Gov. Nathan Deal warned Georgians on Tuesday that the icy conditions that have paralyzed much of the state and its roadways aren’t going away anytime soon.
“The weather has to cooperate in order for us to do what we really need to do. So I would just urge everyone to make sure they take care of themselves, and that they do not put themselves in a position of danger,” a sweatshirted Deal told reporters invited into his meeting with disaster advisers.
“As we all know, ice in the South is the biggest danger we have. One of the good things about it is that the ice has not broken any power lines. Of course, that is always good news. So we have something to be thankful for,” he said.
Deal said he and his advisors were concentrating on the situation faced by those in hard-to-reach pockets.
“We do have some remote parts of our state that are still relatively impassable because there are not major thoroughfares in their area. So we are talking about that,” Deal said.
But the governor, in his second day on the job, refused to respond to any questions.
Attending the meeting with the governor were Col. Bill Hitchens, head of the Georgia State Patrol; Gen. Terry Nesbitt, commander of the National Guard; Vance Smith, commissioner of the state Department of Transportation; and Charley English, director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.
One of the questions asked of the new governor was whether it was proper on Monday to devote so much of the state’s force of four-wheel drive vehicles to bringing state lawmakers to the state Capitol to convene the winter session of the General Assembly.
After the news conference, Hitchens told reporters that the state Constitution mandates that a quorum of legislators assemble on the second Monday of January.
Most of the lawmakers, Hitchens said, had only needed a quick ride to and from their downtown Atlanta hotel rooms.
But state officials are sensitive to the topic. Deal said his State of the State address to the Legislature, scheduled for Wednesday morning, had been postponed until 2 p.m. to allow lawmakers more time to get to the state Capitol.
In the following note sent this afternoon, House Speaker David Ralston informed lawmakers that they would be on their own when it came to transportation:
It is not necessary for members to report until 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday to allow time for travel and improvement of road conditions.
The Speaker will convene the House of Representatives at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 12, per the joint adjournment resolution. The House will then stand at recess until 1:00 p.m. The Joint Session of the General Assembly for the Governor’s State of State Address will convene at 2:00 p.m.
Due to weather conditions, please exercise extreme caution and put your personal safety first. No state resources will be available to assist with transportation.
Again, please do not report to House of Representatives until 1:00 p.m.
Staff are advised to exercise caution and stay off the roads if it is unsafe. Stay tuned to local news reports for announcements regarding official closure by the Governor.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider