by Bill Simon
SB-94 (a/k/a “Imagine Democrats in Charge”)
Yesterday (March 24) on the House Floor, in discussion of SB-94 between Rep. BJ Pak and Rep. Chuck Efstration, a series of Q&A occurred with Pak asking questions and Efstration responding. You readers can verify what I am saying by going to the start of the conversation at Time-Mark 1:45:37 of this video-recording of Day 35 in the Georgia House: http://www.gpb.org/lawmakers/2015/day-35.
Question 1 from Pak: “Is it not true that you once worked as a prosecutor and you now work in criminal defense?”
Truth: Chuck Efstration worked as prosecutor until sometime in March of 2013, at which point he formed his own law firm on March 1, 2013, The Efstration Law Firm, PC (click the link for the incorporation date). On April 11, 2013, Efstration filed a Document of Intent (“DOI”) to run for the office he currently holds. On that document is listed his two campaign officers Chairperson Jimmy Wilbanks, and Treasurer Jon Richards (who has been consistently writing articles promoting big government legislation and destruction of the rights of the people against government overreach on the blog PeachPundit.com).
So, for a whopping two years that Chuck Efstration has spent time away from the Gwinnett DA’s office, he has split his time between running for elected office, and fitting in a few criminal cases here and there. So, to Pak’s obvious attempt at giving Efstration “criminal defense” chops, the truth is that that is bullsh*t, and Efstration is nobody other than…Gwinnett DA/P.A.C. Chairperson Danny Porter’s political b*tch when it comes to SB-94 absorbing HB-430’s guts.
Question 2 from Pak: “Through that lens , this bill has gone through the committee process , sub-committee meetings, etc., etc., right?”
Question 3 from Pak: “Is it not further true that all this bill does is modernize what is in case law, we codify it, simplify it, and it does not expand any police power?”
Truth: The fact is, this law, if passed for Georgia, adds/increases capabilities (not just ‘modernizes’ but adopts federal case law into Georgia law) and power to law enforcement in Georgia that does not currently exist. The fact that federal courts will not overturn them is irrelevant.
The power given by this bill expands police power…so, Mr. Pak and Mr. Efstration conspired in the open to mislead the entire House in their consideration of SB-94.
One of these items I’ve discussed previously is the ability for police to obtain a search warrant for a crime that is “…about to happen.” (Lines 179-187, Page 6 of SB-94). This is a new police power that Georgia law enforcement does not currently have at their disposal.
In his response to my Facebook post about his actions on the floor, Pak told me that this has to do with an “anticipatory search warrant.” While that term has a specific legal definition in federal case law, that specific language is NOT what is in this bill. So, as we know from past experience with legal interpretations in this state, when you do not define what it is you really mean, then it is open to interpretation, and misinterpretation.
The BIG question is, since people like BJay Pak voted to stop ObamaCare from setting-up exchanges in Georgia, after ObamaCare was found to be constitutional by SCOTUS, why is BJay (and, really, ANY other legislator who voted to block Obamacare in Georgia) suddenly in love with embracing federal laws and bringing them to Georgia?
There are some good things, perhaps, in the new SB-94…but, with so much trickery and deception used to mislead folks like the Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, as well as the members of the House (in the open, Mr. Pak…not…really…too smart), who can effectively analyze what may be “good” when this bad is being covered-up? Not P.A.C. Not BJ Pak either. Not Chuck Efstration.
But, here are a few, significant questions for the true Republicans (“true” being those who actually decided to become a Republican, not to win elections, but for the actual principles contained in the platform from 30 years ago) to answer as they contemplate the revised SB-94:
a) If Roy Barnes was governor, and he and a Dem-controlled Senate and House were all proposing this and backing it, would you be for the expansion of these police powers?
b) When the Democrats do come to power in this state in 20 years or less, can you possibly imagine how they could abuse this law? I mean, just picture Barack Obama as Governor of Georgia with these expanded police powers given in this bill? Imagine the ways that true Democrats could use these laws to oppose your candidacy for office…perhaps sending a member of LE to get a search warrant based on fabricated evidence of a “crime about to be committed” and the judge going along with it because, hey, he/she has a sworn affidavit and “evidence” that a crime may be about to be committed…all really designed to ensure that you don’t get reelected or elected? And, all they have to claim is they had “good faith” in their execution of that warrant based on them being told by an opposing political operative that “…Mr.Beach said he was going to to XYZ, and I’m afraid…”?
