The Legislative Services Committee and the Office of Legislative Counsel for the Georgia General Assembly recently published a preliminary copy of the Summary of General Statutes Enacted at the 2015 Session of the General Assembly of Georgia (index so far not included).
The Summary of General Statutes includes concise summaries of Acts of state-wide application enacted during an assembly session. The Acts are organized by the title they amend in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.). Information provided includes the Act and bill numbers, a brief summary, the citation for the code section enacted or amended, and the effective date. The Summary of General Statutes also includes a table of O.C.G.A. sections enacted, amended, and repealed.
Attorneys and researchers can use the Summary of General Statutes to determine the following:
- Which O.C.G.A. titles (ex. Title 24, Evidence) do or do not contain any alterations
- Which O.C.G.A. sections were enacted, amended, or repealed by an Act
- Effective date of an Act
Determining the effective date of an Act is significant for two reasons. First, O.C.G.A. § 1-3-4 provides that, unless specified in an Act, Acts approved “by the Governor or which becomes law without his approval on or after the first day of January and prior to the first day of July of a calendar year shall become effective on the first day of July.” Therefore, an attorney would want to determine if the Act takes effect prior to July 1st. Second, if the Act does take effect prior to July 1st, an attorney will need to make sure any print or online code they are referring to contains the new language, and if not, they will need to locate a copy of the new language.
Quite often there is a significant gap between the enactment of Acts, their effective dates, and the publication of amendments in the O.C.G.A. When this occurs, researchers will need to use the Georgia General Assembly’s Signed by Governor webpage to locate the enacted version of the Acts that take effect prior to their publication in the O.C.G.A. An example of an Act that is currently in effect and not yet published in the O.C.G.A. is “Haleigh’s Hope Act,” which took effect on April 16, 2015.
While keeping up with Supreme Court of Georgia decisions can be a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be. Below are several resources researchers can use to stay abreast of recent decisions.
Summaries of Noteworthy Decisions
In addition to finding the slip opinions of recent decisions on the Supreme Court of Georgia’s website, researchers can also find the “Summaries of Noteworthy Decisions.” This resource is produced by the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Public Information Officer, and includes concise summaries of opinions considered to be of great public interest. The summaries are available on the opinions page, located above the full-text of slip opinions for a given release date.
Daily Report Court Opinions
The Daily Report’s Court Opinions webpage is an excellent source for locating recent Supreme Court of Georgia and Georgia Court of Appeals opinions. While researchers need a subscription to the Daily Report to view the full text of the opinions, non-subscribers can view the case name, area of law(s) the opinion addresses, and a one sentence summary of the court’s holding.
Produced by attorneys at Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP, the SCOG Blog is an good source for finding information on civil cases heard before the Supreme Court of Georgia. The blog routinely posts information on forthcoming and recent opinions.
By Wikignome431 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The 2015 Session of the Georgia General Assembly concluded on April 2, 2015. Following the final adjournment of the General Assembly, known as sine die
, the Governor has 40 days to sign any bills or resolutions received after the 34th day of the session, which took place on March 23, 2015.
The Georgia Constitution provides in Article III, Section V, Paragraph XIII that any bills or resolutions not signed or vetoed during the 40 day period will automatically become law. Researchers can review and keep track of which 2015 bills the Governor has signed into law by going to the following sources:
Following the Governor’s actions, the Office of Legislative Council will publish the Summary of General Statutes Enacted at the 2015 Session of the General Assembly of Georgia, which will provide researchers with a summary of all of the statutes of general statewide application signed into law, organized by the title they amend of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. Researchers will find the General Statutes Summary on the General Assembly’s website.
The full text of all the legislation enacted during the 2015 Session of the General Assembly will be published in the 2015 edition of Georgia Laws. Once published, researchers can access the most recent version of Georgia Laws on the Georgia Government Publications website.
Pursuant to Article III, Section V, Paragraph XII of the Georgia Constitution, the Governor will provide reasons for vetoing legislation. Generally, the Governor will post veto statements on the Press Releases webpage of the Office of the Governor website. Researchers can also find a veto statements in Volume III of Georgia Laws.
Do you want to work for the Law Library? We hope so, because we’re hiring GRAs for this summer!
The following positions will be filled:
Law Library GRA positions are open to all GSU law students who have completed their first two semesters of classes. Part-time students are eligible. Students applying for Summer positions must be enrolled in at least 3 hours of Summer classes. Students may apply for both type of GRA position, but cannot be hired for both positions at the same time.
Applications are due at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 13, 2015.
Reference GRA applicants: Email one document which includes a 1) cover letter, 2) current resume, and 3) completed availability form to Austin Martin Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org). Include your last name in the file name.
Research GRA applicants: Email one document which includes a 1) cover letter and 2) current resume to Pam Brannon (email@example.com). Include your last name in the file name.
This week, the Law Library and University Library are celebrating national Fair Use Week. This annual celebration highlights the doctrine of fair use, which is one of the exceptions of U.S. copyright law that allows teachers, students, and researchers to use copyright materials without permission from the copyright holder.
In celebration of Fair Use Week, the Law Library will be holding a program on fair use in the classroom.
- Program Title: What kinds of content can I use in my course? Working within the law and BOR Policy.
