The 2024 Georgia legislative session ends Thursday, March 28, 2024, known as Sine Die Day. 

Ahead of Sine Die, many lawmakers in the state House of Representatives and Senate are trying to get their bills passed so they can be signed into law by the governor. Otherwise, the bills "die."

Often, in the legislature, bills that have died are added as amendments to those that still have a chance of passing. Sometimes these last-minute add-ons, often unrelated to the original intent of the bill, turn the pieces of legislation into a mixed bag of amendments, some of which become legislative monstrosities for their size and complexities.

The joke among some lawmakers is that a dying or dead bill trying to be revived through the addition of these sundry parts is known as a 'Frankenbill,' a nickname derived from the story of Frankenstein, English writer Mary Shelley's 1818 horror novel about a scientist who tried to bring a humanoid being to life using animal organs.

Frankenbills are sometimes called “Christmas Tree” bills as well, because of the number of bills “hung’ on them like ornaments.

A Frankenbill is born

Bills usually become Frankenbills once they pass in the chamber where they originated in a vote. A bill presented by a representative gets a vote on the House floor, and vice versa for bills presented by a senator on the Senate floor. Once a bill passes either the House or Senate, it is sent to the other house to be read and assigned to a committee.

At that point, the other chamber, or legislative body, can do anything it wants with the bill, including adding amendments or drastically changing it. A bill that undergoes drastic changes becomes a Frankenbill.

When the other chamber applies amendments or changes to a bill and then passes it, it must return to the original chamber floor for a vote as a substitute. The floor can vote yes or no to accept the bill with its changes.

For example, if a bill goes through the Senate and the House changes it, the Senate must approve the House’s substitute.

Frankenbills in the legislature tend to pick up after Crossover Day, which marks the day “after a bill passes the house where it originates, it must then go to the other chamber for another vote,” according to the State of Georgia website.

Another way to say this is: For a bill to have a chance to become law it must pass one of the chambers by the end of Crossover Day.

Notable 2024 Session Frankenbills

The prominent Frankenbills in the 2023-2024 legislative session address several topics and issues, including transgender students in sports, parental involvement in libraries, sex education, and more.


House Bill 1104

The Quality Basic Education Act would have addressed mental health risks for Georgia student-athletes. But it has recently sparked a lot of attention in the session after being taken over by several dead bills focusing on transgender students' access to bathrooms, sex education, and parental guidance over libraries.

  • Senate Bill 532: This bill added to HB 1104 prohibits students from learning sex education in public schools before sixth grade, and parents and guardians must provide consent to do so. The curriculum for sex education must be available for parents and guardians of students to view online and in-person and have the local school systems approval based on the State Board of Education’s standards.

  • Senate Bill 365: Under this bill schools will notify parents and guardians of public-school students via email every time their kids check out material from the library. Parents can opt-in to automatically receive notifications containing the title, author, genre, and return date of the library material as applicable.

  • Senate Bill 438: The last addition to HB 1104 authorizes Georgia Public Schools to guarantee that there are “separate teams for members of each gender where selection for such teams is based upon competitive fairness or student safety,” per the bill. The bill limits transgender students’ ability to participate in school sports. The bill explains that schools can stop a person of one gender from participating in athletics designated for persons of the opposite gender. Another provision of the bill prohibits one gender from using multiple-occupancy restrooms or changing areas designated for the other gender.


House Bill 1170

HB 1170 originally required certain state government buildings, courthouses, and university buildings to maintain and make opioid antagonists accessible with the help of the Department of Public Health. This would develop a model policy for training people on emergency opioid antagonist administration.

Per the original text, “all qualified government buildings, courthouses, and university buildings shall maintain a supply of at least three-unit doses of opioid antagonists and ensure that such supply of opioid antagonists is available and accessible during regular business hours and outside regular business hours for all government, educational, and student-sponsored events….”

A significant change to this bill is that it would prohibit the prescribing of certain hormone therapies and puberty-blocking medications to minors.

The bill states that sex reassignment surgeries and hormone therapies prescribed to alter sex characteristics are not to be performed or prescribed to a minor. It also reads that a licensed physician who chooses to do so is to “be held administratively accountable to the board for such violation.”


House Bill 301

The original purpose of HB 301 revised the amount of penalty violations for improperly passing a school bus or speeding in school zones when captured by cameras.

The current version of the bill requires that counties, public corporations, and other governmental entities “provide procedures for residents to seek declaratory judgments when a local governing body has violated the prohibition on immigration sanctuary policies.”

The change to the bill will strengthen the enforcement of Georgia’s current law against sanctuary cities by removing sovereign immunity and ceasing state funding for local governments participating in sanctuary policies. The updated legislation comes after the death of nursing student Laken Riley on the University of Georgia campus in Athens-Clarke County.


Senate Bill 464

SB 464 created the School Supplies for Teachers Program, requiring the State Board of Education to establish a program for the Department of Education to allocate funds for teachers to purchase school supplies online.

An updated bill version revises the Georgia Early Literacy Act to address universal reading screeners. These assessments measure students' reading skills and identify those at risk of learning difficulties. The bill would provide a free universal reading screener to public schools and local school systems. A list of up to five universal reading screeners would be drafted, with one free for public school use.


How a Frankenbill becomes law

On Tuesday, March 26, 2024, the Senate passed House Bill 1104 by a substitute in a 33-21 vote along party lines. The bill will return to the House, which can either approve or deny the Senate's substitutes. If approved by the House, HB 1104 will head to Gov. Brian Kemp's desk for a chance to be signed into law.

Which bills from the list above will pass before Sine Die?

Stay tuned to this developing story.