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State & Regional Govt & Politics
Your guide to the Georgia General Assembly
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Your guide to the Georgia General Assembly

Your guide to the Georgia General Assembly
Georgia’s Capitol

Your guide to the Georgia General Assembly

Contact legislators

Find yours

Use the secretary of state’s poll locator service to identify your House and Senate districts and who represents you: www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.

Online

The General Assembly’s home page (www.legis.ga.gov) links to House and Senate members by name and district. The directory lists each legislator’s office phone and email. Some legislators also list home addresses and district phone numbers.

In person

Look for lawmakers in the House or Senate chamber or in their offices. You can find your legislators’ phone numbers and office locations on the General Assembly’s website: www.legis.ga.gov.

When the Legislature is in session, volunteer pages (usually schoolchildren) will carry messages to legislators in the chambers.

The public is not allowed on the House or Senate floor while in session.

More legislative coverage

>> Election year fuels potential for fireworks in Georgia Legislature

>> Top issues for Georgia’s General Assembly in 2020

Key players in 2020 legislative session

Legislators often will leave the chamber to meet with voters, especially their constituents. Page desks are directly in front of the main doors leading to both chambers on the third floor of the Capitol.

Top lawmakers’ offices are in the Capitol. The rest are across Mitchell Street (officially known as Capitol Square) in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building. Be prepared to pass through metal detectors in both buildings.

Track bills

Online

Follow the progress of bills on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s exclusive Legislative Navigator and see our prediction of a bill’s chance of passage. You can also explore a wealth of background on lawmakers, including their success at passing bills, top contributors and recent votes. It’s only at legislativenavigator.ajc.com.

Go to www.legis.ga.gov and look for the box in the top-left corner of the website where you can search for legislation. Then enter the bill number (if you know it) and select “HB” if it’s a House bill or “SB” if it’s a Senate bill. This allows you to view the bill in its entirety, track it through committees and see roll call votes. Listings of committee meetings can also be found on the websites of both the House and Senate.

In person

Find copies of bills in the House clerk’s office (Room 309) and the secretary of the Senate’s office (Room 353). Each has a desk where you can request a bill. Committee hearing notices are posted daily on a bulletin board outside both offices, and meeting calendars appear on monitors in the Legislative Office Building. You can also contact by phone. House clerk’s office: 404-656-5015; secretary of the Senate’s office: 404-656-5040.

Heading to the Statehouse

If you plan to visit:

Take MARTA. The Georgia State University station on the east/west line is a short walk from the Capitol. Most people drive, nonetheless, even though parking is limited. Lots generally charge a minimum $5 daily for parking.

Some options: Pete Hackney Parking Deck (162 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive); Steve Polk Parking Plaza (65 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive); 90 Central Parking Lot (accessible from Central Avenue and Courtland Street).

While you’re there

Wheelchair-accessible restrooms are available on the first, third and fourth floors of the Capitol, and other facilities are also on the second floor.

There are vending machines on the first floor, where coffee, sodas and snacks are available; Cafe 244 (244 Washington St. SW) serves breakfast daily until 10 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A food court on the bottom floor of the Sloppy Floyd Building keeps similar hours and features more options.

Dozens of monuments dot the Capitol grounds and the building’s interior. Descriptions of many works of art and monuments can be found here: georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/monument.htm.

Liberty Plaza, the public gathering space across Capitol Avenue from the Gold Dome, is a great place to eat lunch on nice days or watch protests and rallies that occur regularly during a session. The plaza features an outdoor amphitheater and several statues, including replicas of the Liberty Bell and Statue of Liberty.

Follow the money

Go to ethics.ga.gov, the website for the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (formerly the State Ethics Commission), to see campaign finance disclosures, lobbyist disclosure reports and lawmakers’ personal finance disclosures.

Lobbyists are required to file disclosures twice a month during the session. You can also request hard copies at the commission’s offices in the Sloppy Floyd Building. Call 404-463-1980 for information.

Speak at the hearings

The real work on bills is done in committees and subcommittees, and that’s the place to weigh in. Contact committee members by phone, mail or email to make your voice heard. Speaking in person before a committee, though, is one of the most effective ways to reach legislators. The experience can be a little daunting, but legislators often appreciate hearing from taxpayers. Most committees have a sign-up sheet for speakers. Try to keep your remarks short and to the point.

Watch the action

Online

Live video feeds are available online. Go to www.legis.ga.gov and look for the links under “Live Broadcasts” on the left. Many committee meetings of both chambers are streamed online. Look for the links at www.house.ga.gov/mediaServices/en-US/VideoBroadcasts.aspx and www.senate.ga.gov/spo/en-US/videobroadcasts.aspx. Only meetings of full committees — not subcommittees — stream live online.

In person

Business begins at 10 a.m. most days in the House and Senate chambers, but legislators often arrive before that. If you want to catch a legislator before the day’s session, try waiting at the velvet ropes outside the chamber. Each chamber also has a gallery on the fourth floor of the Capitol. The hallways on the third floor have monitors that carry live feeds from the House and Senate. You will have to jockey with the lobbyists crowding the hallways for a good spot.

Complete coverage

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will again have Georgia’s largest team covering the Legislature. No one will have more expertise on issues that matter to taxpayers when legislators return.

Go online to AJC Georgia Politics to find in-depth reporting on the Georgia General Assembly, elections, state government, health care, immigration and more, along with opinion columns from all sides. You can also sign up to receive The Morning Jolt, the AJC’s daily email newsletter on politics.

