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Legislative Session Starts Today
Ever since 1777, a group of Georgians congregate once a year to discuss the laws and finances of our state. This tradition continues 237 years later.
Today, January 13, 2014, marks the first day of the 2014 Georgia Legislative Session. The General Assembly, consisting of 180 Georgia Representatives and 56 Georgia Senators, gathers inside the gold dome of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. These legislators will work vigorously to go over the 2014 and 2015 state budgets, discuss proposed bills and resolutions and keep our state in the best shape possible.
Each session lasts 40 days, but, keep in mind, that doesn’t mean 40 consecutive days. Each day the General Assembly convenes, a day is officially notched in the calendar, but the two houses can remain in recess for several days or even a week at a time. Theoretically, those 40 days could stretch for five months and run all the way to May.
Important Days During the Legislative Session
- State of the State Address – This is always held in the House chamber. The state senators come to the House to hear Governor Nathan Deal set the tone for the session by talking about the present and future concerns that the legislature needs to address. He also introduces his budget for both chambers to then review. This year, the State of the State Address will take place on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 11 a.m. To read last year’s State of the State, visit the Governor’s website.
- Crossover Day – This day typically occurs on the 30th day of the session. All bills in each chamber must be approved by this day so that they can then move to the other chamber for discussion and review. For example, a bill in the Senate must pass the Senate by this day in order to be considered by the House. If a bill does not pass its initial chamber, it can no longer move forward this year, but its hopes for passage may lie for another year.
- Sine Die – This is the very last day of session. “Sine Die” is Latin for “without day.” In our context it means that we aren’t going to assign a day for a further meeting. By declaring Sine Die, we are adjourning the General Assembly, indefinitely causing the 40-day legislative session to officially come to an end.
To find more events and the happenings of the Capitol, be sure to look at the calendar of events. You can also keep up with what's going on during the session with live broadcasts from the House, the Senate or both chambers at the same time.
About the Author
Bethany McDaniel is the Interactive Web Content Manager for GeorgiaGov. She graduated from Berry College in Rome, GA with degrees in Visual Communication and History.