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Senate Democrats continue to spar on HOPE

ATLANTA (AP) -- Senate Democrats are continuing to hammer Republican lawmakers about the HOPE scholarship, reiterating their wish to revisit last year's overhaul of the program and pointing out its geographical and racial disparities.

Democrats assert former Gov. Zell Miller, the father of HOPE, intended the scholarship to be a path to college for the best and brightest Georgians who would not otherwise have one, laying the case for a merit- and need-based program. They have launched a website to highlight their concerns.

Several Republicans also took the floor to respond. They counter that HOPE has evolved amid rising tuition costs and declining lottery participation, and maintain that the scholarship is still helping thousands of Georgians regardless of race, geography or income.

The GOP-controlled Legislature is unlikely to revisit the issue this session.