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Dems hold Sine Die town hall in Lovejoy
by Noreen Cochran
May 09, 2013 10:49 AM | 2708 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
About 45 residents attended a town hall held at Lovejoy city hall last week, hosted by District 63 State Rep. Ronnie Mabra, D-Fayetteville and District 78 State Rep. Demetrius Douglas, D-Stockbridge.

Many constituents asked about the future of Senate Bill 399, a controversial bid to eliminate ad valorem taxes for concessionaires at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

It passed the House 116-56 and received a 35-14 approval in the Senate, but was subsequently tabled.

Mabra, who represents parts of south Fulton, Fayette and Clayton counties, was one of the opponents.

“I have learned you may solve one problem only to have another one blow up somewhere else,” the freshman legislator said about a lesson from other politicians.

“Business owners think they can save money but it costs Clayton County. That’s revenue the county doesn’t get.”

Karolen Mazyck of Hampton asked about the now-dormant bill, although she is not one of the concessionaires. “I felt the public needs to know about it,” she said.

Mabra said the tax is something “every other business pays” and should be in concessionaire’s budgets.

Mazyck, who is the NAACP education chair for Clayton County, also asked about House Bill 242, the first revision of the juvenile justice code in 42 years.

“My concern is making sure it does not waive our children’s legal rights,” she said.

Douglas answered her question about whether juveniles’ records would be cleared.

“Yes, if they are not repeat offenders,” he said.

In a rare display of unity, the bill, sponsored by District 51 State Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, passed both chambers unanimously.

“Everyone voted for that — Republicans, Democrats — because we’re helping people,” Mabra said.

Bipartisan support applied to SB 122, the first bill sponsored by Republican Deputy Whip Hunter Hill, R-Smyrna, and moved forward in the House by Douglas, another freshman.

“The legislation makes our state a better place for global commerce by extending temporary driving privileges to foreign workers at Georgia companies,” Douglas said about employees who are here legally.

Gov. Nathan Deal signed the bill into law on May 1 at the Kia Motors plant in West Point, accompanied by Douglas and Hill.

Hill said in a statement the new legislation “synchs current federal law with state law.”

The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and 169-2 in the House, opposed by District 167 State Rep. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, and District 180 State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine.
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