Georgia lawmakers convene special session for hurricane relief

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State lawmakers reported to the Capitol Tuesday to begin a special called session for the first time since 2011.

Governor Nathan Deal called the special session so that legislators could amend the budget to include $270 million in funding for relief efforts after Hurricane Michael devastated the state.

"When agriculture takes that kind of a hit, that's a hit on the state's economy as a whole," explained House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.

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According to state estimates, Georgia suffered nearly $2.5 billion in agricultural losses. 

"It's very difficult to find anybody in our area that was not affected in some kind of way," said State Representative Darrel Ealum, D-Albany.

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The millions of dollars in state funds will primarily go towards debris clean up and infrastructure repair. Lawmakers said it will take federal money to help the southwest corner of the state fully recover.

"Hopefully it's gonna show the federal government that we are doing our share," Rep. Ealum said.  "I mean by the Governor calling this special session, that means a lot."

The session is expected to last five days.  Lawmakers will also consider whether to ratify an Executive Order issued by the governor this summer to suspend collection of the jet fuel tax. 

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