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Thankful that Effingham visitors beat the snow, traffic back home

POSTED: February 3, 2014 6:25 p.m.

As it has been well covered by local and national news, it was an unusual week at the state capital, with a debilitating ice and snow weather event that left Atlanta crippled from Tuesday afternoon through Thursday. Needless to say, all state offices were closed and business was suspended during that time.


The good news is that from what I’ve been able to glean from friends, all of those who traveled to Atlanta for Effingham Night on Monday and meetings with state officials on Tuesday morning made it home safely along with two groups of teenagers from Effingham who were also visiting the Capitol.


Unfortunately, the popular Savannah Day scheduled for Thursday was canceled due to the weather. But while many in Atlanta were subjected to some hazardous conditions and personal discomfort sitting in vehicles for up to 15 hours or abandoning their vehicles to walk, those from our area made some wise decisions in the interest of safety, for which I am thankful!


Before the storm captured the state’s attention and halted legislative business, HB 872 was introduced, a bill that I co-sponsored that would allow privileged communication between law enforcement and peer counselors under certain circumstances. I will keep you informed on the progress of this bill as the session continues.


State officials, including the mayor and governor, are putting together plans to avoid another frustrating and dangerous incident during snow and sleet like the one that occurred this past week. Strategies are in the works that include having the necessary resources on hand to handle icy roads, staggering evacuations so that there are fewer vehicles on the road at the same time, and declaring a state of emergency earlier.


State officials are working toward taking a more proactive approach, should a weather event like this occur again in the future.


I look forward to getting back to work as the session resumes this week. I will keep you apprised of important legislation that affects your families, your freedoms, and your pocketbooks. Working with and alongside the other members of the House and the Senate and your best interests will always be my first priority.


Please let me know if I can ever be of assistance to you or your family. I can be reached at (404) 656-0178 or by email at bill.hitchens@house.ga.gov. My address at the capitol is 501 Coverdell Legislative Office Building, Atlanta, GA 30334.

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