Your Georgia Desk:
Gold Dome Update: Sine Die
Sen. Bill Heath (R–Bremen)
March 20th marked two important milestones in Georgia; the beginning of spring and the final day of 152nd term of the Georgia General Assembly. The legislature was only in session two days this week, but adopted over 93 pieces of legislation between day 39 and day 40.
The two days leading up to day 40, or Sine Die, are traditionally two of the busiest days at the Gold Dome. In what can only be described as chaos, legislators rush feverishly against the clock to pass bills prior to the midnight deadline. At this time, the large wooden doors of the Senate chamber are opened to allow the President of the Senate—the Lt. Governor—and the Speaker of the House to adjourn at exactly the same time.
Sine Die is Latin for “without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing.” In other words, the General Assembly will not meet again to consider legislation until January 2015. Even if a special summer legislative session is called, the meaning remains the same—the General Assembly will not meet for another day in the general legislative session.
In keeping with tradition, the Georgia General Assembly burned through a number of days throughout the first few weeks of session, only passing a handful of bills. On Sine Die however, the Senate debated and passed over 53 bills. This left little time for proper the Senate to properly vett amendments or substitutions that were tacked onto bills during the final hours – and even minutes – of the 2014 Legislative Session. In some cases, a bill that received Senate approval went through conference committee and was completely stripped or attached to another bill. The bill would then head back to the Senate for us to either ‘agree or disagree’ to any of the House’s changes before sending it to the Governor’s desk.
As a conservative Republican who believes in less government, I am always concerned with the impact the rapid pace has on the legislature’s ability to review and analyze bills into their best form. The people of the 31st Senate District elected me to reduce the government’s thumbprint on their daily lives and prevent burdensome regulations from hampering Georgia’s businesses and families.
It is always in the best interests of Georgians for the legislature to act judiciously prior to passing bills into law. It is always better to get it right the first time, rather than have to go back next year and waste taxpayer dollars trying to revise flawed or imperfect legislation.
Having completed the 2014 Session, I look forward to coming home to Haralson County and visiting with families and businesses throughout the 31st Senate District. In the upcoming weeks, I will be providing a more comprehensive update on some of the major bills that passed this session. With so many amendments and last minute changes to bills that passed during the waning hours of session, it is too early to provide an accurate update on these bills. But, I will be working during the next few weeks to help you better understand how legislation passed by the General Assembly this year will affect you.
To access additional information about a particular bill, please visit the Georgia General Assembly website athttp://www.legis.ga.gov.