ATLANTA - Georgia's governor is proposing an increase in the state's college scholarship fund. Republican Nathan Deal says revenues are up now.
"I'm really pleased that we are going to be able to increase the hope scholarship by 3%."
Those words have not been spoken from a Georgia governor's lips in years.
Governor Nathan Deal says starting in the fall, HOPE recipients will get 3% more tuition money than they got this year. The governor says lottery revenues, which fund the popular HOPE scholarship program, are not only steady but continue to grow.
"We do have the money in the lottery, and we're hopeful it will continue to grow."
Two years ago that wasn't the case. Deal had no choice but to make drastic cuts to the HOPE.
Most recipients got 90% of tuition paid rather than a full scholarship, and for the first time if tuition increased the amount of money in the scholarship did not.
There's also good news for Georgia's Pre-K program, which is also funded by the lottery. Two years ago the governor and lawmakers shortened the school year to just 160 days, adding back another 10 last year.
"We are restoring an additional 10 days in our budget proposal this year to the Pre-K calendar and that will bring it back to a full 180 days to the full calendar year," Deal said.
This week one lawmaker proposed allowing school principals to carry concealed weapons.
Deal had no comment, but when asked about proposed legislation to loosen gun restrictions he made it clear it's not a priority.
"It is a time that is fraught with a lot of emotion from both sides of the issue," he said. "I've heard of proposed legislation, but none of that is a part of my agenda."