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Georgia Legislature

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The Georgia Legislature

The Georgia General Assembly convenes the second Monday in January and as mandated by the constitution cannot exceed 40 Legislative Days. Also, by the constitution, the General Assembly is only mandated to pass a budget and may create other laws at their digression. The General Assembly serves for two years, and legislation is viable until the end the second year.

Legislative Day 28, also know as Crossover Day, is a specific day in the legislative calendar. A bill must 'crossover' to the other chamber on or before the 30th day, or it may not be considered by that chamber during the remainder of the legislative session.

Check out: How a bill is passed in the Georgia Legislature and Georgia budget cycle.

Can I lobby as a citizen?

ABSOLUTELY! There is nothing more powerful to a legislator than a constituent who takes the time to make a personal visit to discuss concerns or offer support for a piece of legislation or issue. There are many citizen lobby trainings and special days at the Capitol held throughout the year to encourage citizen involvement.

There are ethics guidelines that you need to be aware of although most do not apply to citizen lobbyists.

Make sure to contact your legislator ahead of time to schedule a time and bring along a younger member of your family or friend to share the experience.

Does my opinion really matter?

YES. Not only are legislators looking to their constituents to get a temperature check on specific issues, they are looking to develop relationships with the people they represent. Even if you're opinions differ, they need to know where you stand.

Many media sources and research groups pull statistics of phone calls and emails to representatives when trying to determine public support for a specific bill. Simply logging a quick phone call or email to say "yes, I support this" or "no, I don't" goes a long way.

Above all, it's important to remember that legislators work for their constituents. The majority are well-meaning public servants who want to improve the quality of life for residents in their districts and work a full-time job on top of their service as a legislator. They don't know where their district stands on an issue unless they hear from the people they represent!