Mary Margaret Oliver
Email Newsletter
February 25, 2018


THE MOMS DEMAND ACTION rally drew a huge crowd, and was a great showing for support for reducing gun violence and passing legislation that can save lives!  Thank you for everyone who attended!  And,  no thank you is owed to Steve Stancil and the Georgia Building Authority that refused to allow microphone and power in Liberty Plaza to the organizers--way bad!

Crossover Day--Wednesday, Feb 28th
We have completed 26 days of the 2018 General Assembly Session, and Wednesday this week is Crossover Day--the last day a bill can pass one Chamber and be eligible for final passage in the other Chamber this year.  Much drama and tension, and I am working to get  bills on the House calendar and win favorable votes.  I highlight a few of these bills, and you are free to watch us live, up until we adjourn late in the night,  on the General Assembly web site.
--HB 605 is the Hidden Predator Act extending the statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault as children to bring legal actions as adults.  I am the second signer on this legislation to improve on the progress we made in 2015, and a hearing is scheduled Monday morning at 9 am.
--HB 745 allows a domestic violence victim to terminate her lease if a TRO has been entered against an abuser.  I am co-sponsor.
--HB 630, 738,  837, and 966 are bills I have introduced and previously reported on relating to probate procedures, rights of rape victims, and shackling of children in Juvenile Courts.  These bills are in various stages of limbo, but still have chances for votes and progress through creative amendments. Stay tuned.
Transportation Bill


Other than the state budget, the most important bill of 2018 might be the Transportation bill, HB 930, which creates a regional transportation entity, the ATL, for governance and funding authority in 13 metro counties where 11 different transit authorities operate--including MARTA.  HB 930 has not yet been voted out of the Transportation Committee, but I anticipate a House floor vote on Wednesday, and significant impact for DeKalb County.




Gun Bills  

There is hope this week for positive action on HB 541, 657,and SB 99 which offer solutions to real problems with gaps in our gun laws.  HB 541 closes the gaps in definitions of domestic violence offenses that prevent a convicted offender from purchasing a gun.  This is already federal law, but Georgia is not up to date on compliance, based on definition of offenses.  SB 99 will repeal the law that   requires a purging every five years of mental commitment records maintained by Probate Courts.  These records are necessary to conduct background checks for gun purchases, and Georgia is the only state that allows  such a purging--1000's of records wiped off the books every year!   HB 657 creates a felony offense for someone who sells or give his gun to a convicted felon, and this bill has already passed the House. 


HB 10, banning assault weapons, and HB 651 prohibiting bumpstocks have been ignored by the Republican leadership.  Disappointing to say the least.                         




Governmental Affairs  Committee Debacle


A weird partisan stunt was allowed in the Government Affairs Committee this week that is hard to explain.  A bill that had been introduced on Tuesday, that was not on a Wednesday committee  agenda, or included in the committee folder, was brought forward for a vote by the Chair. HB 961 introduced by the two Republican DeKalb representatives, Taylor and Hansen, was voted out to eliminate the DeKalb County CEO form of government--no notice to the public, the delegation, or the County elected officials.  The exercise of raw power, against committee rules and practice, to make a partisan statement for no substantive gain makes us all look bad. Even if you prefer a county manager form of government for DeKalb, which I do, partisan wedge votes and actions make progress less likely. The AJC had a good article on this stunt. 


Survey results and New Question


I am very glad  that 100's of you choose to record your vote and opinion with my newsletter  survey.  Thank you.      


In the last newsletter, you voted  55% to use the predicted state tax "windfall"  from the new federal tax law to fund needed services rather that create new tax reductions. The tax bill moving through the Legislature will cut the income tax rate from 6% to 5.75%, so the "windfall" will be given back. 




Should the Transit Bill include a provision that allows DeKalb County to vote by referendum to add a one-half penny of sales tax for transit funding?


Reply to survey here. 



Activities --

We are pleased this year to have Naomi Marshall interning with us. Naomi is British (parents live in England, went to school in Scotland) and a graduate of the University of St. Andrews. She is currently a Robert T. Jones scholar at Emory working toward her Masters in Bioethics. She has been accepted, and we hope she will stay, into the Emory PhD program in her field of Social Anthropology. Emory's competition is only Oxford and we hope that Spring in Atlanta will win her over! She is a bright, delightful young woman and we are happy to have her working with us.



Chief Justice Harris Hines gave the State of the Judiciary this week at the Capitol

and we were happy to be visited at the Capitol by a group from Decatur High School


And the best news is that Spring has come to the Capitol (and they closed off Mitchell St. so that we don't have to take our lives in our hands as we go from the Capitol to the Legislative Office Building). 



I am busy!  Please come join me at the Capitol for one committee meeting or for all day.  You are welcome!








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
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