Thursday is Sine Die: Do-or-die deadline for bills this Legislative session

Lawmakers hear debate on legislation on the House floor on March 20, 2024. (Credit: Jill Jordan Sieder)

The Gist

This is the last week of the 2024 Georgia General Assembly’s legislative session and Thursday is expected to bring a last push for dozens of bills to cross the finish line by the end of Sine Die (pronounced “sigh-knee-dye”), the 40th and final day of session. 

What's Happening

Some bills that didn’t move last year have resurfaced this session, to be considered along with new legislative priorities of the governor, leadership in the House and Senate, and Democrats and Republicans. 

Tomorrow and Thursday are the last two legislative working days, and the last chance for dozens of bills that leadership and lawmakers want to get passed for their constituents back home. Wednesday lawmakers will be in committee hearings.

This is not only the last week of the 2024 session, but the last week of the two-year term of the 157th Legislature, also called the biennium. Each of the General Assembly’s 236 seats are up for reelection, and all but a handful of legislators who have announced their retirement face primaries this May, and a general election in November. 

Lawmakers are also working hard on the fiscal year 2025 budget, which is the only constitutionally required piece of legislation they must complete each year. Last year the fiscal year 2024 budget was approved just before midnight on Sine Die.

Why It Matters

So far during 38 legislative days spread over the last three months, lawmakers have passed hundreds of bills regarding education, health care, taxes, transportation, law enforcement, the judicial system, social welfare programs and economic and workforce development — bills that will impact Georgia’s 11 million residents in important ways.

Some bills still in contention may determine how future elections are conducted, if sports betting is legalized (and what education programs may benefit from it), and where desperately needed hospitals and health care services are located around the state.

The 2025 budget will fund all state departments, programs and employees from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025. So far the House and Senate have weighed in, and seem ready to approve key elements of the governor’s proposed $36.1 billion budget, which makes significant new investments in public schools, higher education, housing, health care and transportation projects (including funds for roads and bridges across the state) and gives healthy raises to most state employees while cutting income and property taxes.

In the final budget negotiations between the two chambers, some local districts and some programs and services that legislators are fighting for will win or lose funds, in amounts ranging from a few thousand dollars to millions.

What's Next

Committee meetings happening today will produce many of the last bills that have a chance of making it through to the Rules Committees, which decide which bills are sent to the House and Senate floor for debate and voting. Other bills that have already passed through the committee process may be gutted and merged with others — a process nearly always marked by strategic gamesmanship, impassioned speeches and at least a few long and vigorous debates.

The bills passed in both chambers by Thursday’s end (or perhaps the wee hours of Friday) will be sent to the governor to approve or veto. He’ll have 40 days to do so, and any bills he does not address by then will automatically become law.

Have questions or comments? Contact Jill Jordan Sieder on X @journalistajillor at [email protected]

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