Georgia State Senate

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Georgia State Senate

Georgia State Senate Seal.jpg
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 14, 2013
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Casey Cagle (R)
Majority Leader:   Ronnie Chance (R)
Minority Leader:   Steve Henson (D)
Members:  56
   Democratic Party (18)
Republican Party (38)
Length of term:   2 years
Authority:   Art III, Section 4, Georgia Constitution
Salary:   $17,342/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012 (56 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014 (56 seats)
Redistricting:  Georgia Legislature has control
Meeting place:
Georgia State Senate Chamber.jpg
The Georgia State Senate is the upper house of the Georgia General Assembly, which is the state legislature of Georgia.

The senate includes 56 state senators, each representing an average of 172,994 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 157,437 residents.[2] The Lieutenant Governor serves as President of the Georgia State Senate and is granted the right to vote in the event the Senate is tied on a vote. In accordance with Paragraph 5, Section II, Article III of the Georgia Constitution, Georgia state senators serve two-year terms without term limits.

The Georgia Senate convenes on the second Monday of January each year and by law can meet for no longer than 40 legislative days.

As of May 2013, Georgia is one of 24 Republican state government trifectas.


Section 4 of Article III of the Georgia Constitution establishes when the Georgia General Assembly, which the Senate is a part of, is to meet in regular session. The General Assembly must convene annually by the second Monday in January, and its sessions can last for only forty legislative days.[3] Prefiling begins November 15 and runs until the start of the session.


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 14 through April 18 (estimated).

Major issues

The one major issue the legislature has to address is passing a budget in the face of an estimated $700 million deficit. Other major issues include ethics reform, gun control, school vouchers, teacher evaluations, and a proposed new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons.[4]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in regular session from January 9 through March 29.


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Senate was in regular session from January 10 through April 14. [5] Governor Nathan Deal called the legislature into special session for August 15 to consider congressional and legislative redistricting plans based on the 2010 census. [6]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 11th to April 29th.



See also: Georgia State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Georgia State Senate were held in Georgia on November 6, 2012. A total of 56 seats were up for election. The signature filing deadling was June 29, 2012.

This chamber was mentioned in a November 2012 Pew Center on the States article that addressed supermajorities at stake in the 2012 election. Supermajority generally means a party controls two-thirds of all seats. While it varies from state to state, being in this position gives a party much greater power. Going into the election, Republicans in the Georgia Senate held a solid majority and looked to obtain a supermajority.[7]

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Georgia State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Georgia State Senator were held in Georgia on November 2, 2010.

The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was June 21, 2010, and the primary election day was July 20, 2010.

The partisan breakdown of the Senate before and after the election was as follows:

Georgia State Senate
Party As of November 1, 2010 After the 2010 Election
     Democratic Party 22 20
     Republican Party 34 36
Total 56 56

In 2010, the total amount of contributions raised in senate campaigns was $8,052,144. The top 10 donors were: [8]


According to the Georgia Constitution, Georgia Senators must be at least 25 years old, American citizens, Georgia citizens for at least two years and a resident of his or her Senatorial District for at least one year immediately preceding election.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

If there is a vacancy in the Senate, the vacant seat must be filled by a special election. The Governor must declare a special election no later than 10 days after the vacancy happened. The election must be held no less than 30 days and no later than 60 days after the Governor calls for the election. The counties representing the vacant district are responsible for conducting the election[9].


The task of redistricting falls on the General Assembly; in the Senate, it is the responsibility of the Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee. Maps must be pre-cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice per the Voting Rights Act.

2010 census

The state's population grew 18.3 percent to over 9.7 million residents. While the maps moved through the Assembly without major disruption, Democrats complained that the maps were designed to get rid of white Democratic legislators through the creation of seven Voting Rights Act districts. On August 23, 2011, each chamber approved the other's plan, and Governor Nathan Deal signed the maps into law the next day. The DoJ pre-cleared the maps on December 23, 2011.



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Georgia legislature are paid $17,342/year plus $173/day for per diem when in session.[10]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Georgia legislators assume office the second Monday in January.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 18
     Republican Party 38
Total 56


The Lieutenant Governor serves as President of the Senate.[11]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Georgia State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Casey Cagle Ends.png Republican
President Pro Tempore of the Senate David Shafer Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Leader Ronnie Chance Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Caucus Chair Butch Miller Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Cecil Staton Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Caucus Chair Horacena Tate Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Vincent Fort Electiondot.png Democratic

List of current members

Georgia District Map
District Representative Party
1 Buddy Carter Ends.png Republican
2 Lester Jackson Electiondot.png Democratic
3 William Ligon Ends.png Republican
4 Jack Hill Ends.png Republican
5 Curt Thompson Electiondot.png Democratic
6 Hunter Hill Ends.png Republican
7 Tyler Harper Ends.png Republican
8 Tim Golden Ends.png Republican
9 Don Balfour Ends.png Republican
10 Emanuel Jones Electiondot.png Democratic
11 Dean Burke Ends.png Republican
12 Freddie Sims Electiondot.png Democratic
13 John Crosby Ends.png Republican
14 Barry Loudermilk Ends.png Republican
15 Ed Harbison Electiondot.png Democratic
16 Ronnie Chance Ends.png Republican
17 Rick Jeffares Ends.png Republican
18 Cecil Staton Ends.png Republican
19 Tommie Williams Ends.png Republican
20 Ross Tolleson Ends.png Republican
21 Brandon Beach Ends.png Republican
22 Hardie Davis Electiondot.png Democratic
23 Jesse Stone Ends.png Republican
24 William Jackson Ends.png Republican
25 Burt Jones Ends.png Republican
26 David E. Lucas Electiondot.png Democratic
27 Jack Murphy Ends.png Republican
28 Mike Crane Ends.png Republican
29 Joshua McKoon Ends.png Republican
30 Mike Dugan Ends.png Republican
31 Bill Heath Ends.png Republican
32 Judson Hill Ends.png Republican
33 Steve Thompson Electiondot.png Democratic
34 Valencia Seay Electiondot.png Democratic
35 Donzella James Electiondot.png Democratic
36 Nan Orrock Electiondot.png Democratic
37 Lindsey Tippins Ends.png Republican
38 Horacena Tate Electiondot.png Democratic
39 Vincent Fort Electiondot.png Democratic
40 Fran Millar Ends.png Republican
41 Steve Henson Electiondot.png Democratic
42 Jason Carter Electiondot.png Democratic
43 Ronald Ramsey Electiondot.png Democratic
44 Gail Davenport Electiondot.png Democratic
45 Renee Unterman Ends.png Republican
46 Bill Cowsert Ends.png Republican
47 Frank Ginn Ends.png Republican
48 David Shafer Ends.png Republican
49 Butch Miller Ends.png Republican
50 John Wilkinson Ends.png Republican
51 Steve Gooch Ends.png Republican
52 Chuck Hufstetler Ends.png Republican
53 Jeff Mullis Ends.png Republican
54 Charlie Bethel Ends.png Republican
55 Gloria Butler Electiondot.png Democratic
56 John Albers Ends.png Republican

Standing Senate Committees

Georgia Senate has 29 standing committees for the 2011-2012 session:


Women in the Senate

Rebecca Ann Latimer Felton, of Georgia, was appointed to the United States Senate in 1922 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Thomas E. Watson. Even though she only served for a short amount of time she became known as the first woman to serve in the Senate.[12][13]

External links