It was another busy week at the Capitol for days 5-9 of the 2020 legislative session. Today, the Fulton County delegation and the City of Atlanta delegation (I am a member of both!) met jointly to hear from City of Atlanta council members and members of the Fulton County Board of Assessors office.
The Atlanta City Council is in the process of creating the Office of Inspector General, independent of the mayor’s office and the council, responsible for investigating wrongdoing, recommending punishment, and referring matters for criminal prosecution. This will help ensure transparency and restore trust in city government.
They also spoke about rent stabilization and upcoming legislation to address discrimination towards tenants using Section 8 vouchers.
I was happy to speak about my very first sponsored bill, which will change the schedule of how we elect the City of Atlanta school board, staggering the terms every two years. This will ensure continuity in leadership and greater productivity, so that the entire school board will not be replaced every four years.
The Fulton County Commissioners and the Fulton Board of Assessors spoke on their legislative agenda to create equity in the appeals process for commercial property assessments. A report commissioned by the Atlanta City Council found that, after appeals, a sample of commercial properties over $20 million or greater were only valued at two-thirds of what they were worth, while real estate valued as less than $250,000 were valued at 98% of fair market value. Property taxes fund vital services, such as police, fire, the courts, and public education, so it is essential that we find a way to recover this lost revenue. Collecting less property taxes from commercial properties shifts the burden of funding these services to residential homeowners. Rep. Dreyer (HD 59) is eager to find legislative solutions to create a more level playing field.
My thanks to the constituents who were able to attend.
During this week’s Higher Education committee meeting, we reviewed House Bill 736, a bill that would provide up to $25,000 over five years in loan forgiveness for teachers who commit to teaching in one of Georgia’s 220 hard-to-staff rural schools or 105 low-performing schools. The bill addresses two major concerns with education in Georgia – the teacher shortage and the burden of student debt. Representative Benton (HD 31), the author of the bill, walked us through the potential costs and impacts. We did not vote on the bill, so it remains to be seen whether it will progress to the floor of the House for a vote.
On Saturday, I joined the young women – ranging from high school to recent college graduates – at Inspire’s Young Women Run Conference. My lunchmates were curious about the inner workings of state politics, and I enjoyed hearing their perspective on issues that impact young people the most.
Thank you to the Springlake Civic Association for inviting me to give a legislative update at the neighborhood’s annual meeting. I had a chance to answer questions about the budget process, the possibility of legalized gambling, any new taxes under consideration, and issues around property taxes.
If you haven’t already, please browse my website, betsyforgeorgia.com.
As your Representative, your concerns are important to me. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-656-0116 with questions, concerns, or solutions you may have regarding legislation or other happenings in District 54.
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I encourage you and your family to visit our State Capitol and my office, where all constituents are welcome. I look forward to connecting with you!
My office is located at:
18 Capitol Square, SW
409-B, Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.
Representative Betsy Holland
GA House District 54