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HOPE one step closer for Georgia Gwinnett College

Georgia Gwinnett College's hopes for HOPE got a boost Wednesday.

The House Higher Education Committee OK'd a bill that would clear the way for the Lawrenceville college's students to use HOPE scholarships to pay for mandatory fees and books.

Because of a loophole created in 2004, the new college faced the possibility of not being eligible for the scholarships, which go to students with B averages.

Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snell-ville, drew up a bill to close the loophole. The Senate approved the legislation earlier this month, and it could be considered by the House within the next week.

"Students attending these new colleges and universities like Gwinnett Georgia will benefit from this legislation," Balfour said Wednesday. "Students eligible for HOPE will reap the full benefit of a college education without having to worry about how they will pay for their textbooks and the fees that students are required to pay each year."

Gwinnett Georgia University, which was chartered last year by the Georgia General Assembly, will be affected by this new law. Sen. Balfour, who has advocated the formation of the university for nearly 15 years, was responsible for the legislation creating the university in

Gwinnett.

Coan not giving up on meth registry bill

A Gwinnett County lawmaker's bill calling for the creation of a methamphetamine registry in Georgia died when it failed to make it through the House by this week's "crossover day'' deadline.

But Rep. Mike Coan, R-Lawrenceville, hopes there's life after death.

Coan said on Wednesday that he's trying to find a Senate bill close enough in subject matter to attach his legislation to in order to keep it alive.

After crossover day, the House can only consider legislation that already has passed the Senate.

The bill would require criminals convicted of manufacturing, transporting or selling meth to put their names on a state registry either when they're released from prison or placed on probation.

The registry would allow citizens to find out whether a meth offender lives in their neighborhood and would give landlords a way to screen out people with meth offenses on their records who might be considered risky tenants.

"It's had a lot of interest in it from the business community and the public as well,'' Coan said.

The registry would be maintained by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Coan said it would cost about $50,000 to install.

Staff Writer Dave Williams contributed to this report.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.