An uncommon spectacle in Georgia legislative history took place today. Freshman legislators are usually treated jovially by their more established colleagues, but when Sam Moore dropped his first pieces of legislation into the House hopper he sparked controversy.
This liberty-leaning Republican from House District 22 drafted HB1033, which would scrap loitering laws. Section 3 of the bill specifies that restrictions on sex offenders, which bar them from congregating in certain places, including schools and playgrounds, would be eliminated.
Moore acknowledges that the idea chills the spines of parents and the public. “Am I saying it’s not creepy? It’s definitely creepy,” he said, but insists that the legislation protects an individual’s Fifth Amendment rights.
The outrage on the floor of the General Assembly was palpable. Leadership, committee chairmen and the legislature at large expressed outrage at Moore’s bill. Representative John Pezold of Forston said in a press release:
I am shocked and appalled anyone would suggest that pedophiles should be allowed to loiter near day care centers, schools — the places where our children learn and play. If Mr. Moore’s mission was to come down to the state Capitol and alienate his colleagues by staking out positions that no one in their right mind could agree with, he can now hang a mission accomplished banner behind him because he has done just that.
At one point, a representative almost began to cry as he tried to relate the horror of sexual predators to his audience.
No doubt HB1033 has no future. But, as if his first bill was not enough, Moore also presented HB1046, which would allow citizens to shoot — and kill — police officers who fail to identify themselves before entering a home. Again, this was proposed in the interest of preserving liberty. Charlie Harper of Peach Pundit summarized the sentiment of many who question the motives and messaging of both bills. “Because Sam Moore doesn’t think ‘liberty’ is served enough by allowing child molesters into your children’s schools. He wants you to be able to shoot police officers, too,” Harper wrote.
Moore may face political repercussions for his actions early in his legislative career. Meagan Biello, who narrowly lost to Moore in the special election, has already announced that she will challenge him this year. The voters of District 22 will be left to decide whether or not Moore has represented them well.
This may be the beginning of the end for Moore, before he barely began his career as a state legislator. Of all the many hobbies listed on Moore’s campaign website, perhaps one explains a lot: “Playing jokes …watch out. You have been warned!” Joke or no, the Georgia legislature is not amused.
THE EDITORS: Moore also went to Georgia Tech.
—Brennan Mancil is a freshman studying political science and international affairs
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