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Wide variety of legislation in the works
Hitchens Bill
State Rep. Bill Hitchens

The third week of the legislative session was a continuance of committee meetings and hearings as we moved forward with drafting legislation regarding a wide variety of issues pertaining to our state.

I co-sponsored House Bill 819, which would allow foreign-born veterans who fought alongside U.S. service men and women the right to receive a veteran’s license plate in Georgia. The bill stipulates the veterans must be United States citizens and residents of this state at the time of application for the license, or residents of Georgia for at least two years immediately preceding the date of application for the license. In addition, the veterans must have served on active duty in the armed forces of an ally of the United States during wartime or any conflict.

I believe this bill rightly recognizes American allies who risked their lives to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with U.S. troops and I hope it receives wide-spread support in the legislature.

I also co-sponsored two resolutions — one recognizing an outstanding individual and the other recognizing an outstanding institution.

House Resolution 880 dedicates the bridge over Wilmington River on State Route 26/Island36 Expressway in Chatham County as the Al St. Lawrence Memorial Bridge. Mr. St. Lawrence is the only law enforcement officer in Georgia to be named with two outstanding distinctions — the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Outstanding Chief of the Year and Georgia Sheriffs' Association Sheriff of the Year, an honor that was bestowed upon him twice. Mr. St. Lawrence exhibited extraordinary devotion to duty, outstanding loyalty, fine leadership and meticulous attention to detail in all his duties. I believe it is abundantly fitting and proper that this remarkable and distinguished Georgian be recognized appropriately by dedicating a bridge in his memory. Al St. Lawrence and I were personal friends who worked together on many public safety issues from 1969 until his passing.

Additionally, I co-sponsored HR 987, recognizing and congratulating St. Joseph's/Candler Health System's African American Health Information and Resource Center on its completion of two decades of continuous service to the citizens of Savannah and surrounding areas.

Twenty years ago, the Resource Center sought solutions to the access disparity and severe lack of cultural health information African Americans experienced. The program has become a national model for other communities in addressing specific health disparities of minorities, through culturally competent education, computer literacy initiatives and free health screenings. The center has made a forceful impact on thousands of lives by improving their health and teaching people how to better manage their chronic diseases. It was my pleasure to support this resolution and recognize the great strides made by the resource center.

On Thursday, , constituents from Chatham County were present at the capitol for Savannah/Chatham Day. It was good to visit with neighboring community members and welcome them to the gold dome.

As the session continues, please know that I welcome and appreciate your input, questions and concerns. I can be contacted at or at 404-656-0152. Thank you for allowing me the great privilege of representing you!