For an area like the Golden Isles it’s rarely a bad thing to have significant influence on state environmental policy.

That appears to be the case as state Rep. Jeff Jones rotates off the House Natural Resources & Environment Committee, but retaining influence on legislation while newly-elected state Rep. Don Hogan joins the committee for the first time.

“I enjoyed my role on that committee, and I had a discussion with the chairman, Lynn Smith, who I’ve gotten to know pretty well having been on that committee the last couple years,” Jones, R-St. Simons Island, said. “We kind of came to an understanding, an agreement, that she would continue to call on me for consultant services, if you will, about coastal and environmental issues. Just because I’ve stepped off that committee doesn’t mean my interests in all that kind of stuff isn’t there.”

Jones said he is presently working on drafts of legislation controlling how coal ash enters the state and the process for de-watering coal ash ponds that currently exist.

Hogan, R-St. Simons Island, said he’s especially excited about joining the committee.

“We had shrimp and grits today up at the capitol, done by Josh Williams … of course, who is the guy who is over Crabdaddy’s and they did a real good job,” Hogan said. “I just regret I didn’t get my picture made with all of them, but had a lot of people from Glynn County up serving grits and issues to all the legislators and everybody who might be in the capitol. It turned out real good, and (the state Department of Natural Resources) was there, so I’m looking forward to serving on Natural Resources and being very supportive of our coast and the fishing and shrimping industry.”

Jones, who was on the House Motor Vehicles Committee last session, landed a new spot as he was announced as the new vice-chairman of the committee. In regard to what may come up in committee during the session, Jones said he had yet to speak with committee Chairman Bubber Epps, but noted they have a good working relationship and that he’s come to know the chairman fairly well.

“Honestly, I was not seeking a leadership role, so the appointment to the vice-chair of that committee came as a surprise, and a pleasant one,” Jones said.

He also landed assignments to the House Insurance, Interstate Cooperation and Science & Technology committees.

Meanwhile, Hogan’s other committee assignments include the House Information & Audits and Economic Development & Tourism committees.

“I’m real excited about the committees I got — the Economic Development & Tourism (Committee), I think, fits right in with our area and I’m very supportive of economic development and tourism,” Hogan said. “And, the chairman is Ron Stephens — he’s a great guy, he’s out of Savannah and I think I’ll work real well with him.”

Hogan said he had yet to look at legislation the committee might take on, but that he was looking forward to getting started.

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