The Constitution of the State of Georgia allows for the governor to convene a special session of the General Assembly if needed, and last month Gov. Nathan Deal called for a special session to begin on Tuesday, November 13th in order to address the aftermath of Hurricane Michael and how it affected our Southwest Georgia communities. The House and Senate met for five days during this special session in order to amend the Fiscal Year 2019 budget (FY 2019 budget) so our state heals and recover.     

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Southwest Georgia on October 9, 2018, and resulted in immense losses for Georgia’s top industry – agriculture as well as our timber industry; costing Southwest Georgia approximately $2.5 billion in losses. The University of Georgia Extension reported an updated damage assessment of $550 million in cotton crop loss due to Hurricane Michael as well as a $13 million loss to the landscape and green industry. Our pecan farmers lost an estimated $560 million loss and are high-yielding vegetables such as sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, peppers, tomatoes, and peas are estimated to have received a $480 million loss. Georgia’s poultry industry was also impacted by Hurricane Michael with the loss of 129 commercial houses and more than 2 million chickens, and $25 million. Finally, the Georgia Forestry Commission reports more than 37 million tons of timber were damaged or destroyed during the storm, resulting in nearly $763 million total losses. The Senate passed House Bill 1 EX in order to amend the FY 2019 budget in order to account for these losses.

Continue reading for a few more highlights from this special session. You can also  watch live footage from the session here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Streaming/en-US/Channel/Senate 

The 2019 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly is right around the corner and will convene on Monday, January 14, 2019. I hope that you will contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding potential legislation or if you have suggestions for future legislation.  Please feel free to reach out to me anytime at Capitol office at 404-656-0287, or by email at karen.mathiak@house.ga.gov. As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.

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