Cover Story: Get to know your General Assembly
Here are some key websites to find out more about the Georgia Legislature, which convened its 2008 session Monday, Jan. 11.
It's best to start at the General Assembly website. Search for past bills and those under consideration, peruse the Georgia Code, and – if you're really curious – download the annual legislative picture book. It lists every legislator's contact information with a photo attached. Some even have their cell-phone numbers and nongovernment e-mail addresses included.
YOUR DISTRICT: To figure out which senator and House member — at the state and federal levels — represent you, try this. You also can use it to follow legislation in Washington and Atlanta.
LOBBYING: Like it or not, influence peddling is part of the machine. To view the different lobbyists and groups looking out for their special interests, visit the State Ethics Commission's website.
LEGISLATORS GONE WILD! Can't skip work and get down to the Capitol to witness the shenanigans? Watch live broadcasts of almost every legislative hearing here.
SENATORS LIVE! Even the state Senate has joined the digital movement. To view Senate-spun "new" media, visit its YouTube page.
VOTING: Peeved about how your district's representative or senator spent his 40 days in downtown Atlanta? Use the secretary of state's site to locate where you can exercise the right to either keep the good guys at work or boot the ne'er-do-wells from the Gold Dome.
Here are the websites for DeKalb representatives ...
Mary Margaret Oliver (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/house/bios/oliverMary/oliverMary.htm
Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/house/bios/benfieldStephanie/benfieldStephanie.htm
Michele D. Henson (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/house/bios/hensonMichele/hensonMichele.htm
Earnest "Coach" Williams (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/house/bios/williamsCoach/williamsCoachBio.htm
... Fulton representatives ...
LaNett Stanley-Turner (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/house/bios/stanleyTurnerLanett/stanleyTurnerLanett.htm
"Able" Mable Thomas (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/house/bios/thomasablemable/thomasablemable.htm
Pat Gardner (D) (represents parts of both) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/house/bios/gardnerPat/gardnerPatBio.htm
Robbin Shipp (D) (represents parts of both) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/house/bios/shippRobbin/shippRobbin.htm
Georganna T. Sinkfield (D) (represents parts of both) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/house/bios/sinkfieldGeorganna/sinkfieldGeorgannaBio.htm
Tyrone L. Brooks Sr. (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/house/bios/brooksTyrone/brooksTyroneBio.htm
Sharon Beasley-Teague (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/house/bios/beasleyTeagueSharon/beasleyTeagueSharon.htm
and Fulton and DeKalb state senators ...
Curt Thompson (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/senate/cthompsonbio.php
Emanuel D. Jones (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/senate/jonesbio.php
Horacena Tate (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/senate/tatebio.php
Vincent Fort (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/senate/fortbio.php
Daniel J. Weber (R) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/senate/weberbio.php
Steve Henson (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/senate/hensonbio.php
David Adelman (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/senate/adelmanbio.php
Ronald B. Ramsey Sr. (D) http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/senate/ramseybio.php
David Shafer (R) http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2007_08/senate/shaferbio.php