GA State Gov't Terminology

General Terminology
  • Committee: A committee is tasked with considering and studying a proposed bill. A committee typically solicits expert testimony, relevant information concerning the bill, and comment from all interested parties.
  • Session: The Georgia Constitution requires the GA General Assembly to be in session for no more than 40 legislative days. Each day of the legislative session, the House and the Senate meet to "introduce, discuss, and vote on the issues of the day" with time granted to members to speak on issues of particular importance for their constituents. (source)
  • Hopper: A bill hopper is a piece of furniture used for the receiving of bills
  • First Reader: When a bill’s title is read aloud, on the legislative day after filing. This is the first time a bill is formally introduced.
  • Second Reader
    • In the House on the next legislative day, the House Clerk reads the bill’s title in chamber, indicating that it's now in a committee
    • In the Senate, the 2nd reading before the entire chamber comes after a bill returns from committee if the committee approves the bill to continue onward.
  • Third Reader: A third reading of a bill takes place when the presiding officer calls the bill up from the Rules Calendar and the Clerk or Secretary reads the bill's title. At this point, the bill is ready for "floor debate, amendments, and voting." (source)
  • Sponsor: A person, usually a legislator, who presents a bill or resolution for consideration. 
  • Crossover Day: The last day for a bill to "cross-over" into the other chamber. If a bill does not pass at least one chamber by this day, it is considered dead in the water––at least for the current session. (source)
  • Caucus: A caucus is defined as an informal organization of either or both chambers that meet together to discuss "issues of mutual concern" which can be on basis of ethnicity, ideology, region, etc. (source)
  • Bill: Legislation introduced in Congress. 
  • Resolution: Unlike bills, resolutions may be limited in effect to the Congress or one of its chambers
  • Sine Die: The 40th and final legislative day. Sine Die is the last day for a bill to be passed by both chambers in order for it to be sent to the governor's desk. From there, the governor has 40 days to sign the bill into law, do nothing (which would still go into law) or veto it. (source)
  • Filing: After a bill is drafted, it is then filed with the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate. The bill is officially introduced the legislative day after its filing. (source)
  • Transmission: If the bill is approved by a majority of the voting membership of that body, it is transmitted to the other body.
  • Standing Committee: Standing committees are created by each Senate for the duration of the Senate term (2 years). Unlike regular committees, standing committees have a broader jurisdiction and aim to address issues of continuing importance. Members of standing committees are appointed by the Committee of Assignments and some exceptions, members cannot generally be removed once appointed. (source)
  • General Calendar: determines when a bill will receive a floor vote.
  • Floor Vote: when every member of the body votes on a bill.
  • Rules Calendar: The Rules Calendar is prepared by the Rules Committee from bills from the General Calendar and is used for the next day's floor consideration. (source)

Issue-Related Terminology
  • Gerrymandering: the process of unfairly drawing district boundaries to give one party an advantage.

  • Medicaid: Medicaid is a federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income/resources. Medicaid is managed by states (as opposed to Medicare) and access to it is based on income. 

  • Peachcare: Peachcare for Kids is a State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for kids (18 and younger) who do not qualify for Medicaid and live in households with incomes at or below 235% of the federal poverty level.

  • Welfare: taxpayer-funded programs that provide aid to individuals or groups who cannot support themselves.