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      Georgia kicks off 2009 legislative session

      Georgia's 2009 legislative session got under way when the opening gavel sounded at the state Capitol today.

      State legislators are facing a steep budget shortfall and budget cuts are expected to dominate the 40-day session. Gov. Sonny Perdue will unveil his budget plan Wednesday and address a joint session of the Senate and the House. Slumping state revenues are expected to mean a $2 billion budget gap for the current fiscal year. Things could get even worse in the fiscal year set to begin July 1.

      Other issues set to take center stage this session are transportation, school vouchers and a proposal to cap the rate at
      which home assessments could rise.

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