Ga. lawmakers write ~4,800 things, mostly honors

In the 80 working days of the two-year term of the Georgia Legislature at the Gold Dome in Atlanta, lawmakers filed 4,834 bills and resolutions.

More than half of that was honors, like recognizing peach queens, rock stars and other good folks of Georgia.

The rest, well, most of the rest died when the term expired a half-hour late, at about 00:30 on March 25.  Here’s the breakdown.

Details under the picture.

(Click for a larger/printable version.)

Also, check my portfolio page; I’m looking for dataviz commissions. 🙂



“All bills and resolutions filed” counts everything: bills, resolutions, prefiles, hoppers, duplicates. I got the count by scraping* the GGA website to gather actual bills, kicking out ones that got a number but don’t seem to exist.

“All legislation that makes a policy point” is everything that even makes a minuscule point, including regular bills, constitutional amendments, study committees, urging resolutions, encouraging resolutions and, yes, road namings.  Because … well … road namings can get heated.

“All honorary resolutions” are the ones that just honor, recognize or send condolences to folk. They do dozens of these a day and pass them all in a block with one vote. Every year there are a few that are filed too late to get approved.

A Python script sorted and filtered all these bills into the different groups and spit out the numbers you see here.  For example, if a bill’s final status was “veto,” it went in the veto group. If a bill got assigned to both a House AND a Senate committee, it got put under “passed at least one chamber.” Because, a House bill wouldn’t get a Senate committee unless and until the House passed it. And vice versa. The script used the bill title, the chamber, the committees and the final status. So if a resolution title included the phrase “Study Committee” (or “study committee” or “committee” AND “study”), it got filtered into “legislation that makes a policy point.”

HOWEVER, if you told me I was off by a few bills, I’d say you may have a point and I’d want to know more.  The sorting script was written by me, a human who’s prone to mistakes and who is not a professional programmer. By a long shot. The ones I can check are definitely correct. There were 27 vetoes over the last two years. There are 4,384 bills and resolutions posted on the GGA website.  Everything in between is subject to judgement and algorithm, though I did most definitely go back and look through the sorted bills to see if they seemed to be in the right category.

AND, note, like Mark Twain said, there are lies, damned lies and statistics, so take any number out from under the Gold Dome with a grain of salt anyway. For example, legislators can cram many different things into one sausage casing. Say you file HB1 and HB2.  Then you cut all the language out of them and paste it at the bottom of HB3, which becomes law.  Well, the logic looks like two bills failed and one passed.  Whereas in actual reality, three things passed, just all crammed into one vehicle.  I don’t know how to correct for that, but I also know it’s done oh, maybe a few dozen times a year. Not constantly. Or for another example, say a local bill gets filed as a general bill even though in content it is clearly a local bill? Well I don’t know how I’d catch that.  There may be some!

The general assembly publishes an end-of-session summary each year (see pg. 9).  But I can’t find as they do one for every two-year term.  IDK.  If  you know of one, do send it.

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