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Legislators beat snow -- with state patrol's help
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Though Gov. Nathan Deal postponed nonessential inaugural events and warned residents across the state to stay indoors, the state's lawmakers trekked the icy roads to gavel into session Monday.

The state Constitution requires that the General Assembly begin its business on the second Monday of January, so Georgia State Patrol four-wheelers escorted legislators and their staff for the big day.

As the House went into recess at noon, Speaker David Ralston noted that staffers outside of the Capitol would take home legislators after the inauguration ended Monday afternoon.

He also recognized Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Transportation and Georgia Department of Natural Resources officials for their "Herculean" efforts in clearing the roads and helping lawmakers to navigate their way to the Gold Dome. House members stood and clapped as Ralston recognized officials who helped Monday morning.

"You all have a great task today, tomorrow and the next day," he said. "We are grateful for you, and many members have pitched in to help. I know people from my office worked late last night and this morning to assist as we could in making sure people returned home safely."

After the inauguration, the chambers reopened the joint session to discuss weather plans. They will not meet Tuesday and will reconvene Wednesday.

Gainesville's delegation, most who stayed in hotels in Atlanta on Sunday night, didn't have any significant problems getting to the Capitol in the morning.

"I came down early for some meetings and caught a ride in another legislator's four-wheel drive truck," said Doug Collins, who rode with Rep. Tommy Benton. "DNR really helped out, and we got everybody in as best we could."

Rep. James Mills and Sen. Butch Miller stayed in Atlanta and drove to the Capitol in the morning. Rep. Carl Rogers and his wife, Linda, drove to their West Peachtree Street home on Sunday night.

"This morning I waited until 9 a.m. to head to the Capitol. After dodging snow plows and equipment, it was a 30-minute drive to the Capitol. The distance is four miles," Rogers said. "With my work boots on, we dashed to the Capitol office to change shoes and then to the House chamber to be sworn in. But we made it."

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce cancelled its Eggs & Issues breakfast planned for Tuesday. This is the event where Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Ralston planned to release the first hints of their agendas for the session.

"I believe, a snowy day, 145 members being here is outstanding," House Clerk Robert Rivers said after the morning's roll call.


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