Mary Margaret Oliver
Email Newsletter
January 16, 2017



"The time is always right to do what is right."


Martin Luther King, Jr.




Above is a picture I took of my Congressman John Lewis in NYC last year as he was being interviewed by David Remnick, Editor of The New Yorker magazine.  The audience was national, mostly from outside the South, and was in awe of a gentleman who has served us all with dignity and courage.  No matter how often the interviewer tried to elicit criticism of others, Congressman Lewis was consistently positive about "our beloved community".  It was a lesson in class that is even more meaningful this week considering PEOTUS's petty personal tweet attack against John and my neighborhood and hometown.  Our collective response and support for Congressman Lewis has been inspiring.


In celebrating the Martin Luther King, Jr. National holiday, may we all be particularly grateful  for John Lewis.  Thank you, Congressman Lewis for your six decades of sacrifices and service.





Our most important job for any Session is passage of two state budgets, which are introduced and debated procedurally, as are all bills.  First, after receiving the Governor's proposed Amended Fiscal Year 2017 Budget, and Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, we conduct public hearings, have Committee and House votes,  and begin negotiations with the Senate and the Governor towards final passage.  Tomorrow morning beginning at 10:00 am, the Governor will address the Appropriations Committee, on which I serve, and will be followed by the state Economist, who works in a fiscal analysis department of Georgia State University. 


The State Economist will give his opinion and analysis of the projected state tax revenues for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2017, which ends June 30, 2017, and for Fiscal Year 2018.   You can watch the Governor's Committee presentation and the State Economist revenue projections live on the Georgia House of Representatives website beginning at 10:00 AM tomorrow morning.  The Committee will continue to hear Agency Leaders' budget requests the remainder of Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday morning.  Please join us from your home or office and tell me where you agree and disagree with the budget proposals.


For the first time in my long political career, our revenues include over a two billion dollar reserve.  Much of this reserve will be used to fund the 181 School Districts based on the specific enrollments for children who came to school in August, fill the annual Medicaid "hole", and fund our statutory reserve funds.  However, there is additional money to spend this year, and I am particularly pleased the Governor is proposing a 19% average salary increase for Child Welfare workers.  This substantial salary increase will help reduce the 34% turnover rate that results in approximately 500 vacancies every day.  We must reduce this turnover, fill the jobs of those who are protecting children from abuse and neglect,  and this salary increase is a start. 


I will report further on our budget talks, and invite you to give me your opinions on the suggested spending increases. What would you fund or cut differently?  As always, I want your views.  Thank you!


MMO 2017 Legislation


I introduced two bills this week, HB 52 and HB 53, and will report on the purpose and progress of these bills throughout this Session. 


HB 53 raises the age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction to age 17.  Currently under Georgia law, all 17 year olds are treated as adults for purposes of criminal prosecution, and only six states remain that so treat minors as adults.  This reform is necessary to reduce unnecessary incarcerations for non-violent offenses and the lifelong barrier of having a mug shot and criminal record. 


HB 52 corrects a minor gap in the law that prevents low income relatives of applying for TANF  benefits for children they have voluntarily taken into their homes and have legal custody.   This gap further impoverishes grandparents who are rescuing children from neglectful homes, doing the right thing, and are not being supported financially. 


More to  come later on HB 10 related to Assault type weapon bans, along with other legislative projects. Please let me know if you have questions about any of my legislative actions.




House District 82 Activities-Legislative Session Events


Please join me at the Capitol anytime for a visit and tour, or to share your views.  Also, you are invited to the following events where I am speaking and participating:


January 17, 2017--I am joining a panel sponsored by VOICES on Children's budget and legislative proposals.   1:00 to 3:00 pm, Blue Room of Freight Depot.


January 19, 2017--Leadership DeKalb,  9:15 am, State Capitol, Room 230.




January 24, 2017--Presbyterians for Better Georgia Panel on Gun Violence and other social justice issues.  6:30 to 8:30 PM Central Presbyterian Church.


January 25, 2017-- Emory LaVista Parent Council, 9:00 AM, Hawthorne Elementary School. 


February 1, 2017--Georgia Retirees Reception for legislators, 5:00 to 7:00 pm, Empire Room, Floyd Building.


February 1, 2017--Glenn Memorial Wednesday Night supper for Legislative Update, 6:00 pm, Glenn Memorial Fellowship Hall.



MMO Team


My Chief of Staff, Carroll Sterne and I will be joined this session with two great additions to staff.



 Donald Miller is a 20 year Emory Hospital Chaplain who has decided on a career shift and is currently enrolled in the Emory Bio- Ethics Masters Program. His experience in the healthcare field will be invaluable to us as we will be dealing with many healthcare bills this session. Welcome, Donald.



 Andy Rhodes has an interest in policy and has been very helpful to us compiling research on gun violence. He has a full time tech job and will be working with us two days a week. Welcome, Andy.  


  Most important is my staff focus group---puppy Henry and Sam. They were more interested in 101 Dalmatians this weekend, but I am trying to elicit their views on several issues!  








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  2017 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
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Legislative Office (404) 656-0265
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