Legislative briefs

Senate approves spending plan for upcoming year

The Senate Friday approved a $19.8 billion budget for the upcoming year that restores proposed cuts to Georgia Gwinnett College and puts state money into startup companies.

It also increases funding for charter school systems, a pet project of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the Senate’s president. And it includes $474 million in “equalization” funding for poor school districts. Under the state’s formula, $137 million of the equalization money will go to Gwinnett, Paulding and Clayton County systems.

The House passed its version of the budget for fiscal 2014, which begins July 1, earlier this month. House and Senate leaders will now begin negotiating a final spending plan. The 2013 session is expected to end next week.

The Senate plan follows much of what was recommended by Gov. Nathan Deal and approved by the House. It fills a $224 million hole in Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor and disabled. It puts $147 million more into K-12 education to pay for growth in student enrollment.

— James Salzer

House adopts resolution with LGBT tie

The state House on Friday approved a resolution honoring the Atlanta Freedom Marching Band, a measure Republicans in the chamber blocked a day earlier.

Sponsored by Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, the resolution also references the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community, which apparently caused some House Republicans concern on Thursday, when Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, asked that a vote be delayed.

There was no opposition voiced Friday.

The House approves multiple privileged resolutions every day. They typically congratulate constituents, offer condolences for a death or commend someone for service to the state.

It is rare that one is blocked, although there is precedent. The state Senate in 2006, in a bipartisan vote, defeated a resolution honoring Jane Fonda for her charity work in the state. House Republicans in 2009 defeated a resolution commending Barack Obama for being elected president.

— Aaron Gould Sheinin