- Speaker: Gwen Spratt of Georgia State University’s Legal Affairs Office
- Location & Time: Thursday, February 26, from 3 – 4 p.m. in Room 170 of the Urban Life Building.
For more information on fair use, see the following:
The Public Interest Law Association (PILA) will hold its annual auction at the Georgia Freight Depot on Saturday, Feburary 28th. The auction raises money to provide scholarships to students who take public interest internships. Auctions items typically include tickets to events, free nights at a beach or mountain house, and dinner with a faculty member.
As has been a tradition for many years now, the Law Library will put one study room up for auction. A group of up to six students will have the chance to win the reservation rights to a study room for the rest of the semester.
flickr photo by roxweb
Back on this day in 1908, the 16th President of the United States of America was born in Hardin County, Kentucky. Abraham Lincoln is regarded as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents of all time. He is also well known for the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. But did you know that he was a lawyer in Illinois prior to becoming President?
At 29, he was admitted to the Illinois Bar (Richards 16). At the time of his admittance, he was in his second term in the Illinois legislature (Richard 19). Lincoln would go on to try a variety of cases, many in front of the Supreme Court of Illinois (Richards 19, 22). He also tried many cases in federal trial courts latter in his practice (Frank 7). Lincoln would eventually argue a case before the Supreme Court of the United States (Frank 79). The case was Lewis v. Lewis, 48 U.S. 776 (1849), which was cited in footnotes of a case as recently as 1999, Rogers v. U.S., 180 F.3d 349 (1999). You can locate the transcript of Lewis v. Lewis using Making of Modern Law: US Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978, located on the Law Library’s Database List.
One of Lincoln’s most well known cases was People v. Williams “Duff” Armstrong (1958), also known as the “Almanac Trial” (Steiner 46). A witness in the Almanac Trial testified that he was able to see Armstrong strike the fatal blow “because the moon was high overhead” (Stiener 46). Mark Steiner states that Lincoln “helped secure an acquittal for his client by producing an almanac for the year that showed the moon was near the horizon at that time of night” (Steiner 46).
For further information about the life of Lincoln and his background as a lawyer, consult the following sources:
- Abraham Lincoln, the lawyer-statesman by John Richards
- Lincoln as a laywer, by John Frank
- Lawyer Lincoln, by Albert Woldman
- Abraham Lincoln, Esq., edited by Roger Billings and Frank Williams
- “Does Lawyer Lincoln Matter?,” chapter by Mark Steiner
- People v. William “Duff” Armstrong, Illinois State Bar
- Abraham Lincoln, History.com
- Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress
- Lincoln (2013), Law Leisure Collection (DVD)
We are already six days into the 2015 Session of the Georgia General Assembly. Even if you don’t have time to venture over to the assembly during this session, you can still keep track of legislation and proceedings using a couple few free and commercial resources.
- Georgia General Assembly Legislation Advanced Search (FREE): The legislation advanced search will allow users to locate legislation from the current session and past sessions of the general assembly. Once you locate a bill or resolution of interest, click on the number, and you will find information on who sponsored the bill, which committees reviewed the legislation, the first reader summary, the status history, and current and previous versions of the bill.
- Composite Status Sheets (FREE): The sheets provide a consolidated listing of the status of all bills and resolutions introduced during the session.
- State Bar Legislative Program (FREE): The State Bar of Georgia’s Legislative Program provides a weekly update on the assembly, as well as information on legislative matters of interest to the Bar or affecting the practice of law.
- WestlawNext Georgia Bill Tracking (Commercial): This database provides summaries and status information concerning current and recently-ended Georgia legislation. A WestlawNext username and password is required to access this database.
- Lexis Advance GA Bill Tracking Reports (Commercial): This database contains a summary and legislative chronology of all pending Georgia legislation in the current legislative session. A Lexis Advance username and password is required to access this database.
Viewing Floor Proceedings
flickr photo by Garry Wilmore
In addition to exams, the end of a law school semester also signals the time when research projects and papers are due. The best legal writers are clear, thorough, and concise. The following are a list of resources that will help you become a more effective legal writer.
Blogs & Articles
GSU Law Library Research Guides
flickr photo by Scott Ableman
Interest in executive orders has risen over the past few weeks in light of President Obama’s move to use an executive order to grant around 5 million undocumented immigrants relief from deportation (CNN).
Black’s Law Dictionary defines an executive order as “An order issued by or on behalf of the President, intended to direct or instruct the actions of executive agencies or government officials, or to set policies for the executive branch to follow” (9th Edition). Vivian Chu and Todd Garvey note in their Congressional Research Service Report, Executive Orders: Issuance, Modification, and Revocation, that executive orders are one of various instruments, including presidential memoranda and presidential proclamations, that the President can use to implement policy (CRS Report RS20846, Page 1).
Chu and Garvey explain in their report that “executive orders are generally directed to, and govern actions by, Government officials and agencies” (CRS Report RS20846, Page 1). Furthermore, executive orders generally only have an indirect effect on private individuals (CRS Report RS20846, Page 1).
For more information on the authority of the President to issue executive orders, limitations, and revocation and modification of executive orders, read Chu and Gravey’s CRS Report.
You can locate executive orders for online using the following resources:
- Whitehouse.gov: The current administration’s executive orders.
- National Archives: Executive orders from 1937 (Franklin D. Roosevelt) – Present (Barack Obama).