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State legislature 'ready to go to work'

POSTED: January 13, 2014 11:58 p.m.

The Georgia General Assembly kicked off the 2014 session under the gold dome at the state Capitol.

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The 2014 legislative session kicked off Monday with leaders rallying lawmakers to focus on the state’s business and not be distracted by the election year ahead.

“Inevitably the temptation will arise to score a couple of cheap political points,” Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle told senators in opening that chamber. “I hope we can rise above that and remain true to our calling, not to be the best politicians we can but the best legislators we can be.”

Georgia “faces great challenges as a state, but also tremendous opportunities,” Cagle said. “It will take some hard work and difficult decisions.”

Annual rites, such as electing a new secretary of the Senate, took place, as lawmakers geared up for the 40-day session.

“We’re ready to go to work,” House Speaker David Ralston said as he opened the session in that chamber.

Legislators have said they don’t expect a heavy agenda in 2014, which is also an election year, and that the session likely will be dominated by the state’s fiscal 2014-15 budget.

The House and Senate, which reconvene today, have the benefit of increased revenues that have brought an end to additional spending cuts.

Lawmakers suggest a significant amount of additional money will be set aside for education, more than in recent years, with leaders saying they are concerned about estimates that more than half of Georgia’s school districts are not meeting the 180-day minimum school calendar set by state law.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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