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The Life of a Law: Drafting the Idea

May 7, 2015
Stack of Paper

This is the first installment in a series aimed at explaining the process of how a bill becomes a law. For quick reference, see our infographic of the law-making process.

One of the beauties of our American government system is its ability to change. Our founding fathers purposefully created our government to be malleable and to mold itself to current times.

But …

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Whether you’re on the local, county, state or federal level, changing laws and policies requires following a certain process.

For this new series on GeorgiaGov, we’re going to delve a little deeper into the process of creating a law in the state of Georgia. We’ll follow a bill from its conception to its conversion into a law.

The Idea

The first step can start with you. If you stumble upon a problem regarding Georgia government, tell your state legislators. A Georgia State Senator and a Georgia State Representative represent you at the Capitol. They have the ability to speak on your behalf to the rest of the Georgia legislators to solve your problem.

Once you find your legislators and contact them with your idea, then you can work together to find a solution.

Off to the Georgia General Assembly

If the solution you and your legislator devise requires altering or creating a Georgia law, then your legislator can take the idea to Georgia’s version of Congress, called the Georgia General Assembly.

First, your legislator will go to the Office of the Legislative Council. There an attorney will help them draft a bill using correct terminology and formatting.

If your legislator is a Senator, they will then file the bill with the Secretary of Senate. If your legislator is a Representative, they will file the bill with the Clerk of the House.

After a bill is filed, we wait until the legislative session starts on the second Monday of January every year.

There our story will continue — with the Georgia State Legislative Session.

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Last updated April 27, 2017.

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.

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