Ga. legislature opens session focused on schools, health

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia's General Assembly has opened the 2017 legislative session at the Capitol in Atlanta.

The House and Senate convened Monday morning with the swearing-in of lawmakers. The 40-day legislative session often gets a slow start, but before leaving the Capitol lawmakers are expected to consider changes affecting schools, gambling and health care in the state.

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Legislative leaders do hope to act quickly on one issue. A tax on hospitals in the state is set to expire June 30. If lawmakers don't renew it this year, the state's Medicaid budget could lose more than $880 million in hospital taxes and matching federal support.

Gov. Nathan Deal has been tight-lipped about his priorities for the year but is set to deliver his State of the State address later this week.

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