Senate Profiles
Senator Mary Oliver (D-42)
State Capitol / Room 421 / Atlanta, GA 30334
150 E. Ponce de Leon Ave, Ste 480 / Decatur, GA 30030
Capitol District Fax
(404) 656-5920 (404) 377-9254
Bio Info Legislation
Committee Assignments
Chairman Senate Judiciary (Judy)
Vice-Chairman Senate Education (Ed)
Member Senate Appropriations (App)
Member Senate Ethics (Ethics)
Member Senate Rules (Rules)
Counties Represented
1 DeKalb County

Biographical Information

Mary Margaret Oliver of DeKalb County was first elected to the Senate from the 42nd District in 1992 and is now serving in her third term.

Oliver, a Democrat, is chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She was appointed to lead the committee during her freshman term, a rare legislative distinction. Her appointment was also of special significance because it marked the first time in 40 years that a woman was named to chair a standing Senate committee. In addition to the Judiciary post, Oliver is vice-chair of the Education Committee and is a member of the influential Rules and Appropriations Committees. She also serves on the Ethics Committee and is a member of the Senate's Ethics Reform Task Force.

Senator Oliver is a member of the Joint Senate-House Legislative Services Committee and the Senate Administrative Affairs Committee which sets policy and oversees Senate staff operations.

Oliver is a member of the Commission on Mental Health, Retardation and Substance Abuse Delivery's Task Force on New Directions for State Hospitals. She also serves on the Child Abuse Prevention Panel, the Educators Technology Training Commission, and has served on the Senate Study Committee on Children at Risk and the Senate Task Force on Violence in the Media. She most recently headed the Senate Study Committee on Foster Care and Adoption.

Prior to her election to the Senate, Oliver was a member of the state House of Representatives where she served on the Judiciary, Transportation and Industrial Relations Committees.

Since her election to the Senate, Oliver has successfully sponsored a package of child protection reform legislation which, among other things, clears the way for police to work jointly with case workers in investigating child abuse complaints and requires a judge's order before a child can be returned to a home where abuse has occurred. She is also the author of a strict anti-stalking law.

During the 1996 session, Oliver successfully sponsored legislation making the failure to wear a seat belt a "primary" violation that will allow police to ticket violators for that offense alone. Previously, seat belt citations could only be issued if there were another, more serious, traffic offense committed.

A life-long native of her Senate district, Oliver earned a BA from Vanderbilt University and a law degree from Emory University. She has served as an adjunct law professor at Emory Law School and an assistant professor of law at the Boston College Law School.

Senator Oliver is a former hearing officer for the Secretary of State's Joint Examining Boards and the Georgia Department of Medical Assistance and served as an associate magistrate in the DeKalb County Magistrate Court. She has also been a staff attorney and managing attorney for the Georgia Legal Services Program.

Active in professional and community affairs, Oliver is a former president of the Council for Children, Inc. and vice-president of the board of directors of CHARLEE Homes, a child advocacy group.

She has been active in Leadership Atlanta and the Junior League and was a board member of Goals for DeKalb. She is currently a member of the boards of CHARLEE Homes and the Senior Citizens Services Corporation.

Senator Oliver is a member of the State Bar and has chaired its Individual Rights Section and served on its Legislative, Correctional Facilities and Servicing Committees. She is a member of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta and the Board of Directors of the Georgia Legal Services Program and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Legal Services Program.

Since her election to the Senate, Oliver has been honored for outstanding legislative work by the Georgia Municipal Association, the Parents Support Network, the Georgia Psychological Association, the Mental Health Association of Metro Atlanta, and the National Association of Social Workers. She received the Georgia Bar Association's Distinguished Service Award for 1996, and has also been cited by the Georgia Hospital Association, the Georgia Council on Aging, and the Georgia Association for Gifted Children.

The 42nd District, which Oliver represents, includes portions of DeKalb County.

Georgia House of Representatives
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