Both chambers signed off on a deal on the top priority - the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 - which slashes education spending and balances the budget with dozens of new fees and a new tax on hospitals. With tax collections plunging, the spending plan was an obstacle that kept legislators at the statehouse weeks later than usual.
"You passed a budget filled with the right things, the tough choices necessary to protect our core mission," Gov. Sonny Perdue told the Senate. "It's not been fun, it's not been pleasant. But I go out thinking we've done what we could, and I think we've done it well."
Georgia legislators have already addressed some of their key priorities on this year's to-do list by reaching long-awaited deals on water conservation, transportation funding and an ethics overhaul. But there was a long list of social issues to tackle before the session concludes by midnight Thursday.
One of the most controversial proposals would ban doctors from performing an abortion if there's evidence the woman was being coerced into asking for the procedure or that she objects to the race or gender of the fetus. The measure, which must pass both chambers, would also require new signs advising women that they must "freely and voluntarily" consent to the abortion.
The House and Senate are working to hash out final details on a measure that would allow gun owners with permits to bring their firearms into some bars and the parking lots of colleges, courthouses and jails. Both chambers have passed separate measures, which supporters say would clarify confusing gun restrictions.
State legislators also passed two bills that would make it illegal to text while driving. One would ban teens from using their cell phones at all while driving. A second would ban all motorists from texting, checking e-mail or using the Internet behind the wheel. Both now go to Gov. Sonny Perdue.
And the Senate may debate a constitutional amendment that would tack a $10 annual fee on car registrations to shore up the state's cash-strapped network of trauma hospitals. Under the measure, which passed the House 149-14 after little debate, voters would have to approve the fee at the ballot box.
Also up in the air is an evaluation system to judge how well teachers do their jobs. Perdue has pushed the measure to help Georgia's chances of winning up to $400 million in federal funds in the second round of the "Race to the Top" federal grant competition. Georgia fell just short of winning in the first round.
As lawmakers gathered for the final throes of the session, it often felt like it was the last day of school. More than a dozen retiring legislators made emotional farewell speeches and groups of lawmakers dotted the chamber posing for goodbye pictures.
"Y'all ready to go home?" Ralston asked tired lawmakers, who responded with a loud cheer.
The state's 236 lawmakers are eager to return home - and to the campaign trail - after the longest legislative session in years. But they also seem relieved that they hammered out deals earlier in the session on a range of key issues that have long eluded them.
Legislators broke through a logjam on transportation funding after three years of trying, approving a plan that would allow Georgia voters to decide whether to hike the sales tax to pay for roads and infrastructure.
And two other packages have already headed to Gov. Sonny Perdue: An ethics overhaul that supporters say will make government more transparent by requiring lobbyists to disclose more of their expenditures and sweeping legislation that would put in place a wide-ranging series of water conservation measures.