Georgia has had ten state constitutions. They were adopted in 1777, 1789, 1798, 1861, 1865, 1868, 1877, 1945, 1976, and 1982. The constitution of 1976 had so many amendments, many of which affected only localities, that it became unwieldy. The constitution adopted in 1982, which became effective in 1983, prohibits the passage of merely local amendments. All constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority vote in each house of the legislature and ratification by a majority of the voters.
The governor of Georgia is the state’s chief executive, elected for a four-year term, and who may not serve more than two consecutive terms. The governor may veto proposed legislation, but the legislature can override the veto by a two-thirds majority vote.
The principal officers of the executive branch are the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, comptroller general, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of labor, and state superintendent of schools. All are elected for four-year terms. The heads of several other state departments are appointed by the governor. The public service commission, one of the state’s eight executive boards, is elected. The other seven boards are appointed by the governor. The state auditor is chosen by the state house of representatives but its choice must be approved by the senate.
The state legislature, which is called the General Assembly, is composed of a Senate, with 56 members, and a House of Representatives, with 180 members. Both the senators and the representatives are elected for two-year terms.
The general assembly meets annually at Atlanta, beginning on the second Monday in January. This regular session lasts for no longer than 40 days. However, special sessions of up to 30 or 70 days may be convened by the governor or by a three-fifths vote of the legislature.
The supreme court of Georgia is the highest court in the state. It is the final court of appeal in all cases except those in which state law and federal law conflict. The seven supreme court justices are elected for six-year terms. The justices elect one of their members to be chief justice.
The state’s second highest court is the court of appeals. The court’s judges are also elected for six years. Judges are elected to four-year terms in the state’s superior courts and in the county-wide probate courts. Justices of the peace are elected for four years and juvenile court judges for six years. There are also county courts and juvenile courts.
Georgia is divided into 159 counties, most governed by boards of elected commissioners. In the others, local government is the responsibility of the probate court judge. The most common type of municipal government in Georgia is the mayor and council plan. Government by council and manager has become increasingly popular. A few cities still use a modified version of the commission form of municipal government. Georgia elects 13 representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives and two senators. The state has 15 electoral votes. "Georgia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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