Mary Margaret Oliver
Email Newsletter
March 14, 2018

Friends,

I am grateful to report that I have qualified to run for re-election to represent House District 82 without opposition!

I understand this is a privilege, and I look forward to a new term beginning in January 2019 with a new Governor---perhaps a woman named Stacey!  Thank you all for your support, kindness, and most importantly,  your interest and participation.  There is more we can do to serve Georgia and I am grateful to work with you again.

We have now completed 33 days of the 2018 General Assembly, with 7 to go toward Sine Die on March 29th.  The major issues of the budget and HB 930 for regional transit for the 13 metro Atlanta counties are in the forefront, and other significant issues are progressing, with predictable tension and conflict.  Please continue to tell me your views--thank you!

  
Liberty Plaza Fiasco, But with a Good Ending
 
My service for House District 82 includes unusual days and tasks, and the last week has been particularly unique.  The AJC front page story, here , describes  my filing as a Plaintiff along with Janel Green of Georgia Alliance for Justice, a Federal law suit against the Governor and Georgia Building Authority for its unconstitutional rules/barriers to obtain a permit to use Liberty Plaza for the March 24, March for Our Lives demonstration.  Within 24 hours of filing the law suit, the permit was granted, so there is a good result--thank you to Nora Benavidez and Gerry Weber for excellent lawyering! I appreciate also Governor Deal and his Chief of Staff, Chris Riley, reaching out to me to hasten a resolution.
 Litigation to obtain rights is not easy, takes time, and is risky.  But necessary, because it put me and the Governor on the same playing field, in an equal capacity, and it worked!   The law suit will go on to revise the unconstitutional permit rules, but the urgency of  obtaining the permit for March 24 is resolved.   I am grateful.
 
 

ATL Transit Legislation - HB 930 

 

HB 930 is the most important legislation -- my view -- to be passed in the next 7 days.  I feel close to this bill based on my service on the House Transit Study Committee, and attempts over the years to assist with MARTA expansion for the Emory Lindbergh line.  DeKalb County's transit and traffic history--both the good and the bad---is part of the dynamic.  We have a way to go before Sine Die, but I am hopeful we will achieve a governance and funding structure, and resolve the differences in the Senate and House versions of the bill. 

 

 

Local Legislation for DeKalb, Brookhaven and Decatur 

 

I am working on local legislation for Decatur, Brookhaven, and DeKalb County, that follows a different process from general legislation.  The city of Brookhaven seeks to create a local Facilities Authority to issue bonds to pay for the  Peachtree Creek Greenway conservation and bike path to connect with the Beltline.  Decatur wants to increase the hotel/motel tax to 8%, consistent with the other DeKalb County cities, and DeKalb County proposes legislation for the audit process and CEO Review Commission.  Additionally, I am seeking signatures and support from the Atlanta and DeKalb delegations for a bill to move the City of Atlanta annexation of Emory   to delete the area for the Atlanta School District. If successful,  this will allow the handful of children on the Emory annexed area to stay with DeKalb Schools, and return to DeKalb School District the $2.5 million wrongfully taken.  All these efforts require work and cooperation, and   I will keep you informed.                        

 

 

MMO Projects and Highlights 

 

I have several filed bills and projects that are alive at this stage of the Session, and require daily effort. Much of this activity relates to finding opportunities to attach bills as amendments to other bills--some elements of surprise not to be yet revealed.  I am also participating in negotiations on the budget, the new voting machines legislation, hate crimes, and Criminal Justice Reform legislation.  Stay tuned.  And, I celebrated with many colleagues and friends the Governor's signing of the Adoption Bill -- HB 159--very happy event!

 

My long time friend and adoption attorney, Ruth Claiborne, along with Wendi Clifton, lobbyist extraordinaire, who both spent three years of hard work making this bill happen. 

 

 

    

Bill sponsor, Bert Reeves, Wendi Clifton, and Jill Travis from Legislative Counsel. These three pulled it off!

  I was happy to welcome a group from Congregation Beth Jacob. We had our picture made with the Governor and I presented them a House Resolution honoring Beth Jacob on the 75th anniversary of its founding. Thanks for coming down. 

And at noon today high school students, many from Decatur High School, who had walked out of school supporting an end to gun violence in schools came to Liberty Plaza. They were instructed to go into the Capitol and lobby legislators for a hearing on HB 10, my assault weapon ban bill. Thank you!

 

Survey Results and New Question 

 Our survey question last asked if the transit bill should include a provision allowing DeKalb County to vote by referendum to add a one-half cent sales tax for transit funding. Your response:

YES           75%
NO           25%

Comments:
"It just makes sense that DeKalb County should step up..."

"It hits the poorest hardest."

"We already pay into MARTA."

"Transit needs the complete support, especially financial, of everyone in DeKalb County and the Greater Atlanta Metropolitan area."

This Newsletter question:

Should Liberty Plaza be available for demonstrations on the weekends and after Capitol work hours, and if so, should organizers be required to pay for overtime of Capitol Police and State Patrol and port o potties? Or should the State pay?

Reply to the question  here.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Please contact me anytime with your questions or comments and visit our website at the link below and  follow me on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the links below. I look forward to working with you during the  2018 Georgia General Assembly, and I need your help and your support!!  In the meantime, I will continue to report on issues that may interest you, and welcome your suggestions on how this newsletter may better serve you.
  


Mary Margaret

mmo@mmolaw.com
Law Office (404) 377-0485
Legislative Office (404) 656-0265
http://marymargaretoliver.org/
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