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2017 Legislative Session Has Begun
And just like that, we’re back!
Yesterday, Jan. 9, marked the first day of the 2017 Legislative Session. This is the first of our 2017-2018 legislative cycle. Members of the Georgia General Assembly are studying, discussing and introducing new bills and, in the next two years, some of these bills will become new laws.
Changes to 2017 Session
This year, Day 1 brought about some quick and important changes to the way the remaining 39 days of session will run.
One of the most noticeable changes is that Crossover Day will move up to Day 28 of session. Typically on Day 30, this is the last day that one chamber can pass legislation to the other. Any bill that doesn’t receive a vote and pass to the opposite chamber by the end of this busy day cannot become a law in 2017. Since we’re at the beginning of this session’s two-year cycle, unresolved bills can resume progress next year.
Additional Changes to Senate Rules
Yesterday, the Senate passed Senate Resolution 1 which made a number of changes to the Senate Rules. The bill was engrossed — meaning senators had to vote on it as-is without amendments — and passed, after some debate, with a 37-18 vote.
In addition to moving up Crossover Day, some of the most discussed changes coming from SR 1 include:
Section 1: Senate sessions and Senate committee meetings can be closed to the public when the content of the discussion would compromise security, based on certain specifications.
Section 7: The chair of an interim special committee — those which meet between sessions to study a specific topic — can allow committee members to participate and vote through video conference or teleconference, as long as the meeting is open to the public.
Section 8: For the final 4 days of session, Conference Committee reports can be distributed to Senators at minimum 2 hours before consideration, rather than the day prior as required for the first 36 days. (Previously this change took place for only the 3 final days.) The 2 hour rule can be suspended by a majority vote.
Section 21: After Day 20, points of personal privilege will be limited to 3 minutes, instead of the previous 5.
See the full text of changes to the Senate Rules online.
Follow Session News
Throughout the next few months, you can also keep up with bills by watching live broadcasts or by checking the House composite and Senate composite, both updated daily. See House votes, Senate votes and what’s been signed by Governor Deal.
You can also get regular updates from both chambers by following them on Twitter.
About the Author
Rachel Hart is the User Interface designer for GeorgiaGov. She visually organizes information and writes blogs on a variety of government-related topics.