Mary Margaret Oliver
Email Newsletter
March 2, 2019

Dear Friends,


We have completed 25 days of the 2019 General Assembly Session, and Crossover Day is next Thursday, March 7,   BTW, my birthday, which will be "celebrated" at the Capitol from early morning until close to midnight.  Crossover Day is day 28 of the calendar, and the last day that a bill has to pass one chamber, and be eligible for final passage in 2019.  Since the 2019 Session started very slowly with a new Governor, 40 newly elected freshmen, and a break for the Super Bowl, the normal work pace has not been followed and more major bills have been introduced late this week, causing extra tensions and late nights.  I was in the Judiciary Committee until after 8 pm this week twice.  


Lupus Awareness Day at the Capitol. Sold purple capes and half the legislators bought and wore! 

DeKalb and City of Atlanta Delegations
I am a member of both the DeKalb County and City of Atlanta delegations, and both have legislative packages that require my attention and work.  For DeKalb, SB 53 and SB 7 have passed the Senate and I am serving on two Subcommittees of the House delegation, one for each bill. 
SB 53 creates procedures for school systems whose boundaries change based on annexations, and is drawn specifically for DeKalb, Decatur, and Atlanta School Districts.   As you know, the Emory Annexation into Atlanta has been stalled and became controversial following a change in the original agreement that the school district boundary would not change along with the city boundary so the few school children living on the Emory campus could continue to attend Fernbank and Druid Hills.  The subcommittee passed out SB 53, and will soon be on the House Local Government calendar for a House vote. 
SB 7, which amends the DeKalb Ethics Commission in order to comply with the Georgia Supreme Court's opinion relative to appointment of Ethics Commission members, is not yet progressing.  Vernon Jones and Pam Stephenson are Co-Chairs of the Subcommittee for SB 7, and have not allowed a vote or produced a substitute bill or shown any evidence of moving toward a resolution.  We have time to complete our task, but the time and energy spent to slow any progress is hard to understand.
The City of Atlanta is fighting the Senate bill for the state to take over ownership of the airport, and offering legislation regarding amendments to the TAD law to assist in development of affordable housing. 
The proposed new cities of Greenhaven and Vista Grove have active proponents, but have not yet found any member of the DeKalb delegation to sponsor their legislation, and the days left for action are few.  My constituents who live in four cities in DeKalb, and would be impacted by additional new cities or left as an island alone in unincorporated DeKalb, have very mixed views, and views contrary to each other.
HB 228 Raising the Age to Marry
I was approached in the fall about the issue of forced marriages or marriages of sixteen year olds to much older spouses, and in context of alleged abuse. R. Kelly type facts?   I am a co-sponsor of HB 228 which passed the House this week, and I spoke for its passage on the House floor.  Would you vote to raise the age to consent to marriage to 17 and require Juvenile Court approval and counseling , eliminating the right of 16 year olds to marry?  You can read the entire 228 bill, or any other bill that interests you, on the General Assembly web site here.

Chief Justice Harold Melton gave his State of the Judiciary report to a joint session of the House and Senate.  
 Budget Improvements
The House passed the 2020 $27 billion budget this week, and I was very pleased the final version contained two specific additions I advocated for in the Human Services subcommittee.

Family caregivers for abused children in DFCS custody, usually low income grandmothers, receive less per diem support than licensed foster care parents. The House Budget gives these family caregivers a one dollar per day per diem increase, totaling $2.6 million per year. You can read this article in The Chronicle of Social Change for more information on the increase.

Also, I have asked repeatedly what happened to the designated fees added to marriage license applications and divorce filing fees 30 years ago that were approved by the voters to fund the Children's Trust  Fund, after the CTF was eliminated by Sonny Perdue.  The budget legislation specifically requires an answer.  Both these additions and the entire budget will now be reviewed by the Senate, a conference committee will be appointed, and final budget vote will be taken.  I will be working with the Senate budget leaders to keep my additions in the document, but I am very happy these two issues are being addressed. 


Survey Results and New Question

In our last newsletter we asked if you would be willing to pay a 4% tax on streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu with those tax revenues used to expand  broadband in rural Georgia. Your answer:
                       YES     46%
                       NO     54%
Sample comments:
"...Increase the tax on Internet Service Providers, but not on streaming services. ISPs are more directly linked to the desired goal..."
"Ensure the law requires any $$ raised MUST be used for its intended purpose..."
"...I'd rather see the cable companies taking more ownership of this problem..."
"Paid media streaming is a service that should be taxable regardless of source or platform."
Note: The streaming tax has been eliminated as of now--too much opposition.

This Newsletter Question

Do you support SB 131which will allow the State of Georgia to take over Hartsfield Jackson Airport from the City of Atlanta?

To take the survey click here.

Georgia WINList held a luncheon honoring the newly elected women legislators with special guest, Lucy McBath, newly elected 7th District Congressional Representative.

I was happy to have Charlie McAdoo page for me one day and welcome Dr. Stephen Holbrook of Decatur as Doctor of the Day.
Please contact me any time with your questions or comments. Visit my website at the link below and  follow me on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the links below. Also, please consider how you might want to volunteer and join me in the 2019 Session--would your child like to page, would you like to follow a particular committee or bill for me?   Would you like to visit with me as my guest on the House floor? 

I look forward to working with you again during the  2019 Georgia General Assembly.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST!
Mary Margaret
Law Office (404) 377-0485
Legislative Office (404) 656-0265
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