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Legislative session opens in solemn fashion
Hitchens Bill
State Rep. Bill Hitchens

On Jan. 13, the 2020 Georgia General Assembly session began as the sound of the gavel resounded in the House of Representatives, marking the official start of 40 legislative days which will be accompanied by committee meetings, the careful drafting of resolutions and bills and thorough deliberation before voting.

As I arrived at the state capitol, our community was on the forefront of my mind along with the great responsibility that you have bestowed on me as I represent you. Rest assured that every decision I make will be made with careful thoughtfulness as I consider the result each piece of legislation will have on our district and our great state.

The opening week was an unusual one, however, with a solemn remembrance of our colleague, Rep. Jay Powell, who passed away after a pre-session legislative planning meeting held in late November. Powell, a Camilla native, was a champion for rural Georgia who worked tirelessly in the House since 2009. He will be remembered for his intelligence and leadership and will be missed by his colleagues.

Each legislator received committee assignments and I am honored to serve as chairman of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee as well as a member of the Appropriations, Defense and Veterans Affairs, Economic Development and Tourism, and Transportation Committees. All legislation begins in committee where bills are drafted, and hearings are held to work out details. I remain committed to working respectfully with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on legislation that will improve our state.

I sponsored HB 760, a bill that would allow a peace officer to take a person to a physician for an emergency examination if the person is committing a penal offense and the peace officer has probable cause for believing the person is mentally ill requiring involuntary treatment. I believe this is common sense, compassionate legislation and I hope it receives widespread support.

I also sponsored a resolution recognizing and commending Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church on the grand occasion of its 150th anniversary. Macedonia Baptist church has a rich history, including its inception which began through the faith of twenty-four former slaves. For its anniversary year, the church has adopted the theme "150 Years of Abiding in the Vine" expressing their commitment to God and as a reminder of their victories, defeats, achievements and struggles. It was my pleasure to bestow this much-deserved recognition on such a deserving community of faith.

There will be many more bills to report on as the session proceeds and I will keep you updated each week. Please know that your support, comments, questions and concerns are important to me and I value your input. I can be reached at or at 404.656.0152. Thank you for allowing me to represent you!