begins and politicking revs up once more

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The legislative session starts again this morning and a record-early primary contest and wild races for Georgia’s top offices has just about every one under the Gold Dome predicting legislators will be out of here by April.

But there’s plenty of unfinished business for them to attend to first. Lawmakers are expected to quickly shift state and local primaries to May 20 after a judge moved the federal contests. And they will start hashing out a more than $20 billion state budget that’s expected to include money for teacher pay raises and the largest online expansion in Georgia school history.

The legislative crowd will soon weigh more criminal justice legislation aimed at helping released offenders readjust to society. A fight looms over loosening firearm restrictions, but major tax reforms and a medical malpractice overhaul will likely be shelved for the session.

And there’s always wedge issues or surprise proposals that could pop up. One possibility involves tax breaks for the construction of the two new stadiums that will soon spring up, although some legislators say they may hold off until next year. After all, there’s a November election looming.

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