House pushes back on changes to LaVista Hills-Tucker maps

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt March 31, 2015
The Georgia State Capitol. Photo by Ken Lund, obtained via Wikimedia Commons

The Georgia State Capitol. Photo by Ken Lund, obtained via Wikimedia Commons

Time is running out for bills proposing a vote on the creation of the cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker.

Last minute wrangling over map boundaries that were supposedly settled months ago are threatening to scuttle both proposals.

On Tuesday, March 31, the state House rejected an amendment to the map added by the state Senate that would’ve moved about 2,000 residents from the Livsey precinct in Tucker’s map to LaVista Hills. The House also backed the original version of the Tucker bill.

The House took several votes on the amendments, but it wasn’t always clear to the average spectator what specific amendments were being considered. State Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, said it wasn’t much clearer for people voting on the map amendments.

“Actually, all of us are confused quite frankly,” Drenner said. ” … What confused me is we had an amendment on our desk that I thought was the fix, but I wasn’t.”

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, said the bills are most likely headed back to committee to resolve the differences.

“We are on the way procedurally to a conference committee,” Oliver said via email.

Mary Kay Woodworth with LaVista Hills YES said that’s her understanding of the situation as well.

“Both LaVista Hills and Tucker will now go to conference committee. Likely decided tonight who is on the committee,” she said via email.

State Sen. Fran Millar implemented the changes regarding the Livsey precinct. If he continues to insist on keeping those changes in the map and the House keeps rejecting them, it will make passage of the bills more difficult before the end of the session. The last day is Thursday, April 2.

Prior to the House vote Tuesday, State Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody, said the Livsey precinct had been added as the result of a poll conducted via telephone.

“A large number of folks wanted to come into that district, Rep. (Mike) Jacobs and I supervised a poll over the weekend, did about 900 calls: 60 percent wanted to come into LaVista Hills,” Taylor said.

State Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, who represents part of the area that includes LaVista Hills, said that poll called into question why the House bothered to try and settle the map boundaries with a subcommittee in December.

Drenner said Tuesday’s vote was ultimately a defense of the work the House did to try to settle the issue to avoid last-minute haggling.

“What you saw was people standing up for the House and what the House had done with regard to this issue,” she said. “And what would it be like for Day 39 (of the Legislative session) if we’re not fighting about DeKalb politics down here?”

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

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