What is a Georgia House of Representative?
The Georgia House of Representatives is the lower house of the Georgia General Assembly (the state legislature) of the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the state constitution of 1983, this body is to comprise no fewer than 180 members elected for two-year terms. Current state law provides for 180 members. Elections are held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in even-numbered years.
Tracking a Bill Through The General Assembly
Legislator sees need for a new law or changes in existing law and decides to introduce a bill.
Legislator goes to Office of Legislative Counsel. There, attorney advises legislator on legal issues and drafts bill.
INTRODUCTION AND FIRST READING
Legislator files bill with the Clerk of the House or Secretary of the Senate. On legislative day after filing, bill is formally introduced. In chamber, bill’s title is read during period of first readings. Immediately after first reading, presiding officer assigns bill to a standing committee.
In the House only, on next legislative day, Clerk reads bill’s title (second reading) in chamber, although actual bill is now in committee. In Senate, second reading comes after bill is reported favorably from committee.
Bill considered by committee. Author and other legislators may testify. If controversial, public hearings may be held. Final Committee action reported in a written report. Committee options are:
- Recommend Bill or Resolution Do Pass;
- Recommend Do NOT Pass;
- Recommend Do Pass with changes (amendments or substitutes);
- Hold Bill.
THIRD READING AND PASSAGE
Clerk or Secretary prepares a General Calendar of bills favorably reported from committee.
- Legislation which was second read the day before is placed on a calendar in numeric order for floor action prior to the the Rules Committee meeting to choose bills for consideration.
- After a certain point, set by rule, the Rules Committee meets and prepares a Rules Calendar for the next day’s floor consideration from bills on General Calendar.
- The presiding officer calls up bills from the Rules Calendar for floor action in order as they appear on this calendar.
Once presiding officer calls bill up from Rules Calendar, Clerk or Secretary reads bill’s title (third reading). Bill is now ready for floor debate, amendments, and voting. After debate, main question is called and members vote. if bill is approved by majority of total membership of that house , it is sent to the other house.
TRANSMITTAL TO OTHER CHAMBER
Bill is passed if:
- If second chamber passes bill, it is returned to chamber where bill was introduced.
- If first chamber rejects changes and second chamber insists, a conference committee may be appointed. Committee report is accepted by both chambers.
Bill is enrolled and sent to the Governor (if requested). Otherwise, all enrolled bills sent to Governor following adjournment sine die.
Governor may sign bill or do nothing, and bill becomes law. Governor may veto bill, which requires two-thirds of members of each house to override.
Act and other laws enacted at the session are printed in the Georgia Laws series. Also, act is incorporated into the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. Act becomes effective the following July 1, unless a different effective date is provided in act.
Agriculture and Consumer Affairs – The House Agricultural and Consumer Affairs Committee hears legislation that impacts Georgia’s largest economic industry, Agriculture. Other areas of concern are human nutrition, consumer consumption of food and its safety aspects, and plant industry.
Judiciary – The House Judiciary Committee considers a wide varierty of measures relating to law, courts and judges, and constitutional amendments. Any legislation that carries a possibility for civil penalties can be referred to the Judiciary Committee.
Appropriations – The main focus of the committee is the writing of the state’s amended and general fiscal year budgets for Georgia’s state agencies and departments. The committee also hears legislation that has considerable impact on the state revenue or expenditures.
Judiciary – Non-Civil – The House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee has jurisdiction over Georgia’s criminal code and procedure, drug enforcement, sentencing, parole and pardons, and immigration. Any legislation that carries a possibility for criminal penalties can be referred to the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.
Banks and Banking – The committee has jurisdiction of financial institutions, real property finance, and corporate securities law.
Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment – The committee is responsible for drawing the boundaries of Georgia’s State House, State Senate and U.S. House districts, based on population data from the latest decennial U.S. Census.
Children and Youth – The committee is responsible for legislation regarding the safety regulations and social services for the children of Georgia.
MARTOC – MARTOC is a statutory committee with oversight of the MARTA budget. As a joint committee with the House and Senate, MARTOC does not handle legislation nor do the members have a vote on the MARTA Board of Directors.
Defense and Veterans Affairs – This committee handles legislation and oversight related to Georgia’s Department of Defense, military personnel, and organizations providing service to military veterans.
