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Legislative Research: Bills and Public Laws: Georgia Bills & Session Laws

Resources for finding and tracking legislative bills and public laws current and historical.

Bills (Georgia General Assembly)

2001-present

Georgia General Assembly - legislation
Includes prefiles, first readers, and bills passed and signed by the governor.  To bring up years prior to the present session first select "First Readers" or "Prefiles" and then select the desired session.  "Composites" provide final daily status of all bills introduced during a session including all actions taken on the bill, starting with the 2007-08 session.  Earlier composite summaries can be found in the Georgia Government Publications database, (House: 1995- ; Senate 1996-) by searching on "composite status".  1991-1994 are in the Main Library (Folio GA L 412 .S1 S781).

Links to video archives of current and recent proceedings of the floor of the Georgia House of Representatives as well as many House committees are available.  Years of coverage varies.  Some previous years may be available upon request to House Media Services staff (for Committee videos) and by contacting GPB (for floor proceedings).       

pre-2001

Georgia Archives, 1842- (many gaps and missing bills until the 1860s)  Researchers visiting the Georgia Archives may request access to bills from the collection: Engrossed Bill (Record Group 37-1-1).  Prior to their visit researchers should know the years and bill numbers.  See Preliminary Descriptive Inventory of what bills are available through 2000.

Clerk of the House, 1997-present
Visitors to the State Capitol may request a copy of a bill from recent sessions from the Clerk of the House.

Journal of the House...Georgia
Journal of the Senate...Georgia
The Journals may contain the text of third readers of selected bills on the date of their reading in the chamber including proposed changes. 
1876- Georgia Government Publications

Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Georgia, 1876-

Journal of the Senate of the State of Georgia, 1876-

It is generally recommended to download the pdf volume(s) you need to your local computer and work with them within Adobe Acrobat Reader rather than using your web browser.  To download a volume, click on the View Document Images button (located within each volume record in the database).  Then, as the system attempts to load the volume in your browser window, click the download icon over in the upper right of the window to bring the file to your local computer. 

Open the downloaded volume in Adobe Acrobat Reader. To search, use the Find command (ctrl f). 

When searching for a specific bill number, be sure to separate the prefix from the number with a space, e.g., SB 250

The search will likely find several instances of the bill number, each corresponding to some action that was taken relative to the bill.  One type of action is a 'reading' of the bill which sometimes includes the full text of the bill itself. 

Using this search method is also how you can find other pertinent dates about the bill (e.g., the date introduced and by whom, the committee it was referred to, if the bill was replaced by a substitute, the date voted on sometimes including a roll call vote).

 1808-1875 (print): Special Collections Library
1810- (print)  University of Georgia Law Library (KFG18 .A25 & A26)

Acts (Session Laws) (Georgia)

Georgia Laws
(other titles: Georgia Session Laws / Acts and resolutions of the General Assembly of the state of Georgia)

1799-present:
HeinOnline (UGA researchers)

1799-1999
Georgia Legislative Documents   

This resource provides access to the unformatted text of each page of each volume contained in the original Acts and Resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia from 1799-1999.  If you know the year of the legislation and the page number where the text of the legislation begins, you can use this resource to find and read the relevant page(s).  For instructions on how to do a search, please view this brief tutorial: bit.ly/GaLegDocHelp. Hint: A piece of legislation might begin anywhere on the starting page. One useful visual cue is the phrase, Approved... (e.g., Approved March 27, 1995) which signals the end of one piece of legislation and the point right before the start of the next piece of legislation (hopefully the one you are seeking).

Note: If you are not a UGA researcher and you require the original page formatting, you will need to work with the print set such as UGA Libraries' set listed below either in person or through an intermediary such as the Map and Government Information Library or your InterLibrary Loan Department. If you are a UGA researcher, please use HeinOnline listed above.

1876-present print volumes:
  Map and Government Information Library (GA L 407 ). Pre-1876 volumes are in the Special Collections Library.

2000-present:
Georgia Government Publications Acts and Resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia

  1. Enter the database using the link above.
  2. Under Refine, open the Collection Name filter and select Georgia Legislative Documents.  
  3. Use the date filter to find just the volumes for the needed year (session).  Optional: scroll through multiple screen(s). There are usually about 4 volumes of Acts and Resolutions of the General Assembly for each session. You may also see one or more volumes of the Journal of the House (or Senate) for that session.
  4. How to know which volume to work with? The citation to a Georgia public law includes the starting page number. This refers to the page numbers within the volumes of the session.  The sequence is continuous across all volumes for that session.  Page numbers are included throughout the Text view of each volume on otherwise empty rows between paragraphs of text. Once you open a volume, click the Text view and scroll down a little way until you see the first page number of that volume.  This will give you a sense of whether your public law is likely to be in that volume (each volume of public laws can contain approximately 1,000 pages). 
  5. Once you are in the right volume and have clicked the Text view, you can either just scroll down the text until you find the correct page number where the public law starts, or, you can press crtl+f and search for the page number.  The text of your public law begins somewhere on that page and runs on until the next public law begins. 

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John Prechtel
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prechtel@uga.edu
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