Time requirements: The Georgia Legislature consists of two chambers. The House of Representatives has 180 members; the state Senate has 56 members. The legislature meets every year from the second Monday in January until about the end of March. There are 40 working days in the legislative calendar. Typical workdays are 8-10 hours, except toward the end of the session when the House and Senate may work well into the evening.
As an elected official, you must be available and responsive to your constituents by phone, email or in person. There’s no way to predict how much time that requires.
Special sessions: Special sessions are rare but may be called by the governor. There is a special session for redistricting that last about one month every 10 years after census data are released. The next redistricting session is expected in 2021.
Pay: State representatives and senators earn approximately $17,000 annually. They also receive $173 per diem for every day they are in Session and for recess days with committee meetings. Lawmakers also can be reimbursed for up to $7,000 for miscellaneous costs directly related to their duties such as lodging, personal services, supplies and other reasonable expenses.
During the annual legislative session: All representatives and senators receive office space in the capital building or the Coverdell Office building. Each rep and senator also shares an administrative assistant with three to seven other reps or senators.
Back in your district: There’s no requirement to hold town hall meetings or other get-togethers with constituents, but they can be an important component in staying in touch with voters.
Committees: Each representative and senator typically serves on three to five committees. The number of meetings varies from monthly to daily depending on the type of committee and the schedule of the legislative session.
Training: New representatives and senators receive about one day’s worth of training through the office of the speaker of the House or president of the Senate. There also is biennial training for all members in December. The next session is expected in December 2018.
Party caucus: During the legislative session, Democratic lawmakers meet once or twice a week and sometimes meet during the year outside the session.
Term of Office
State representatives serve two-year terms. State Senate terms are four years.
Oath of Office
Elected officials must take a loyalty oath stating that you will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Georgia (O.C.G.A. 45-3-1).
State Senate: To qualify to run for the Georgia State Senate, you must be a citizen of the United States; a citizen of Georgia for at least 2 years; at least 25 years old; a resident of the Senate district for at least 1 year; and a qualified voter.
You also must meet state code requirements regarding conviction for election fraud, malfeasance of office, crime of moral turpitude or domestic violence. You must not be in default for any taxes. You must swear to uphold provisions of the Georgia election code and the rules and regulations of the Democratic Party. [See Appendix for complete language.] You may not have been adjudged a “subversive person” as defined in the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act of 1953. (O.C.G.A 21-2-7)
State Representative: To qualify to run for the Georgia House of Representatives, you must be a citizen of the United States; a citizen of Georgia for at least 2 years; at least 21 years old; a resident of the House district for at least 1 year; and a qualified voter. You must meet state code requirements regarding conviction for election fraud, malfeasance of office, crime of moral turpitude or domestic violence. Must not be in default for any taxes. Must swear to uphold provisions of the Georgia election code and the rules and regulations of the Democratic Party. [See Appendix for complete language.] You may not have been adjudged a “subversive person” as defined in the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act of 1953. O.C.G.A 21-2-7
Qualifying is the process of submitting your Declaration of Candidacy and Affidavit and paying the appropriate fee to run for office. In Georgia, the state Democratic Party conducts primary qualifying for Democratic state representative or senator.
For the 2020 primary election, the qualifying period is March 5-9. The hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 5-8 and 9 a.m.-noon on March 9.
Qualifying takes place at the State Capitol, Room 230, in Atlanta. Democratic Party of Georgia, 678-278-2016.
The 2020 qualifying fee for a state senator or representative is $400.
To qualify, you must bring a valid photo ID for notary purposes, a completed DECLARATION OF CANDIDACY AND AFFIDAVIT (State) form and payment to the state Democratic Party. If you cannot afford the qualifying fee, you can petition to have the fee waived by submitting a Pauper’s Affidavit.
After the state certifies your candidacy, you must fill out and submit financial disclosure forms and forms regarding the raising of campaign funds and establishing a campaign committee. You may also declare that you will not raise more than $2,500, which will exempt you from financial disclosure. [See appendix for examples of forms.]
Forms also are available at the Secretary of State’s website and the Glynn County Board of Elections website.