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A First Timer’s Expectations of Crossover Day

February 29, 2016
Legislators speaking in the Georgia House

There was a new-found sense of urgency in the Senate Chamber last week as Senators and House Representatives tried to get all of their legislation in line before Monday, which happens to be Crossover Day. As an aide in the Senate Press Office, this will mark my first time experiencing Crossover Day.   

Crossover Day is the 30th day of the 40 legislative day session in Georgia. It is the last day in which bills originating in the Senate can be passed and transferred to the House for consideration and vice versa. From this point out, the Senate will only take up House bills and the House will only take up Senate bills.

Because this is my first Crossover Day, I’m not exactly sure what to expect. Mentioning Crossover Day has elicited different reactions from every person I’ve talked with. Seasoned veterans of the annual event get a glazed over look in their eyes as the memories of sixteen-hour days reappear in their heads. The deadline evokes restlessness from Senators who are anxious for their bills to be passed out of committee with enough time to be voted on and passed to the House before the deadline. But for newcomers like me who aren’t quite sure what to expect, we’re awaiting Crossover Day with more of a cautious anticipation.

All I know for sure about Crossover Day is that it will be long and exhausting. Out of curiosity, I checked the Senate Rules Calendar for last year’s Crossover Day and I was met with a towering list of 24 Senate Bills. During the 2012 session, over 30 bills were heard on Crossover Day. On a typical day up to this point, we’ve heard and voted on roughly 4 to 5 Senate Bills in chamber (I’ve even considered 5 bills to be a long day!). I can hardly imagine the atmosphere of the Senate Chamber as it works its way through 20 or so pieces of legislation in a single day.

While this sounds more than a little arduous, it also sounds exciting. I’ll get to be a small part of the Senate machine working all day and into the night as legislators vote on and pass important legislation. I’ll get to be a part of the busiest day of the session, scrambling to stay on top of everything going on under the Gold Dome. So far, I have greatly enjoyed my time in Chamber and I see Crossover Day as an opportunity to get a better glimpse of the legislative process when the pressure is on.

I know that by Monday evening I’ll be happy all the work that comes with Crossover Day will be over, but I foresee missing the electric atmosphere in the Chamber as bill after bill is read, debated and voted upon. And while I’m certain that I’ll head home with a new-found appreciation for the slower days in the Senate, I also know that even with Crossover Day finished there will be no reprieve from work until Sine Die.

About the Author

Andrew Allison is an aide in the Senate Press Office. He recently graduated from Georgia State University with degrees in Political Science and Journalism and previously interned with the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

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