Get complete daily coverage during the legislative session at www.ajc.com/news/georgia-government/. Follow us on Twitter via @AJCGaPolitics and on Facebook at AJC Georgia Politics.

Read More

News

  • On the eve of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, the president’s legal team said Monday called the case “flimsy” and a “dangerous perversion of the Constitution,” according to The Associated Press. The brief, which was filed Monday in anticipation of arguments expected this week in the Senate impeachment trial, dismisses the case as a “brazenly political act” by the House of Representatives, The New York Times reported. The legal team also claims in its brief that the “rigged process” should be rejected by the Senate, the newspaper reported. The brief further states that neither of the two articles of impeachment against Trump are valid because they do not state a violation of the law, the Times reported. The 110-page brief from the White House asserts the case was never about finding the truth, the AP reported. 'Instead, House Democrats were determined from the outset to find some way — any way — to corrupt the extraordinary power of impeachment for use as a political tool to overturn the result of the 2016 election and to interfere in the 2020 election,” Trump’s legal team wrote, according to the AP. “All of that is a dangerous perversion of the Constitution that the Senate should swiftly and roundly condemn.” Proceedings in the impeachment trial are scheduled to begin Tuesday.
  • You might know him as Khal Drogo. Others see him as Aquaman. Regardless, actor Jason Momoa brought plenty of smiles to patients and families at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Hospital officials said Momoa visited the facility while taking a break filming his Netflix feature in Pittsburgh, WPXI reported. The hospital posted photos on social media of the actor visiting patients at the facility. The Netflix movie, “Sweet Girl,” will begin filming in the fall. Momoa is producing it.
  • That was sew nice. A stray cat in Wisconsin lost her ears to an infection, but now she has some new ones after a woman crocheted her some new ones, WTMJ reported. The cat, named Lady in a Fur Coat, had to have her ear flaps removed according to the Dane County Humane Society. The feline was bought into the Humane Society in December and began treatment for chronic ear infections, spokeswoman Marissa DeGroot told CNN. The cat’s appearance was a little unsettling, so Ash Collins, who works at the Humane Society, decided to crochet Lady an ear bonnet, CNN reported. It took some gentle persuasion and treats, but the cat finally was fitted into her new purple ears. “It’s amazing because we see these strays and medical cases come in and I think we’re always surprised by their resiliency,” DeGroot told CNN. Less than 24 hours after the Humane Society posted the cat’s story on Facebook, Lady was adopted.
  • A New Hampshire man died Sunday night when his snowmobile fell through the ice on the largest lake in Maine, authorities said. Steven K. Allard, 56, of South Hampton, was returning from snowmobiling with his wife on Moosehead Lake when his vehicle broke through the ice on the west side of the lake, the Bangor Daily News reported. Allard’s snowmobile fell into the ice near the mouth of the Moose River, according to Mark Latti, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Allard was pulled from the lake at 10:15 p.m. but he was unresponsive, Latti told the Daily News. Allard was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Latti said. “Snowmobilers need to stay aware of their surroundings and understand that ice conditions can change quickly,” Sgt. Bill Chandler, of the Maine Warden Service, told the Daily News. “This section of the lake, where the Moose River flows into Moosehead Lake, always has poor ice, and that is why there are marked trails on the lake so that snowmobilers can avoid the bad ice in this area.”
  • A woman was shot Friday night after an argument at an Applebee’s restaurant in South Carolina, authorities said. Joseph Raekwon Rapp, 23, of Greenwood, was charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, The State newspaper of Columbia reported. The woman, whose name and condition were not disclosed, was shot twice in the upper body, according to Greenville police. She was taken to an area hospital for surgery, WHNS reported. According to a news release, Rapp and the woman were arguing in the crowded restaurant around 9:21 p.m., WSPA reported. Greenwood police Maj. T.J. Chaudoin said the relationship between the two was not immediately clear, but describe the incident as a domestic situation, the Index-Journal of Greenwood reported. “Obviously there were a lot of people eating here tonight who were very startled,” Chaudoin told the newspaper. Rapp fled the restaurant but later turned himself in at the Greenwood County Detention Center, the newspaper reported. According to the public index, Rapp was out on bond while awaiting trial, the Index-Journal reported.
  • Police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, said a woman and a 1-month-old baby are safe after a man broke into a home and forced them into a car at gunpoint, according to WTVD. The man is in custody, according to police. The home invasion and kidnapping happened Monday at 1:12 a.m. Update 12:32 p.m. EST Jan 20: According to police, Wani Thomas broke into the home early Monday and forced Jasmine Livermore and the baby boy, Nathaniel Thomas, into a vehicle, WSOC-TV reported. Authorities said Livermore and the child were found safe around 8 a.m., the television station reported. In a Facebook post, Fayetteville police said Wani Thomas was in custody and would be processed at the Cumberland County Detention Center. Original report: Police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, said a man broke into a home and forced a woman and a 1-month-old boy into a car at gunpoint, according to WTVD. The home invasion and kidnapping happened Monday at 1:12 a.m. Wani Thomas broke into a home on Tangerine Drive and forced Jasmine Livermore and the baby boy, Nathaniel Thomas, into a vehicle, police said. Authorities are currently searching for all three. Thomas is considered armed and dangerous and last seen wearing a brown jacket with blue jeans. Livermore, 20, was last seen wearing gray pants, a brown shirt and a camouflage jacket. Anyone with information should call Fayetteville police at (910) 676-2597 or Cumberland County Crimestoppers at (910) 483-8477.