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  • The Legislative Process

    Highlighting the various roles in Georgia’s General Assembly, The Legislative Process details what steps are taken to create a new law. 

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. Why do you think a majority vote is needed in both houses to pass a bill?

    2. Explain what happens when a bill is sent to the governor. 
     

    Expansion

    1. Divide the class into two groups, with one group representing the House and Representatives and the other representing the Senate. As the teacher, introduce a new bill of your choosing (suggestions include a new school dress code, lunch menu, or grading system). Present your version of the bill to each group. Then instruct them to make changes to the bill that would likely please the entire school. Once both bills are identical, send the bill to another teacher who will represent the governor. The “governor” should determine the next action taken for the bill. If the bill is vetoed, each group must then take another vote to either override the veto or kill the bill. 

    2. Invite a local politician to your classroom to discuss the legislative process. The visitor could be a state representative, a city council person, or a U.S. representative. 

    Vocabulary

    legislature: a group of people with the power to make or change laws
    annotated: to add notes or comments to (a text, book, drawing, etc.)
    clerk: a person whose job is to keep track of records and documents for a business or office
    chamber: a group of people who form part of a government
    Lieutenant Governor: an elected official who is an assistant to the governor of a U.S. state
    Speaker of the House: presiding officer of Georgia’s House of Representatives
    standing committee: a permanent committee in the legislature intended to consider all matters pertaining to a designated subject
    General Assembly: a legislative assembly
    amendment: a change in the words or meaning of a law or document (such as a constitution)
    presiding: to be in charge of something (such as a meeting or organization)
    well: the podium at the front of the legislative chamber
    veto: a decision by a person in authority to not allow or approve something (such as a new law)

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Why do you think a majority vote is needed in both houses to pass a bill?
    Elected officials typically vote on bills to appease their constituents, or the people they represent. Requiring a simple majority in both houses would indicate that the bill would be favorable to most people in Georgia.  
     
    2. Explain what happens to a bill when it is sent to the governor. 
    Once a bill has passed a simple majority in the House of Representatives and Senate, it is sent to the governor for approval. He has 40 days to make a decision. The governor has three options: sign the bill into law; veto the bill; or do nothing. If there is no action taken on the bill in the 40-day timeframe, the bill becomes law. If the governor vetoes the bill, it is sent back to the house where it was introduced. Two-thirds of both houses must approve to the bill in order to override the veto. 
     

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