Mary Margaret Oliver
Email Newsletter
February 26, 2017
Dear Friends,

You see strange costumes at the Capitol. These mermaids were dressed in plastic waste to bring attention to the pollution of our seas.

We have completed 24 days of the 2017 General Assembly Session, and we have 16 days to go until Sine Die on March 30th.  This week ends with "crossover day", the last day a bill can pass either Chamber and be eligible to pass this year.  The rules were changed this year to move up crossover day to day 28, instead of day 30, and we will probably be in Session until midnight this Friday night.  My experience is that crossover day is very pressured and tense, and likely to pass highly problematic/bad legislation that gratefully will not become law when cooler heads understand the substantive and political consequences.

For instance, bills that now have a chance to pass by crossover day and be considered for 2017,  include HB 51 and several anti-immigrant proposals.   HB 51 requires that all sexual assault allegations for offenses occurring on college campuses must go directly to law enforcement  and not be investigated or resolved by campus administrations.  If this bill passes, it will probably violate federal law Title IX, and discourage any students from reporting a sexual assault.  HB 51 will be heard by the Appropriations Committee--odd committee assignment-- on Monday, at 2:00 pm in Room 341, and you may view it online on the General Assembly live streaming.  An anti-immigrant bill proposes to stamp all drivers' licenses with "non citizen" for those legally residing Georgians if they have not obtained citizenship.  The purpose of this bill is unclear.  Stay tuned--it will be a high action week! 

Survey Results and New Question


In our last newsletter, you voted against requiring drivers' licenses to be stamped as "non-citizen" for non-United States citizens by 83% to 17%.  Thank you for your votes!


SURVEY QUESTION--If you were given a chance to vote, would you vote for an additional half-penny sales tax for public transit?  City of Atlanta voted YES on a related question that included other public transportation options.       


Please take survey by clicking here. 





New MMO Legislation  


I joined Representative Jeff Jones from the coast as co-sponsor of HB 387 and HB 388 to provide additional protections for water resources from coal ash being dumped into waste treatment facilities.  A hearing was held on these two bills on Thursday, and they have not yet moved forward.  This effort is bipartisan, and based in part on a controversy of North Carolina produced coal ash being brought to a dump site near Jesup. I am hoping for progress because I have introduced coal ash legislation in the past, and visited a coal ash pond with Public Service Commissioner Chuck Eaton.  

 Good work is being done on these bills by the Altamaha Riverkeepers, and I am proud to I serve on its Board.


This year's Criminal Justice Reform legislation was introduced this week----HB 174, HB 175, and HB 176, and focuses, in part,  on reducing the numbers of Georgians on probation.  Georgia exceeds other states' probation numbers dramatically, and the reform measures will result in closer supervision of more dangerous offenders who have been released from prison. 




Progress of MMO bills


HB 86 passed the House this week, and moves forward to the Senate.  This bill needs passage in 2017 based on the federal mandate to require specific investigations and data collection on victims of sexual trafficking who are minors.


HB 52 has been denied a hearing by the Chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee for inexplicable reasons.  I am looking for other options to pass the provisions by amendment on another bill.


HB 10,  legislation to ban assault type weapons and large capacity magazines and "cop killer" bullets, was presented to a Public Safety subcommittee.  The committee was cool to hostile, and other  bills providing for campus carry and permitless carry provisions easily passed with only NO vote, from the lone Democrat on the subcommittee. VERY DISCOURAGING, and not what Georgia voters want.



Budget Bills 


The  Governor has signed the 2017 Supplemental Budget bill, and the Fiscal Year 2018 bill passed the House, and is now being examined by the Senate.  One of my ongoing budget tasks is to make sure the new appropriations for autism treatment stay in the budget, particularly for the Emory autism services that are being expanded.  I will also be monitoring closely the per diem increases granted to foster care parents.  These are a high priority throughout the remaining days of the Session.



Activities at Capitol and 82nd District


This week I visited with the DeKalb CAN Board, appeared on GPB Lawmakers to discuss HB 10 and other gun legislation, and joined a panel for Leadership DeKalb.  The Leadership DeKalb program was titled "Ethics--The Slippery Slope" and was moderated by Ken Foskette from the AJC, and included Judge Dax Lopez, Lianne Levetan, and Solicitor Donna Coleman-Stribling.


For Aids Day, constituent Chuck DeLozier, came to the Capitol to introduce himself--exactly what advocates can do to highlight issues


and Torah Day School 8th graders came for a tour and visit and had their picture made with the Governor.  

Chairman Wendell Willard and I co-sponsored HR 219 honoring the life of our friend Judge Willie Lovett. Family and colleagues from the Fulton County Juvenile Court came down to the Capitol to be recognized and receive the resolution.


I had dinner with Ophthalmology medical residents, and encouraged all of them to stay in Georgia when they complete training. And, most fun, was hearing David Brooks at the Atlanta History Center!








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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