Decatur state rep drafting legislation that would give cities more control over monuments

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt September 21, 2017

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver discussed proposed reforms to the cityhood process during a CClairmont Heights Civic Association meeting. Photo by: Dyana Bagby

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, wants to change state law in response to calls to remove a Confederate monument on the Decatur Square.

Currently, state law prohibits the removal of such monuments, but Oliver said she’s introducing a bill that would give local government the ability to decide whether to keep or remove them.

In a Facebook post, Oliver said, “I am following closely all the discussions, protests, creative demonstrations, and actions taken relating to Decatur’s Confederate monument that sits on the Square before the historic DeKalb Courthouse about 50 yards from my law office.”

Oliver made the announcement in response to a recent move by the Decatur City Commission to go on record supporting the monument’s removal and formally asking the state Legislature to change the law that prohibits local officials from doing so.

“I have walked by this monument at least a 1000 times over the last 30 years on my way to the courthouse, and now thinking about it seriously for the first time – not too late,” Oliver said. “I applaud the Decatur City Commission’s vote to request legislation to allow cities and counties to to make their own decisions about confederate monuments, which now only gives such authority to the state. I have asked our Legislative Counsel in the Capitol to draft legislation, and Senator Elena Parent and I talked yesterday with the Georgia Municipal Association about its position and asked for its support. Local control is the correct policy in my view. This discussion will be ongoing up to and during the 2018 Session, and I ask for your opinions. Thank you for your interest.”

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About Dan Whisenhunt

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

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