by Bill Simon
In order to more fully comprehend the political circus that played-out on Friday, February 21 in the Georgia State House and the news media with HB 1033, we need to look back in time a few years…back to the legislative session of 2009-2010.
In February of 2009, State Rep. Wendell Willard, along with State Rep Edward Lindsey (both of them, by the way, lawyers, who know what legal language means), filed a bill (HB 582) that appeared to be designed solely to legalize child-prostitution. No other purpose could be interpreted from the language of that bill other than to qualify that “prostitution” could only have occurred if someone exchanged money for sex with someone aged 18 years old or older.
It had a First Reader on 2/26/2009 and a Second Reader on 3/3/2009. It got assigned to the Judiciary-Non-Civil Committee, chaired by Rich Golick.
Here’s a question: Did Wendell Willard and Ed Lindsey get publicly chastised by fellow members in the House well for that bill? Nope. Not one bit. And, THAT bill would have directly done more harm to children by allowing them to continue to work in the sex industry for pimps who were forcing them into a life of prostitution.
HB 582 died quietly in committee in 2010 after testimony from activists who recognized it for what the bill was. Let me repeat that a little more in detail so you’ll understand more about what really happened to Rep. Sam Moore over the last few days: HB 582 made it to a committee, where testimony from the chief sponsor, Wendell Willard, was presented to the committee, and there was opposing speakers to the bill heard in committee…and the bill died in Golick’s committee.
What happened with Rep. Sam Moore’s bill was completely different in all ways. But, before I get to that, it is important to understand how Moore’s bill came about. And, this is the step-by-step:
Day 1 of the process) Sam Moore went to Legislative Counsel (“LC”) and told them “I want a bill that will allow anyone in Georgia the right to remain silent when asked for identification.” As Sam explained it to me, under the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it is spelled-out in there that we’re supposed to have this right to not be required to tell a cop who’s asking us at random “Who are you? Break out some ID.”
Day 2) Moore returns to LC and is basically told “Well, we cannot really make a law that does that but, we can repeal laws that require people to do that. In order to do that, I need to research the code to find all instances of it being required to show ID.” Sam told LC “Okay, that sounds fine, proceed.”
Day 3) Moore returns to LC where he is told “The main place this occurs is in the loitering law, and any code sections that refer to loitering.” Sam told LC “Okay, if that is what we need to do, strike out everything regarding loitering.”
Now, before anyone panics here about someone daring to repeal a law, you should know what it says, and here’s a link to it. Look at what it says…“A person commits the offense of loitering or prowling when he is in a place at a time or in a manner not usual for law-abiding individuals under circumstances that warrant a justifiable and reasonable alarm or immediate concern for the safety of persons or property in the vicinity.”
Gosh, that doesn’t sound too ambiguous, does it? Except there are people up and down this state getting accosted and arrested by police for unjustifiable reasons all the time. Here’s a case of a business owner getting arrested for “loitering” on HIS OWN PROPERTY by DeKalb Police earlier this year. This is just one example out of MANY where the cops just arrest someone without probable cause. It’s bullshit, and it is a law that invites police-state psychopaths to take full advantage of it, and those police do that, whether they are in DeKalb or they operate in Sheriff Roger Garrison’s Cherokee County Office.
And, as one aside, I personally know of someone who was arrested in the City of Cumming for “loitering” in broad daylight on a Tuesday (i.e., at a place and at a time that is “usual” for law-abiding people individuals to be in) while he was sitting in his car on the phone outside of a business waiting for someone else to meet him. The case got tossed eventually by the judge…but, all these types of cases do is make good money for defense lawyers and courts, and it harms innocent people who were not guilty of doing anything wrong, and costs them and their families plenty of heartache.
Day 4) Moore returns to LC and LC shows him the written bill and in the bill it has the striking of the loitering law itself…along with the addition of two sections, both dealing with the sex-offender part of the code referring to the loitering section. Sam took a copy of the bill home and read and researched it and decided that there were other parts of state law that protected the children (OCGA 16-11-35(b) was one example) and that the loitering law was such an ill-conceived law to start with that he decided to go with it and put the bill forward.
From his understanding of the normal procedure for any house bill, it goes through a First Reader on the House floor, and then a Second Reader on the House floor, and then gets assigned to a committee to review and a presentation by the bill’s sponsor is made, opposing sides are allowed input, and then either it gets revised and comes out of committee, or it dies in committee.
