APN Candidate Q&A: State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver
(APN) ATLANTA — In our continuing coverage of the upcoming May 2016 Partisan Primary and Nonpartisan General Elections in Georgia, this article contains the answers to the Atlanta Progressive News Candidate Questionnaire by State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur).
State Rep. Oliver, a native Georgian from DeKalb County, served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1987 to 1992 and was then elected to the State Senate, where she served three terms.
In July 1998, Oliver left the State Senate to run for the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor, finishing first in the Primary, ahead of six Democratic challengers. She lost in a runoff to the second place finisher, Mark Taylor, who went on to serve as Lt. Governor for eight years.
In 2003, Oliver was elected to the House where she continues to serve, representing the 82nd District.
As previously reported by APN, she is facing a Primary challenger by Brian Westlake, a school teacher who previously sought the Democratic nomination for School Superintendent.
Westlake has taken issue with several controversial votes, including, as acknowledged by Rep. Oliver below, her support for the upcoming Opportunity School District referendum.
However, Oliver points to her decades of experience working on many issues of importance to Georgians, including most recently, juvenile justice, criminal justice reform, and child welfare.
Oliver was appointed by the Supreme Court of Georgia to the Committee on Justice for Children, and by Speaker David Ralston to the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform and Child Welfare Reform Commission.
Oliver’s legislative accomplishments have included authoring and passing Georgia’s anti-stalking law, along with legislation to protect neighborhood activists from intimidation.
In recent years, she successfully sponsored a bill expanding the definition of mandated reporters of child abuse, and legal recognition of post adoption custody agreements.
Oliver’s responses to the APN questionnaire are as follows:
DO YOU BELIEVE ALL HOUSE AND SENATE COMMITTEES SHOULD KEEP MINUTES INCLUDING A RECORD OF ALL VOTES, YEAS, NAYS, AND ABSTENTIONS; AND THAT THOSE MINUTES SHOULD BE MADE PUBLIC? DO YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL IDEAS FOR TRANSPARENCY AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS?
Yes. My votes on amendment to open records and open meetings are on the side of transparency.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON NUCLEAR POWER?
Mixed position, voted no to SB 31: Georgia Nuclear Energy Financing Act of 2009-10 Regular Session.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS, IF ANY, TO EXPAND WIND AND SOLAR IN GEORGIA?
Voted for expansions set forth in legislation for solar. I am against wind farms off Georgia’s coast.
WOULD YOU SUPPORT REDUCING PETITION REQUIREMENTS FOR INDEPENDENT AND POLITICAL BODY (MINOR PARTY) CANDIDATES FROM THE CURRENT ONE PERCENT STATEWIDE, FIVE PERCENT NON-STATEWIDE REQUIREMENT? IF SO, WHAT SHOULD THE NEW REQUIREMENT BE, IF ANY?
WOULD YOU SUPPORT ADDING A VOTER VERIFIABLE PAPER AUDIT TRAIL TO ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS IN GEORGIA?
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON THE REFERENDUM TO CREATE A STATEWIDE OPPORTUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT TO TAKE OVER SO-CALLED “FAILING” SCHOOLS?
Voted yes. I am happy to discuss Georgia’s failure to support education for children in low-income families and schools.
DO YOU SUPPORT AN EXPANDED MEDICAL CANNABIS PROGRAM (IN-STATE CULTIVATION, FULL PLANT MEDICINE, EXPANDED LIST OF CONDITIONS)? DO YOU SUPPORT DECRIMINALIZATION (NON-MEDICAL)? DO YOU SUPPORT LEGALIZATION (NON-MEDICAL)?
I support cultivation and expanded list of conditions. I support reduction of criminal charges for possession. Do not support legalization.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON CITYHOOD AND ANNEXATION IN GENERAL? DO YOU BELIEVE GEORGIA’S CITYHOOD AND ANNEXATION LAWS SHOULD BE CHANGED? IF SO, HOW?
Support significant changes in process, support petition process.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON THE PROPOSALS FOR NEW CITIES IN DEKALB COUNTY, SUCH AS STONECREST AND GREENHAVEN?
Voted yes on Stonecrest, would have voted no on Greenhaven.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON THE PROPOSED CITY OF SOUTH FULTON?
DO YOU SUPPORT GMO LABELING?
DO YOU SUPPORT ANY OF THE RECENT PROPOSALS REDUCING THE EARLY VOTING PERIOD, OR ALLOWING LOCAL JURISDICTIONS FLEXIBILITY TO REDUCE EARLY VOTING?
[Editor’s note: In 2014, Rep. Oliver voted in support of HB 891, a bill that would have allowed some local jurisdictions the flexibility to have a shorter early voting period.]
DO YOU SUPPORT A U.S. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE CITIZENS UNITED RULING, CLARIFYING THE ABILITY OF CONGRESS TO REGULATE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS? (THE STATE COULD EITHER CALL FOR SUCH AN AMENDMENT BY RESOLUTION OR CALL FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION)