Our District 5 Board of Commissioners representative, Emma Darnell told Cascade Patch that something must be done to fight against the latest proposed bills by the republican super-majority in the Georgia House of Representatives. Last week, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted to oppose House Bills 170,171, and 172 which propose changes to the County’s homestead exemption, millage rate, governance structure, and employees’ classification status.
In a video interview with Cascade Patch Commissioner Darnell was adamant about the community's need to become aware of the 3 bills that are in danger of passing the Georgia Assembly.
Commissioner Darnell refers to House Bill 170 as the, "Fulton County Destruction Bill." She explains that if HB 170 passes, your home exemption taxes may be reduced but your health center, library, senior center, arts center and after-school programs may be closed, due to lack of funds.
House Bill 171 has been called the "Fulton County Re-Segregation Bill", for its attempt to limit the number of Commissioners that will represent southwest Atlanta and its majority African-American neighborhoods. "HB 171 seeks to change the current commission district lines for the Fulton County Board of Commissioners," says the Commissioner.
Lastly, the Fulton County Commissioners have also officially opposed the proposed House Bill 172 which Darnell called the "Plantation Bill." HB 172 seeks to make changes to Fulton County's civil service system for employees. It would strip Fulton County employees of civil-service protections that currently ensure employees are not terminated for political or non-job-related reasons.
Board of Commissioners Chairman John Eaves, Vice-Chair Emma I. Darnell, and Commissioners William “Bill” Edwards, Joan P. Garner and Robert “Robb” Pitts, released a joint statement stating "its opposition to House Bills 170, 171, and 172 and expresses its concern regarding the negative effects those House Bills would have on 1) the ability of Fulton County government to continue to provide essential services to its citizens; 2) the voting rights of Fulton County citizens; and 3) the right of Fulton County employees to be free from arbitrary treatment and disciplinary actions.”
Residents are urged to play a part in this fight. Emma Darnell pointed out that since there is now a super-majority in the Georgia Senate and House, Republicans are trying to force votes on bills that would never pass otherwise. The bills in question were proposed by North Fulton legislators.
Commissioner Darnell wants residents to call or email her and express their opinions on this matter. There is also a petition you can sign and in addition public hearings you can attend to make your voice heard.
The next public meeting will be on Monday, February 25th at the State Capitol at 1pm in room 341. There is another meeting in South Fulton at the Cliftondale Service Center on March 9th.
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