The State Senate should insist that the original version of SB-94, As Passed The Senate, be the one that passes, and tell the House to remove HB-430 from its attachment. Unless you folks in the Senate (e.g., David Shafer, Brandon Beach, etc., and anyone else with an eye on a higher office) are ready to defend why you opposed SCOTUS-approved Obamacare, and now you want to integrate SCOTUS-approved police state legislation into Georgia?
And, Senator Bethel, if anyone finds instances of you opposing SCOTUS-approved Obamacare, but you wishing to incorporate all these new federal-approved police powers in Georgia as a result of federal case law, you will likely also be facing such questions from your district, or for any higher office you seek that requires the voter to make a decision.
HB 310: a/k/a “Let’s expand government with no limits”
For a legislator like Senator Tyler Harper, chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, who has been named a “Defender of Liberty” by (presumably) The American Conservative Union, to allow HB 310 out of his committee, is a signal to me that there’s something off about that ‘award’ from the ACU. Because HB-310 is a 119-page, 4,138 Line bill that contains all kinds of government-expanding powers that NO true believer of, or defender of, “Liberty” would ever ignore. Things like:
1) Despite what Rep. Alan Powell claims, this legislation WILL create a brand new government agency (“Department of Community Supervision”) that has, at its very definition, the ability to (Lines 175-180) expand forever, thus employing hundreds, if not thousands of people, with, apparently, no limit to its budget:
“(b) The commissioner shall have the authority to employ as many individuals as he or she deems necessary for the administration of DCS and for the discharge of the duties of his or her office. The commissioner shall issue all necessary directions, instructions, orders, and rules applicable to employees of DCS. The commissioner shall have authority, as the commissioner deems proper, to employ, assign, compensate, and discharge employees of DCS within the limitations of DCS’s appropriation and the restrictions set forth by law.”
2) Regarding the people employed by DCS, there is no stated restriction for employing folks connected to folks via blood or via business. Meaning…as an example from another part of OCGA, a law referencing the commissioner of the Department of Transportation has the following language: OCGA 32-2-41: “he commissioner shall not employ a person who is related within the second degree of consanguinity to the commissioner or any member of the board.”
“Consanguinity” means “1) a relationship by descent from the same ancestor, and not by marriage or affinity OR, 2) a close relationship or connection.”
If you are going to vote to start a new big-freaking department whose head is under the sole direction and choice of the Governor, do you think you’d care to ensure that the Commissioner of the new Department of Community Supervision is NOT able to hire every single one of his family members and cousins, so as to not build an entire family dynasty into one state agency?
3) Also, why is the Legislature giving ALL POWER to the Governor for this new agency? Heck, I doubt the real Dems would even do that. Why can’t the Senate put a stop in place to approve of the DCS commissioner?
Again, you who are sitting there in the Legislature today are not going to always be there…why do you want to turn Georgia into more of a dictatorship by giving the Governor sole ability for this agency? This ain’t Cuba or North Korea (well…not quite yet, anyway, but we are on the march in that direction, Senator Tyler “Defender of Liberty” Harper).
4) Lines 550 – 554: “(2) ‘Electronic monitoring’ means supervising, mapping, or tracking the location of a probationer by means including electronic surveillance, voice recognition, facial recognition, fingerprinting or biometric scan, automated kiosk, automobile ignition interlock device, or global positioning systems which may coordinate data with crime scene information.”
At what point will DCS qualify its own surveillance practices as construing the law “conservatively“, “liberally“, or “inappropriately“, Senator Harper? (see Line 662, below.)
5) Line 662: “This article shall be liberally construed so that its purposes may be achieved.” HOW “liberally” is “liberally construed?”
6) Do you want me to go line-by-line here? I’m up to 5 bullet points and only 662 lines of analysis….and I’m exhausted. I wonder what other true, anti-Liberty gems are in the bill that people like Rep. Alan Powell has misled the Public Safety Committee on?
8) Note to Rep. Alan Powell: After watching your recorded disdain for one of the opposing witnesses being an ‘indigent criminal defense attorney,’ I happened to look-up the law passed in 2003 called the Georgia Indigent Defense Act. Guess what, Moron? You voted for that bill.
You helped create the entire Indigent Defense program with your vote, Rep. Powell. Here’s a copy of the bill as passed. Here’s a copy of the final vote. In summary, you’re a jackass, Mr. Powell…and even though you “switched” to the GOP in 2011, that doesn’t matter. You didn’t switch your mindset as can be determined by your wish to kill-off the Uber (and related) business enterprises. You are still one of those “real Democrats.” And, separate from that, you’re nothing but an effing jackass.
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