So, Sam Moore was of the belief that if the bill was flawed, someone could explain it to him in the committee and it would be revised. Well…the committee never heard the bill. It was read once on the floor on Thursday, assigned to Non-Civil Judiciary…but never actually made it there.
What instead happened was that Speaker David Ralston and his minions got ahold of it, called-in the political consultants on Thursday to devise a plan to communicate their “horror” at the sex-offender part of the bill to all the useful idiots they knew they could control (i.e., those folks in the House who appeared in the well on Friday morning to express their drama-queen outrage about the bill), and then proceed to notify all the related news media folks about the “horror” of Sam Moore trying to make it possible for sex-offenders to walk on school property and rape and molest children (like, yeah, you know, laws prevent those things from happening already, right?).
SO…where’s my proof of the Ralston involvement? Oh…just Meagan Biello’s campaign disclosure for the run-off. Here is the list of state house contributors, and their dollar amounts (“money for nothing and the chicks are free…”):
State Rep. Barry Fleming – $500
Speaker David Ralston – $1,300
State Rep. John Meadows – $1,300
State Rep. Larry O’Neal – $1,300
State Rep. Terry England – $1,300
State Rep. Richard Smith – $1,300
State Rep. Matt Hatchett – $1,300
State Rep. R.M. Channell – $1,000
State Rep. Butch Parrish – $500
State Rep. Mark Hamilton – $1,300
State Rep. Jay Powell – $1,000
State Rep. Penny Houston – $1,300
State Rep. Michael Dudgeon – $500
State Rep. Amy Carter – $1,000
State Rep. Jason Shaw – $250
State Rep. Jay Roberts – $1,300
Do any of these people know Meagan Biello? Hell, no. They contribute to whom Ralston designates to be “his” boy/girl.
Now, what is more interesting is those 3 people’s names that I bolded (Ralston, O’Neal, Meadows) also took to the well to pile-on the crap on Moore, as detailed in this article from the Florida Times Union.
Note that in the article’s wording, Rules Chairman John Meadows declares that this bill will never get out of his committee to get to the floor.
Here’s a pertinent question: Did it EVER go to the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee it was supposedly assigned to? ( I’d ask Chairman Rich Golick, but I’m fairly certain he would lie to me, as well as under oath, so I won’t bother.)
Someone who has worked for 20+ years in the House told Sam Moore later in the day on Friday that he had never seen anything like what the House Leadership did to Sam Moore on his bill.
That, combined with the fact that the child-prostitution bill by Willard and Lindsey in 2009 never received the same type of treatment, tells me this was a special political ambush against Sam Moore, deliberately created by Ralston and all those other folks who donated money to Biello in the run-off against Sam Moore.
Because, when Biello lost, they lost their chosen puppet (and that is all you are to them, Meagan. A chew-toy they are DYING to slobber over and control. Make sure you teach the kids in your classes that selling your integrity and soul is always the best way to go thru life.)
Oh…and last, but not least, here’s the after-dinner apertif: In that Florida Times Union article, take special note of what Speaker Ralston says with regards to this bill: “That bill chooses to stand with sex offenders and pedophiles, and that is something I can’t fathom.”
Okay, now try to stop yourself from laughing too much at that as those words are coming straight out of the mouth of a bona-fide psychopath, and here’s why:
1) As detailed in my piece from 2013, Ralston didn’t just defend child molestors (everyone deserves a defense, even child molestors), but he actually devised of a legal theory that if an underaged girl had sex with her father, and had sex with her uncle, and didn’t complain to anyone about having sex with her uncle, then the girl could not complain about her father having sex with her, and that his then-client, the father, should be acquitted of child molestation. THAT takes someone possessing a certain degree of psychosis to be able to create that argument and go with it. (The Georgia Court of Appeals did not buy that theory.)
2) In 2011, House Speaker David Ralston led the charge to change the laws of Georgia to “…make it easier for offenders who committed felonies such as child molestation and rape to disappear from the public eye.”
In this above article, it is indicated that there was a belief that the law needed changing due to the “unconstitutionality” of it.
Well, one only need to look at the loitering law in Georgia to see there’s a law that is also unconstitutional.
But, Ralston would rather take a shot at someone elected by THEIR constituency, rather than recognize a bad law in the loitering law and seek to change that.
Methinks thou protest too much, Mr. Speaker. (Do you even know what that means, Mr. Speaker?)