A form of representative government has existed in Georgia since January 1751. Its modern embodiment, known as the Georgia General Assembly, is one of the largest state legislatures in the nation. The General Assembly consists of two chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The General Assembly has operated continuously since 1777, when Georgia became one of the thirteen original states and revoked its status as a colony of Great Britain. Since the General Assembly is the legislative body for the state, the location of its meetings has moved along with each move of the state capital. In its earliest days the legislature met first in Savannah, and subsequently in Augusta, Louisville, and Milledgeville. In 1868 the capital—and the assembly—settled permanently in Atlanta. Today the General Assembly meets in the state capitol, an impressive limestone and marble building with a distinctive gold dome and granite foundation. Each chamber is housed in a separate wing.
Every two years, Georgia voters elect members of the legislature. These elections occur in even-numbered years (e.g., 2008, 2010, 2012). The qualifications for holding office in both houses, as well as the size of both chambers, are established in the Georgia state constitution.