The late Gov. Zell Miller

ATLANTA – The late Gov. Zell Miller will be honored with a monument on the grounds of the Georgia Capitol under legislation the state Senate passed unanimously Monday.

“This is about the man who gave us HOPE,” Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, the bill’s chief sponsor, told his Senate colleagues during a brief presentation. “He passed the HOPE Scholarship that has sent thousands and thousands of people to get higher education who never could have otherwise.”

Miller, a Democrat who served both as Georgia’s governor and as a U.S. senator, died in 2018 at age 86 after battling Parkinson’s disease.

During two terms as governor in the 1990s, Miller was the driving force behind the creation of the popular HOPE Scholarship program, funded through the Georgia Lottery.

Before that, the native of Young Harris served four terms as lieutenant governor.

After leaving the Governor’s Mansion, he was appointed to the Senate in 2000 by then-Gov. Roy Barnes after the sudden death of Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell.

Miller decided not to seek re-election in 2004 after a public falling out with the Democratic Party, which he criticized with his book “A National Party No More.”

Under Senate Bill 140, the monument’s design will be chosen by a six-member committee.

Two members will be appointed by the speaker of the Georgia House and two will be appointed by the lieutenant governor. The final two members – one from the House and one from the Senate – will be chosen by the governor.

The bill also stipulates that funding for the monument will be raised from private donations. The measure now moves to the House.