Mary Margaret Oliver
Email Newsletter
December 8 , 2017

Dear Friends,


The 2018 General Assembly convenes 30 days from today, January 8, 2018, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and views on what we should tackle in the new year.  Many of my colleagues are running for Governor and other higher offices, and politics will be front and center.  Our forecasts, meaning high level gossip and predictions and guesses, anticipate a short Session without significant legislation.  But, I have been working on several issues since the 2017 Session adjourned and I am hopeful for some good policy and legislation progress.   I choose to be positive--please join me at the Capitol!




Emory Annexation
   On December 4th, the Atlanta City Council approved the annexation of 744 acres of the Emory campus, CDC, CHOA, and a few other small parcels into the City of Atlanta.  This annexation was accomplished legally by the "100 % Method", meaning only the property owners and the city needed to approve the annexation, and the residents on the campus or surrounding the annexed areas had no vote.  There are over 2,000  registered voters on the campus, mainly students, and they will vote in future Atlanta elections.  Negotiations between Emory, DeKalb County, and the City of Atlanta were successful on several issues,  particularly continued fire service to the annexed area by DeKalb Fire Department, and payments for this service by Atlanta.  But,  a major dispute arose just prior to the Atlanta City Council vote when the city backed out of an  agreement that the 10 children living on the campus and attending Fernbank and Druid Hills would be allowed to remain in DeKalb Schools.  The stability for these children, and for the future possible annexations , and the loss of 2.3 million dollars of DeKalb tax dollars to Atlanta, were important in the planning and negotiations.  At present, I am looking at ways to address this last minute sabotage by Atlanta Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and Mayor Kasim Reed.  A good faith agreement was set aside with minimal notice, and represents bad faith--just saying.

Commission on Transit Governance and Funding

I was appointed by Speaker Ralston to the Transit Study Commission, chaired by Representative Kevin Tanner.  This Commission is meeting across the state, and will make recommendations on governance and funding.  For the first time in my long political career, I believe the state leadership is supporting expanding transit options, and is serious about how to create the way to do it in our large state, with over 100 different local transit systems, most of which are small. Our focus has to be on ways to create relief for the Atlanta metro area first.  I anticipate this discussion to be on the front burner for the 2018 elections.  You can review all the materials from the public hearings conducted by the Transit Commission  here. 


Court Reform Council


I was appointed by Governor Deal to the Court Reform Council,  chaired by Attorney General Chris Carr.  The Commission was given three issues to address--sovereign immunity, expansion of Business Courts, and reforms for the Administrative Procedures Act.  The Council report is available here and I predict the Governor will come forward with legislation for all three issues. 



Decatur Sanctuary City Attacks by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

As you have probably followed  in the news, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, running for Governor, is targeting Decatur for political purposes, for being a "sanctuary city"--a legally false accusation.  I told Casey that he was benefiting only the lawyers who must fight this charge, and that I would give  $100.00 -- personally and not for his campaign--if he found any undocumented criminals in Decatur.  He laughed , but I was serious. I am concerned we will spend more time on this unfortunate non-issue.            



Pre-Legislative Activities

For those of you who are my Facebook friends, you know that I send posts on many of my legislative activities, and I also tweet.  Please join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Among the many activities of this fall, I have enjoyed the most are reading to the pre-K students at the Clairmont Childcare Center attending an event to honor Sally Yates--go Sally!! -- and participating in WIN events that helped elect six new women to the House and Senate including lawyers Deborah Gonzalez from Clarke County and Jen Jordan from Buckhead and Smryna--Congratulations and welcome!   I am delighted with these new young and energetic faces, with strong resumes, and will be saying more about these successful   campaigns and changes in the demographics of the General Assembly in the future. 


Other activities include pre-filing of HB 650 relating to governance of confederate monuments, like the one in Downtown Decatur and HB 651 to ban bump stock devices on assault weapons. As we get into the session, I will give you more detail. Speaking to many statewide and district groups--today was Decatur Rotary and next Tuesday, December 12,  will be Voices for Georgia's Children.  Please join me at any of these events, and tell me what issues are of most concern to you!  


And the fishing has been good this Fall on Fightin' Town Creek (full disclosure-I did not catch this).  


Thank you for your interest and Happy Holidays!! And Henry is enjoying the Holiday season with his new hobby - Basset Bocce Ball! 










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