The Georgia General Assembly is the state legislature of Georgia. The Georgia General Assembly is bicameral, composed of the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate. The Georgia General Assembly began as a unicameral body in 1777 but changed to a bicameral legislature in 1789.
The General Assembly meets in regular session on the second Monday in January for no longer than 40 days each year. Neither the House nor the Senate can adjourn during a regular session for longer than three days or meet in any place other than the state capitol without the other house’s consent.
The Constitution of Georgia stipulates that members of the Senate must be citizens of the United States, at least 25 years old, a citizen of the state of Georgia for at least two years, and a legal resident of the district the senator was elected from for at least one year. Members of the House of Representatives must be citizens of the United States, at least 21 years old, a Georgia citizen for at least two years, and a legal resident of district the representative was elected from for at least one year.
However, persons on active duty with any branch of the armed forces of the United States and persons holding any civil appointment or office having any emolument annexed thereto under the United States, and its states shall not have seats in the either House. Moreover, no Senator or Representative shall be elected by the General Assembly or appointed by the Governor to any office or appointment having any emolument annexed thereto during the time for which such person shall have been elected unless the Senator or Representative shall first resign the seat to which elected; provided, however, that, during the term for which elected, no Senator or Representative shall be appointed to any civil office which has been created during such term.
Members of the Georgia General Assembly maintain two important privileges during their time in office. A member of either house of the Assembly cannot be arrested during sessions of the General Assembly or during committee meetings except in cases of treason, felony, or “breach of the peace”. In addition, members are not liable for anything they might say in either the House or the Senate or in any committee meetings of both.
The Georgia State Senate is the upper house of the Georgia General Assembly. The Constitution of Georgia provides for 56 members. Elections are held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in even-numbered years. The presiding officer of the Senate is the President of the Senate. The highest position in the Senate, after the President of the Senate, a position held by the Lieutenant Governor, is that of President Pro Tempore.
The Georgia House of Representatives is the lower house of the Georgia General Assembly. The House is composed of 180 members. The House of Representatives elects its own Speaker and a Speaker Pro Tempore. The Speaker Pro Tempore becomes Speaker in case of the death, resignation, or permanent disability of the Speaker. The Speaker Pro Tempore serves until a new Speaker is elected.