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Georgia Constitution

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Georgia Constitution
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The Georgia Constitution, which was ratified in 1983, is the governing document of Georgia. It is the second newest state constitution in the United States, following Rhode Island. It has 11 sections, and unlike most state constitutions, it is further subdivided into paragraphs.

The state of Georgia has had 10 state constitutions

  1. Constitution of 1777 [1]
  2. Constitution of 1789
    • Brought in-line with the US Constitution
  3. Constitution of 1798
  4. Constitution of 1861
    • Added a Bill of Rights
  5. Constitution of 1865
    • Prohibition of Slavery
  6. Constitution of 1868
    • Establishment of free public education
  7. Constitution of 1877 (text)
  8. Constitution of 1945
    • Addition of a lieutenant governor
  9. Constitution of 1976
  10. Constitution of 1983 (text)
    • The largest re-write since 1877. Amendments in 1992 and 2004 allowed for the creation of the lottery (Art I, Sec II, Par VIII) and banned recognition of same-sex marriage (Art I, Sec IV, Par I) respectively.
Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1 (2004)


See also: Preambles to state constitutions

The preamble to the constitution says:

To perpetuate the principles of free government, insure justice to all, preserve peace, promote the interest and happiness of the citizen and of the family, and transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty, we the people of Georgia, relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution.


The Georgia Constitution is divide into 11 articles.

  • Article I is the Bill of Rights for the citizens of Georgia.
  • Article II concerns voting and elections.
  • Article III establishes and defines the legislative branch of government.
  • Article IV deals with constitutional boards as well as commissions.
  • Article V establishes the executive branch and details the responsibilities of the governor.
  • Article VI establishes the court system in the judicial branch of government.
  • Article VII concerns taxation and state finance.
  • Article VIII establishes the education system for the State of Georgia.
  • Article IX is entitled Counties and Municipal Corporations.
  • Article X frames the process for amending the State Constitution.
  • Article XI deals with other miscellaneous provisions of the government.

Amending the constitution

Main article: Amending state constitutions

Article X of the Georgia Constitution establishes two ways in which the constitution can be altered, revised or amended over time, either via legislatively-referred constitutional amendments or constitutional conventions.

Some noteworthy features of Article X:

  • It contains a prohibition found in very few state constitutions in that it explicitly restricts the type of amendment that can be offered by saying, "Only amendments which are of general and uniform applicability throughout the state shall be proposed, passed, or submitted to the people."
  • The governor is also explicitly forbidden from vetoing acts of the legislature to propose amendments or call conventions.
  • Newly approved amendments or revisions are effective on the first day of January following their approval.
  • The state legislature can vote to put an entire new constitution on a statewide ballot, rather than just an amendment.
  • Unlike in many other states that allow for constitutional conventions, the legislature can unilaterally call for a convention without submitting that proposal to a vote of the people.

Rules for proposed amendments offered by the Georgia General Assembly include:

  • An amendment can be proposed starting in either chamber of the assembly, i.e., the House of Representatives or the Senate.
  • A proposed amendment must be approved by 2/3rds of the membership of each chamber before going to the state's voters.
  • Proposed amendments are to be voted on during general elections of even-numbered years.
  • Article X establishes a Georgia Constitutional Amendments Publication Board which is charged with ensuring that the state's voters have adequate notification that an election is to occur on a proposed amendment(s).
  • The General Assembly can put a measure on the ballot that is either an amendment to the existing constitution, or an entirely new constitution.
  • The General Assembly is allowed to repeal a previous vote to put a proposed amendment on the ballot if they do so with a 2/3rds vote of both chambers and at least two months before the election would have occurred.

Rules for a constitutional convention include:

  • Unlike in many other states, the state legislature can unilaterally call for a convention as long as 2/3rds of the members of each chamber vote in favor of doing that; the people of the state do not have to be further consulted.
  • Any proposed amendments or revisions arising out of a convention must be put to the state's voters.

External links