Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

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2010 Georgia Ballot Amendment 1 – VOTE NO

by Bill Simon

AMENDMENT 1 – Non-Compete Clauses in Contracts

This is how the amendment will read on your ballot: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to make Georgia more economically competitive by authorizing legislation to uphold reasonable competitive agreements?”

Doesn’t that just sound so warm & fuzzy? After all, “more economically competitive” kinda says “Golly, let’s make this a fairer environment so we can have more competition and bring in lower prices and higher quality…”, RIGHT?

Yeah. It “kinda” sounds like that is what this amendment will do, but, like watching Penn & Teller do their stage show, there are carefully concealed things that your eye/mind just cannot catch unless you know where to look.

Before we get to the “magic” of the legislature’s trick, let’s study one more phrase: “…to uphold reasonable competitive agreements”

Wowwww…everyone wants to be “reasonable” in their approach to agreements, right? You have your opinion, I have my opinion, but reasonable people can come together and agree on something, RIGHT? Otherwise, we wouldn’t be a “reasonable people”, would we?

Just for your information, the wording of this amendment went through several iterations as it went through the committees. Here’s Version #1:

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to provide for contracts that limit competition during or after the term of employment or of a commercial relationship and to authorize the courts to cure legal defects in such contracts in order to protect legitimate interests and achieve the intent of the parties?”

BUT….that apparently was too informative to the voter as to the actual purpose of the amendment, so…we can look at Version #2:

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to permit the General Assembly to enact laws that authorize contract provisions restricting or regulating competitive activities and enable courts to ensure the reasonableness of such contracts?”

Well, apparently the House committee wasn’t pleased with the concept of the wording that used “restricting” as that pretty much is a word no true “pro-competition” amendment would ever use…so, we have Version #3, which passed the House:

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to permit the General Assembly to enact laws that authorize contract provisions regulating competitive activities and to enable courts to ensure the reasonableness of such contracts?”

When the bill got over to the Senate, those folks weren’t too keen on the use of the word “regulating”, so they revised the amendment language to be Version #4, and it passed the Senate as this:

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to permit the General Assembly to enact laws that authorize contract provisions regarding competitive agreements to enable courts to uphold the agreements and to enable courts to ensure the reasonableness of such contracts?”

Since the Senate’s version changed the House’s version, differences got “worked-out” in conference committee to be the most blatantly-deceptive language they could possibly come up with, Version #5/Final Version:

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to make Georgia more economically competitive by authorizing legislation to uphold reasonable competitive agreements?”

YEAH, that’s the ticket! That’ll fool ALL the voters into voting for this!

FOR more to read as to why this is a bad amendment, please visit our e-mailed edition that provided a lot more detailed analysis: Special Research Report on Ballot Amendment #1

PV Recommends: Vote NO On Amendment 1

3 Responses to “2010 Georgia Ballot Amendment 1 – VOTE NO”

  1. Perry Says:

    Thanks for the info…
    Interesting… the Georgia Supreme Court overturned ‘non competitive’ contracts with strict limitations at least 14 years ago…
    Now we want to add an amendment to basically give more teeth to employers in such contract matters…hummmm

  2. Bobby Lee Says:

    AWFUL law!!! More teeth for the employer and less for the employee. So the employer could fire for any reason and then lock the ex employee out of a job for two years because it’s competitive? HELL NO!

  3. Ryan Ward Says:

    Thanks for the history of the changes. It’s amazing to me how these things get worked out…

Today's Deep Thought

Maybe in order to understand mankind we have to look at the word itself. MANKIND. Basically, it's made up of two separate words: 'mank' and 'ind.' What do these word mean? It's a mystery and that's why so is mankind.



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