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Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 12:00pm

Day 30 Arrives At Gold Dome

State lawmakers embark on a marathon session of legislating Thursday. They’ll be marking Day 30 of the legislative session. That’s the day that a bill must have passed one or the other chamber to have a chance at final passage this year.

On Day 30 of the 40-day session, lawmakers start work around 10 a.m. and often don’t leave the Capitol until midnight.

Legislators in each chamber will try to pass their bills so that the members in the other chamber can debate them during the session’s final 10 days.

Rep. Carolyn Hughley is a Columbus Democrat. She says she puts on her game face for Day 30.

“I try to wear my comfortable clothes and be prepared for a very long day because we’re going to have so many bills that come across that day," she said. "We had 29 bills yesterday and we will probably have upwards of 50 bills on that day.”

But some Capitol insiders say the pace of debate on Day 30 might be slower this year.

Sen. Jeff Mullis is a Chickamauga Republican.

“Well, the session days are flying by but the bill load is really low this year. Not sure why but I think always with government, less is best, but I think it will be a shorter day,” he said.

The state legislature meets for 40 days each year. In the final ten days of the session, Senators debate bills drafted by representatives from the House, and vice versa.

Some of the session's top bills won't come up. For example, Gov. Nathan Deal has already signed a bill into law that extends the Medicaid provider fee.