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SOWK 5701: Social Welfare Policy and Services

Georgia Legislative Process Video

This five minute video gives a good, brief overview of the legislative process in the Georgia General Assembly. The process is similar to that of federal laws.

Georgia General Assembly

The Georgia General Assembly consists of two houses:  a Senate and a House of Representatives elected by districts within the state. Similar to Congress, a senator or representative introduces a proposed change in legislation to their legislative body.  If this occurs before the session begins, it is called a "Prefile."  It is given a number along with a prefix—H.B. (for House bill) or S.B. (for Senate bill). 

Committees

The bill is sent to the appropriate committee for study.  The committee studies the bill and convenes hearings if necessary.  All bills introduced at a session must be assigned to a standing committee and receive a favorable report from that committee before being considered on the floor by the full voting body of the House or Senate.

Amending Bills

During the legislative process, changes can be made to the bill in committee and on the floor in the form of amendments.  One house of the General Assembly votes on the final version of the bill. If a majority vote yes, then the bill is sent to the other house, and the process starts all over again.  

Passing Bills

In order for the bill to pass, an identical bill must be approved by each house of the General Assembly.  If changes are made by the next house, then the bill has to go back to originating legislature to be voted upon again.  If the two houses can not agree on the changes, a committee from both houses is set up to hammer out a compromise.

Governor Signs, Vetoes, or Does Nothing

The last stage in the process is consideration by the governor.  The governor has forty days to decide whether to sign the bill into law, veto the bill (in which event it is returned to the house where it was introduced for veto override consideration), or do nothing (which allows the bill to become law automatically at the end of the forty-day period).

Futher information:

Tracking Legislation in the General Assembly

More information about the process from NGE