On October 26, Governor Brian Kemp called for a special session of the Georgia General Assembly to convene on Wednesday, November 29. Unlike traditional sessions, where members can introduce legislation on any topic and members typically meet for a set number of days, special sessions are typically much shorter, members pass significantly fewer bills, and are limited to the subject matter provided by the Governor’s proclamation.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding special session:
How long is a special session?
Regular sessions of the Georgia General Assembly are limited to 40 non-consecutive days in total every year, special sessions can only meet for a maximum period of 40 days. Special sessions typically meet for a much shorter time. For example: the special session in 2021 lasted 15 legislative days; the special session in 2019 lasted 5 legislative days; and the special session in 2011 lasted for 10 legislative days.
How does a special session differ from a regular session?
Members will only consider legislation that is provided for by the Governor’s proclamation. Legislation that is not related to the proclamation which is passed (and even signed by the Governor) is unconstitutional and void. This year the proclamation limits the consideration of bills to those which relate to (1) electoral maps for congressional, state house and state senate elections; (2) local legislation which taking up before January is necessary and will avoid hardship; (3) ratifying the Governor’s suspension of the collection of sales tax on gasoline; and (4) confirming the Governor’s appointments.
What will be the outcome of this special session?
Looking at the recent special sessions, we can certainly expect at least new maps will be considered and passed as well as ratifying the Governor’s suspension of the gas tax. What has varied the most in recent special sessions is the amount of local legislation passed. In 2011, approximately 50 pieces of local legislation (mostly around local redistricting) were passed while in 2021 only four pieces of local legislation were passed.
The ACLU of Georgia’s legislative team will actively be at the capitol to assist members and the community during the legislative session to ensure fair and just maps. Continue to follow us for more updates and information.