Mary Margaret Oliver
Email Newsletter
September 28, 2018

Campaigns Heating Up--VOTE  EARLY!!

November 6th!   Many of my friends and constituents are working for candidates, both state and national.  Come join us on the voter registration and canvassing efforts, make sure you are registered by checking the voter web site here and find new voters to register before October 9, the last day a citizen can register and vote November 6th. 


This year, all prognosticators predict the state-wide contest for Governor will be close.  More than ever, every vote counts, and remember that a Libertarian candidate is running for Governor.  Statistically, a third party candidate will receive 1% to 3% of the vote, and my fear is that neither Stacey Abrams nor Brian Kemp will receive 50% plus one of the overall vote, and a runoff will be required.  PLEASE VOTE!  Early voting begins October 15.


Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot Nov. 6


There are five constitutional amendments and two referenda on your November 6th ballot.   Click here to review the details of each Amendment, including the specific ballot question. I am voting YES for each Amendment, and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.  There are two Amendments that are a priority for me, and I ask for your favorable vote  on Amendments 1 and 2.


Amendment 1, if passed, provides for 80% of sales tax collected on sporting equipment to be specially designated  into a Stewardship Land Fund for purchase of land to be protected for conservation, water source protections,  and wilderness.  This designated appropriation,  allowed only by constitutional amendment, will provide annually estimated  $20 million for the next ten years for additional land conservation.


Amendment 2 creates a Business Court for court filed disputes over $1,000,000.  Business Courts exist currently in Fulton and Gwinnett County, and have worked well as a specialty court for high dollar cases.  Jury trials are preserved as an absolute right, and Business Court judges would be appointed for five year terms.  The Judiciary Committees and State Bar vetted this proposal closely, and like the accountability courts that exist statewide, there are efficiencies and better service that can be achieved with specially focused courts.





Summer Committee Work


I was appointed by Speaker Ralston to  the Transportation Governance and Funding Committee in 2017, and in the 2018 Session the General Assembly passed HB 930.  This bill  creates the path for Gwinnett County citizens vote for transit and join MARTA in the newly named ATL ten county regional transit system.  The Gwinnett vote is set for March, 2019, although many of us supporting transit hoped for a vote on November 6.    Cobb County also has an opportunity to join MARTA and the newly named ATL, but has not yet made a decision or scheduled a  vote.  There is a great deal of activity ongoing under HB 930, particularly in connection with the election this fall of the ATL Board that will oversee planning and funding for creation of a comprehensive  regional transit system.  These steps toward a functional regional transit system are being implemented and represent real progress.


During this summer of 2018, the Transit Commission has continued to meet to create additional transit options for rural transit.  The taxpayers, through federal funding, now provide transportation services for veterans, disabled and elderly citizens.  Many smaller counties and cities have independent transit systems funded through bonds, and we are focusing on ways to coordinate these funding streams that enhance mobility for work, education and medical services. Uber and Lyft vendors are part of the discussion, and the Commission will issue a report and recommendations in December, 2018, and hopefully there will be action in the 2019 Session.


Another major transit issue that is relevant this week is the MARTA plan to spend $2.5 billion for transit generated by the City of Atlanta vote in November, 2017  to add a penny of sales tax.  The Emory corridor is part of the spending plan, but other projects are also competing for funds, and next week the  MARTA Board will vote to spend $350 million for the Emory Corridor Light Rail from the Lindbergh Station to the Emory Campus, and not the $503 million price tag. 


My House budget subcommittee and Science and Technology committee have also met this summer on specific issues.  The Human Services Budget sub-committee is reviewing and discussing the growth and policy issues for the newly created (newly in the last 6 years), college programs for developmentally disabled young adults.  This program,   offered now in  six colleges and one technical school, is growing fast, and the costs vary from school to school.  How do we evaluate results--only based on achievement of a degree and a job?  This discussion is ongoing. 


DeKalb County and City Issues  


There are continuing efforts  for expansions of exsiting cities and new cities in DeKalb, and last year's annexation of 743 acres of the Emory, CDC and CHOA properties into the city of Atlanta is now  in Iitigation on multiple fronts.  A Fulton Superior Court Judge enjoined the Atlanta annexation of Emory based on a finding the  City Council violated procedures on  bringing a bill or ordinance to the Council for a vote, and the Council has not corrected the errors and voted again.    The school children in Villa International did not transfer from Fernbank Elementary to City of Atlanta Schools at the beginning of the 2018-19 School Term. 


North and northeast of Emory, both LaVista Park  and Lenox Park neighborhoods have stated desires to be annexed into the City of Brookhaven, and will pursue the 60% method annexation which does not require action of the General Assembly.  If these annexations happen, Brookhaven will be DeKalb's largest city.  All of the mayors of existing cities are discussing and some are negotiating with each other for additional annexations.  Non-stop activity that represents a very fluid map.



Henry is not worried about the November 6 election since he is already King of the Decatur Adair dog park!  Dog parks have their own unique political culture.
Summer was great--travel on the Danube River in Austria
and kayaking down the Oconee River were highlights





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 specific election endorsements and 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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