Mary Margaret Oliver
Email Newsletter
March 12, 2017

Dear Friends,


As I have often said, we see strange things at the Capitol. An individual set up this tire sculpture in Liberty Plaza protesting the fact that the $1 tire disposal fee that we all pay is not being used for its intended purposes. Creative! 


We have completed Crossover Day and 31 days of the 40 day Session, and after this week, the pace and tensions grow steadily through Sine Die, which this year will be March 30.   Conflicts and differences on the major bills have yet to be resolved.


The 2018 Budget has not yet been passed by the Senate, but final negotiations are already ongoing between the two Chambers.  The Senate drafts on gun bills to expand gun carrying permits to college campuses are not yet public, but will be soon, and will pass the Senate.  Those of you who oppose expanding gun carrying permits to campuses should contact Governor Deal requesting a veto.  My HB 10 to ban assault type weapons was heard by the House Public Safety Committee but did not receive  a vote.




Survey Results and New Question



When a motorist flees a traffic stop and the Law Enforcement officer does not know why, should the officer follow in a possible high speed chase anywhere inside I 285? Take survey here. 



Several years ago, the General Assembly passed a law requiring all law enforcement agencies to adopt policies relative to  high-speed chases, and to investigate each incident that resulted in an injury to determine if policy had been followed. Based on a recent high profile Decatur death from a high speed chase that constituents questioned, I asked to see the Georgia Public Safety investigation report, which is an "open record".  The report reviewed the conduct of three different officers who participated in the chase that ended on Memorial Drive with two deaths, the runner and an innocent driver, from three different law enforcement agencies; and found that the second chasing officer did not turn on his lights or siren, but his conduct did not end in the accident.  The crash happened when the runner crossed the center line chased by the third officer.  The runner was first noticed on Capitol Hill when he was approached by an officer while dancing on the hood of his truck and repeatedly hitting the horn.  He was assumed to be impaired based on the observations of the initial officer.


Should a chase have been commenced and continued in an urban area?  What do you think?  Thank you for your views.


Last Survey Results:  When asked your opinion on

whether you would vote in a referendum to add a one-half penny sales tax to fund public transit in DeKalb, 85% of you voted YES.  Thank you.






New MMO Legislation  


I joined Representative Brian Strickland on HB 522 which will bar individuals from possessing guns who are restrained based on domestic violence protective orders, or convicted on domestic violence crimes.  This bill will not be voted on this Session, and will require advocacy support to pass in the 2018 Session.  All bills filed in 2017 are held over and eligible for  action in the 2018 Session. 


At the unanimous request of the Brookhaven City Council I have prepared local legislation to increase the city's hotel/motel tax from 5 to 8 percent to help fund the North Peachtree Fork Parkway for greenspace and bike paths to connect with the Beltline. 


I am preparing  legislation that will be introduced before Sine Die for Probate Court updates of bonds, training, and filling vacated offices that will be studied over the interim. 




Progress of MMO bills
SB 124 to create the Decatur Public Facilities Authority for the purpose of funding the purchase of the United Methodist Children's Home property has passed the House and is waiting on the Governor's signature.
HB 86 relating to required child abuse investigations for victims of Sex Trafficking has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee after two hearings, and I will be requesting calendaring from the Rules Committee for a final vote by the Senate.
HB 52 that allows family members to apply for TANF funds for children taken into their home was not allowed a hearing from the Juvenile Justice Committee, and I am looking for a vehicle to amend the provisions onto as bills go back and forth in the next two weeks. 



Tax Bills 
There has been much activity for  new tax provisions this Session.  Most significantly, Georgia's income tax of up to 6% with lower percentage categories for low income earners, has been amended to a "flat tax" of maximum 5.4%, with income tax rebates for the lowest income earners.  This bill, not yet finalized, results in greater tax burden on low income earners with the benefits going to the more well off. Will the Senate change these results?
Taxis and Limos pay sales tax, but UBER refuses to pay based on an argument the drivers are "not employees", are independent contractors and the drivers owe the tax and not UBER. No tax has been collected by Georgia for five years and negotiations are underway to enforce collections.  This will be a day 40 bill I predict. I voted yes for the House version.
The House has voted for tax credits for businesses retrofitting yachts ( I voted no)
and granted new tax benefits to musicians, attempting to  compete with Tennessee for more music business (I voted yes).  The "Gulch" will receive new tax  benefits based on an economic partnership with an unnamed developer.  A little mysterious, but many or most large development plans negotiated by the state involve existing or new tax benefits. 

Activities at Capitol and 82nd District


Many visitors this week!

Cliff Valley students lobbying for the Atlanta Community Food Bank in support of SB 172 providing a tax cut for Georgia's Working families.

Meeting with Tech students who marched from Tech to the Capitol protesting HB 51, the "campus rape" bill. I issued the Minority report when the bill was being discussed on the floor of the House. It is 13 minutes and you can watch it here. 

 A group from my church, All Saints Episcopal, came to the Capitol on New American Celebration Day sponsored by the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies and witnessed the naturalization ceremony for a dozen new citizens.

Thursday was Lupus Awareness Day at the Capitol and I was proud to stand with the supporters on the Capitol steps.  








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
Law Office (404) 377-0485
Legislative Office (404) 656-0265
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