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Georgia lawmakers push forward college education bills

Wednesday was Crossover Day at the state Capitol, the critical day when bills must pass either the Georgia House of Representatives or Senate.

Here’s a look at several bills that have passed one chamber of the Georgia Legislature that could have an impact on higher education or funding programs in the state:

Senate Bill 339 - aims to give students and guest speakers on public college campuses greater protection from hecklers and protesters. Several college presidents say the bill is unnecessary, citing current campus speech guidelines.

Gov. Nathan Deal said he would reluctantly sign a tax bill. The deal cuts the state income tax and strips Delta Air Lines of a lucrative break. Senate Republicans voted to strip a $50 million jet fuel tax break from the bill. The break was removed after Delta severed ties with the NRA. Deal said he wanted to vote for general cuts and would still seek a tax break for Delta.

Senate Bill 405 - it would offer grants up to $1,500 a semester to low-income students who fall slightly below HOPE Scholarship academic requirements. Students who receive the grant must work at least 15 hours a week during the semester and maintain at least a 2.3 grade point average.

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House Bill 392 - it attemps to make it easier for some colleges and universities to be reimbursed for students enrolled in the state’s Move On When Ready program.

Senate Bill 348 - would allow campus police officers to make arrests 500 feet off campus. The bill initially allowed officers to go 500 yards off campus. Some students and residents are worried about the change.

Senate Bill 331 - grants anonymity to lottery winners. The Georgia Lottery funds the HOPE Scholarship. Critics say the legislation would cloud transparency and raise questions about whether winners fairly won their prize.

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The AJC's Eric Stirgus keeps you updated on the latest happenings in higher education affecting metro Atlanta and Georgia. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

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