Rep. Sam Moore (R-Cherokee Co.) listens as he's blasted by State House leaders
Rep. Sam Moore (R-Cherokee County)
Georgia House Speaker Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge)
ATLANTA - There used to be an unwritten rule in Georgia's legislature that freshmen lawmakers should wait at least a year before introducing a bill, so they can learn the ropes first.
Now a brand new Cherokee County lawmaker may have proved the wisdom of that former practice.
Only one week after being sworn in following a special election, State Representative Sam Moore (R-Macedonia) was publicly humiliated by the House leadership Friday.
One by one, a line of powerful fellow Republicans spoke out against one of Moore's first bills.
"I can't imagine something this bad not only going to committee, but getting out of committee," said an angry House Rules Chairman, Rep. John Meadows (R-Lawrenceville).
"The most irresponsible, callous, ill-conceived effort and an affront to the safety of this state that I've ever seen," said Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City).
"It's disgusting, frankly," said House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge).
They were slamming House Bill 1033 which Moore said was intended to re-write Georgia's loitering law.
He believes that under the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a citizen who is minding his own business should not be forced to give his name or show some form of ID to curious police officers.
The problem is, legislative counsel, who helped write the bill, warned him the loitering law is tied to the state's law that prohibits registered sex offenders from being near playgrounds, parks and schools.
Former House Majority Leader Larry Keen, who wrote the original sex offender bill, was among those outraged.
"For someone to come in here and introduce a bill that would put our children back in harm's way of predators is not only irresponsible, the responsible thing to do now would be to resign your seat," Keen told 11 Alive News.
Representative Moore said he wished fellow lawmakers had voiced their concerns and offered help to rewrite his bill before publicly humiliating him.
"I was honestly shocked by what was said today," he said.
Moore said he is willing to amend or even drop his loitering bill if he can be persuaded it endangers the child sex offender law.
"Unfortunately for me, being kind of a redneck from Cherokee County, I don't play the politics game that much; I'm honestly trying to do the right thing," he added.
Moore won a special election runoff earlier this month to replace the late Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Canton), who passed away in October.
He will have to run again in the GOP primary May 20th to keep the seat.
Creekview High School teacher Meagan Biello, who lost the special election runoff to Moore by 406 votes, has indicted she will challenge him again in the spring.