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Start of legislature marked by ceremony

POSTED: January 13, 2014 1:50 p.m.

ATLANTA — State lawmakers have returned to the Capitol, and the 2014 legislative session is underway.

Much of the lawmakers' business on Monday was ceremonial, making preparations for the 40-day session. In the Senate, lawmakers welcomed back Republican Sen. Don Balfour, who was recently acquitted of state charges stemming from allegations he illegally claimed mileage and expense reimbursements from the state.

In remarks to his colleagues, Balfour said he was humbled by the ordeal and called the prosecution "a waste of state resources and money." He admonished his accusers, saying "there should be a line between political gamesmanship and trying to destroy someone's life."

Balfour previously agreed to pay a $5,000 fine by the Senate Ethics Committee and repeatedly described the filings as inadvertent mistakes. The House and Senate reconvene on Tuesday.


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