Motor Vehicles – This committee deals with issues concerning Driver’s Licenses, Motor Carrier laws, and the Uniform Rules of the Road. It also deals with laws pertaining to motor vehicle tags, their titles, and registration.
Economic Development and Tourism – This committee is responsible for economic development, business, trade, and any proposed measures that will effect the presence of tourism throughout the state.
Natural Resources and Environment – The House Natural Resources and Environment Committee is assigned legislation pertaining to management, quality, and usage of Georgia’s natural resources. Within the full committee, there are two standing subcommittees: Environmental Quality and Resource Management. Legislation is assigned to these subcommittees based on the subject matter of each individual bill or resolution.
Education – This committee is responsible for all aspects of legislation dealing with Pre-K and K-12 education in Georgia.
Public Safety and Homeland Security – This committee handles legislation pertaining to law enforcement and safety issues facing Georgia.
Ethics – This committee is responsible for legislation governing the moral and ethical issues relating to individuals and groups involved in government functions in Georgia. In addition to legislation, they also serve to examine reports of ethics violations of members of the House of Representatives.
Game, Fish, and Parks – The House Game, Fish and Parks Committee hears legislation that impacts Georgia’s wildlife, state parks, and its other natural resources.
Regulated Industries – This committee regulates the way companies and professionals in the alcohol, tobacco, construction, cosmetology, funeral services and other industries conduct business in Georgia and further oversees occupational licensure and certification pertaining to such industries.
Governmental Affairs – This committee oversees legislation concerning the operations and management of state, county, and municipal government. It also has jurisdiction over state election law.
Retirement – This committee oversees both the Teacher’s and State Employee’s Retirement System. TRS administers the fund from which teachers in the state’s public schools, many employees of the University System of Georgia, and certain other designated employees in educational-related work environments receive retirement benefits. ERS administers separate and distinct cost-sharing, multiple employer defined benefit pension plans for various employer agencies of the State of Georgia, as well as defined contribution plans, and a life insurance plan. The Employee’s Retirement System also serves as the State Social Security Administrator for all political subdivisions of the state.
Health and Human Services – This committee is responsible for legislation that affects the conditions of safety regulations and social services for the citizens of Georgia. This Committee also addresses the legal areas surrounding medical professionals as well as medicinal provisions.
Rules – This committee oversees the flow of legislation from passage in committee and making the determination of what bills should be debated and voted on the House floor. Also included in that task is the approval of guests who are invited into the chambers of the House of Representatives to be recognized.
Higher Education – This committee is responsible for legislation influencing the University System of Georgia, universities, colleges, postsecondary education, and student financial aid.
Science and Technology – The Committee is responsible for legislation that promotes the appropriate and safe development and use of science and technological advances in the state.
Human Relations and Aging – This committee is responsible for legislation that concerns the care and needs of Georgia’s aging population.
Industrial Relations – This committee deals with the issues surrounding labor and management relations. It also has jurisdiction on matters dealing with Worker’s Compensation and Georgia’s Worker’s Compensation Board.
State Institutions and Property – This committee oversees the Department of Corrections, which protects and serves the public as a professional organization by effectively managing offenders while helping to provide a safe and secure environment for the citizens of Georgia. In addition the committee oversees the Georgia Building Authority which provides facilities management for state agencies. The committee also has jurisdiction over legislation concerning pardons and paroles.
Information and Audits – This committee confirms the daily journal of the House of Representatives and deals with legislation regarding the Department of Audits.
Insurance – This committee deals with legislation concerning all aspects of Insurance and the Insurance Industry.
Transportation – This committee handles legislation dealing with Georgia’s Department of Transportation and their operations. The committee also deals with legislation regarding Georgia’s roads and infrastructure.
Interstate Cooperation – This committee serves to encourage and assist the legislative, executive, administrative and judicial officials and employees of this State to develop and maintain friendly contact by correspondence, by conference and otherwise with officials and employees of the other states, of the federal government and of local units of government.
Ways and Means – The Committee on Ways and Means is chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives. The Committee derives a large share of its jurisdiction from the state Constitution which declares, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”
Intragovernmental Coordination – The committee is assigned all Local Legislation, or bills that primarily affect only one political subdivision such as a city or a county, processed through the House and is also assigned general legislation affecting a variety of subjects including local governments.