State business was halted again last week due to winter storm Pax that barreled its way through the south and eventually the northeast. Because of the severe weather threat and the lessons learned two weeks ago from the ice and snow that crippled Atlanta, state officials closed government offices, which allowed the legislative session to meet only on Feb. 10 and part of Feb. 11. To prepare for the sleet and freezing rain, some 200 utility vehicles from Florida, North Carolina, and other states arrived in Atlanta in case the ice had caused widespread power outages. In addition, more than a dozen state shelters were opened for any citizens who may have needed a warm place to stay in the event of prolonged residential power outages. It was estimated that the storm was the worse ice and sleet weather event in more than 10 years. State officials showed foresight and cooperation in having a coordinated plan in place, limiting dangerous situations for Georgians. I am particularly grateful for the Georgia National Guard and the 1,000 troops that fanned out across the state, prepared to help any stranded motorists.
Before business was halted on Feb. 11, the 2014-2015 budget was passed by the full committee and will be considered for a vote by the State House next week. This budget appropriates money for the state’s fiscal year which begins July 1, 2014 and ends June 30, 2015. I will keep you updated as to the progress of this bill and how it will affect our state.
In addition, HB 714 was passed in the House. This bill amends the law regarding unemployment insurance. It provides that private employees who work in seasonal jobs cannot receive unemployment insurance benefits during breaks in their employment if there is a reasonable expectation that their employment will resume at the end of the break.
Business has returned to normal this week and the legislative session convened. Your input is important to me. Please contact me with your concerns at (404) 656-5087 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. My address at the capitol is 18 Capitol Square, Suite 402 CLOB State Capitol, Atlanta, Ga. 30334.