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Ga. Senate passes spending plan
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ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Senate has approved a state spending plan for the next year, setting up negotiations with House lawmakers who already have approved their own version.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports ( ) that the Senate on Friday agreed with the House that part-time school employees should stay on the state's health benefit plan. Gov. Nathan Deal has recommended eliminating about 22,000 employees and dependents. Lawmakers instead would shift the cost to school districts.

The Senate's version contains $1.1 billion in new construction, including $100 million each for bridges and transit systems.

The state would spend about $40 billion next year including federal funds.

The plan also calls for a 3 percent increase for HOPE college scholarship awards and a 30 percent increase for grants to private college students.