ATLANTA (AP) — The business of the Georgia House of Representatives came to a halt Friday as several Republicans took the floor to publicly condemn a colleague’s bill as a move that would loosen sex offender restrictions in Georgia.
House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire, called the bill introduced by fellow Republican Rep. Sam Moore of Cherokee County “one of the most egregious” pieces of legislation. Under the bill, Moore would repeal sex offender loitering restrictions at schools and child care facilities.
Moore, who took office last week after a special election, said his goal was to eliminate vague anti-loitering laws. His bill, however, was met with open hostility.
“I am not only embarrassed; this state should be embarrassed. This country should be embarrassed that anyone would even consider something like this,” said Rep. John Meadows, R-Calhoun.
Meadows serves as chairman of the powerful Rules Committee, which sets the daily House agenda. He vowed Moore’s bill would never pass through his committee for a floor vote. Meanwhile, Majority Whip Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, called the bill “one of the most callous and ill-conceived efforts that is an affront to the safety of children.”
In the end, about a dozen lawmakers took the floor in an unusually public condemnation of a colleague’s bill. During the back-to-back speeches, Moore sat quietly at his desk near the back of the chamber.