Staying Engaged During the Upcoming Legislative Session

Question: Question: The legislative session is coming up! How do I keep track of what’s happening on issues that matter to Georgia’s rivers?

Answer: The next session of the Georgia Legislature begins in early January and there are several reasons to stay engaged and ways to stay up to date on the latest legislative developments and when you need to take action and contact your legislators.

As a clean water advocate, or as a representative of an organization concerned about clean water, it’s important to find ways to keep up to date on water issues being dealt with by our legislators. Each legislative session our legislators introduce numerous bills that can have positive or negative consequences for our state’s waterways. Legislators decide how to vote on these bills based on a lot of different factors, but a key factor – and often a deciding factor – is how much she or he is being pressured by different interests, especially their constituents.

There are varying degrees you can stay tuned in, and we’ve outline some key ways you can stay informed:

1.    Know your State Representative and State Senator--If you don’t know who your State Representative and/or State Senator are you can find out by going to this website and typing in your zip code at the top. This will give you their name and contact information so you know how to reach them and express your opinions on legislation you care about. Don’t be intimidated to call! Legislators receive calls from constituents all the time and will be happy to hear your point of view – it’s very likely that you’ll just be leaving a message with a receptionist when you call anyway. All you need to do is be prepared to tell them your name, where you live, the bill number and how you would like for them to vote on it. Want to go a step farther? Call you legislator and invite them for a cup of coffee to talk about water. You’ll be surprised how many will say yes!

2.    The Georgia Environmental Action Network, or GEAN--This action alert system will send you an e-mail when critical decisions related to Georgia’s environment are being made. Additionally, the system connects you with your particular elected officials and with just a few clicks you can send an e-mail to your elected leaders and/or key decision makers to voice your position on these key issues. The system creates a message for you to send and also allows you to customize your message if you wish.

Nineteen different organizations make up GEAN and each organization decides which action alerts to opt into. You decide which organizations you want to receive alerts from when you sign up. Additionally, if your organization would like to become a member of GEAN you can do so by contacting Georgia Conservation Voters’ Executive Director Rob Teilhet at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

3.    The Georgia Water Coalition--The Georgia Water Coalition (GWC) tracks legislation related to water and the priorities determined by the GWC Partners. If your organization is a Partner in the GWC, the organization’s main contact will receive weekly legislative updates from the GWC on the bills it’s working on throughout the legislative session. If you are a Partner and don’t receive the updates, but would like to, e-mail April Ingle This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to the list. If your organization is not a Partner in the GWC but would like to join, click here.

4.    The Georgia Water Wire blog--The Georgia Water Wire is a Georgia River Network blog that provides readers with up-to-date, relevant news about Georgia’s waterways along with our perspective on what’s going on.  During the legislative session the blog tracks and provides analysis on key legislation related to water.

5.    Georgia Conservation Voters--Georgia Conservation Voters tracks a comprehensive list of bills related to a vast array of environmental issues and puts out a weekly Legislative Monitor with updates on the status of the bills to members during the legislative session. To join and receive the Legislative Monitor, contact Georgia Conservation Voters’ Executive Director Rob Teilhet at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

6.    Camo Coalition--The Georgia Wildlife Federation maintains this action alert system that will send you an e-mail when critical decisions related to hunting and fishing in Georgia are being made. Additionally, the system connects you with your particular elected officials and with just a few clicks you can send an e-mail to your elected leaders and/or key decision makers to voice your position on these key issues. The system creates a message for you to send and also allows you to customize your message if you wish.