For your state lawmakers, a new year brings motivation and a fresh perspective on the needs of Georgians. Monday, Jan. 9 marks the beginning of the first session of the 154th Georgia General Assembly, and your legislators have been preparing for months by researching potential topics and issues. There will be precisely 40 days to present, discuss and vote on legislation to be considered for signing by Gov. Nathan Deal in 2017. There are a number of potential issues that have caught my interest, and I look forward to using my knowledge and experience to make the best decisions for Senate District 17.
The process of turning an idea into a law can be a long journey, but it all begins with an idea. The idea can stem from many different sources; citizens like you, special interest groups, nonprofits, etc. The idea is then presented to legislators like me, who have the opportunity to take that idea and work with Legislative Council to turn it into a bill. Once a bill has been drafted, it is taken to the Secretary of Senate’s office to be filed and assigned a bill number.
During the session, when a bill has been filed and assigned a number it then goes to the Senate to be read for the first time the next legislative day. The bill is then assigned to a Senate Committee based on its subject matter. For example, a bill having to do with healthcare would be assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, where it would go through further vetting by committee members. After hearing testimony on the bill, the committee places a vote to recommend the bill “do pass” or “do not pass.”
If legislation passes through the Senate committee process, it is then available to be placed on the calendar for a full Senate vote. Once a bill that originates in the Senate is approved by the Senate, it crosses over to the House for their consideration. Similarly, House bills that have passed committee and floor votes in the House cross over to the Senate. Legislation that crosses over on or before legislative day 30 is able to receive final passage if both chambers can agree on identical language for the bill on or before legislative day 40, at which point it will go to Gov. Deal for consideration.
This year promises to be a session full of legislation designed to improve the lives of all Georgians. I am looking forward to working with my Senate colleagues to draft, vet and vote on legislation that will secure our state’s position as a great place to live, work and play. I am thankful to represent you and Senate District 17 under the Gold Dome for another year.
Sen. Rick Jeffares serves as Chairman of the Regulates Industries Committee. He represents the 17th Senate District which includes portions of Henry, Rockdale and Newton counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.463.1376 or by email at email@example.com.