Mary Margaret Oliver
Email Newsletter

February 15, 2019

Dear Friends,

The 2019 General Assembly has completed 16 days of the 40 day Session, and House Resolution 152 has set our calendar for the remaining days.  Crossover Day, when bills must pass out of each Chamber to be considered in the other, is March 7, and Sine Die is April 2!  We are now in full work mode, and the Governor's bills for purchase of the new voting machines, HB 316, and Medicaid Waivers, SB 116, have  been introduced, and serious debate has begun.  We have not seen any bills yet about the Governor's views on Criminal Justice Reform.

And, predictably and unfortunately, we are engaged in local delegation disputes within the DeKalb delegation and with other jurisdictions.  Please give me your opinions on any issue that interests you.  Thank you!

DeKalb Delegation   
The DeKalb Senate delegation has passed   both SB 7 and SB 53, and I am on the House delegation subcommittees to review these two bills, both of which are causing discussion and opposition.
SB 7 amends the composition of the DeKalb Ethics Commission to bring it into compliance with the Georgia Supreme Court case brought by Sharon Barnes Sutton.   The Supreme Court ruled that members  of the Ethics Commission may not be appointed by non-elected individuals or entities.  For instance, Leadership DeKalb or the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce may not directly make an appointment to the Commission, and SB 7 creates a new appointment process as follows:  Two members shall be appointed by the DeKalb House delegation, two by the DeKalb Senate delegation, one by the DeKalb Probate Judge, one by the Chief  Superior Court Judge, and one by the County Commission.   On February 20, at 2:00 PM, the DeKalb delegation will discuss SB 7 in Room 514 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building.  I support SB 7, and want it enacted  and signed by the Governor ASAP to bring the current Ethics Commission into full powers and operations. What do you think?  
SB 53 sponsored by Senators Emanuel Jones and Elena Parent creates  a process by which annexations can happen by cities who have independent school districts, and is specifically designed for Atlanta and DeKalb where the two independent school districts of Atlanta and Decatur exist.   The detailed process, which is a little complicated, will prevent the dispute existing today between Atlanta and the DeKalb School Districts over Atlanta's annexation of the 743 acres of the Emory campus.  I support an effort to create a solution to the current problem that does exist relating to annexations by the City of Atlanta and the financial injury that is impacting the DeKalb School district.   We will continue to discuss and hopefully pass HB 53 to help resolve the current litigation and pain that exists between Atlanta  and DeKalb Schools. Stay tuned.  


Atlanta Delegation   
I am a new member of the Atlanta delegation based on the Emory annexation into Atlanta,  and being introduced to issues to Atlanta  TADS, homestead and tax issues, and the litigation of the Fulton County Industrial  District--among many others.  New territory which gives me a vote on Atlanta issues. 


House Democrat Caucus Activities on Medicaid Expansion, Gun Safety, and Election Reform    
The House Democratic Caucus is organized newly in 2019 to focus on major issues of Medicaid Expansion, Gun Safety and Election Reform.  For each area, packages of bills are drafted and introduced, and as part of the Gun Safety  Committee, I filed this week HB 289 to ban bump fire stocks. As part of the Election  Reform and Medicaid Expansion Caucus activities, additional legislation will be introduced next week to advance a bipartisan debate on the  major issues of this year.  I am pleased and supportive of this year's Minority Party strategies to develop not only a public debate and also real solutions.    


Survey Results and New Question

In our last newsletter, we asked if the time allotted for early voting should be reduced.
Respondents answered as follows:
YES      13%
NO       87%
Sample comments:
"Voting needs to be made easier, not more difficult!"
"Shorten to 2 weeks. Too much happens near campaigns end that could change a vote..."
"...3 wks. is a huge expense."
"If anything, the time for early voting should be lengthened, NOT shortened!!"
"Hell no..." 
This newsletter question:
Legislation is being considered that would call for a 4% tax on the bills of streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. Comcast and similar services already include a 4% tax. The revenue generated by this tax would be used to expand broadband coverage in rural Georgia. Do you approve of this tax and its proposed use?  
Take the survey by clicking  here.

MMO Continuing Work on Multiple Issues

I have reported earlier on juvenile justice issues of forced marriage of minors, shackling of children in court, and expanded jurisdiction of Juvenile Court to include 17-year olds. This week I co-sponsored and introduced HB 228 to prohibit marriage of 17 year olds without court review  and today filed a bill prohibiting shackling of children in court without specific findings of danger. I will report on future hearings and progress of these bills and hopefully progress on the Raise the Age bill for Juvenile Court jurisdiction. The Juvenile Justice Committee Chair, Mandi Ballinger, has promised to sponsor. Thank you for your interest! 


Valentine's Day was Refugee Day at the Capitol and I was happy to greet students from the Global Village School in downtown Decatur.
It was great  to have students from Renfroe Middle School paging for me.  
And, believe it or not, I visited with 4-H members from DeKalb County! These young women attend Globe Academy and I was so pleased that they came down to the Capitol.

It was a treat  hearing Nina Totenberg speak at a program at Emory Law School sponsored by WABE.

And I was pleased to attend an event sponsored by the American Constitution Society honoring Leah Ward Sears and Stacey Abrams. This was the night after Stacey gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union.
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.  My next newsletters will focus more on issues we will face in the 2019 Session!  THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST!
Mary Margaret
Law Office (404) 377-0485
Legislative Office (404) 656-0265
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