State Rep. Sam Moore bowed to reality on Monday, and withdrew House Bill 1033, which proposed reforming loitering laws, and loosening restrictions on sex offenders going near places children congregate.
He took to the well of the House to respond to the controversy that developed Friday after word got out about his bill. He began by offering an apology to his fellow legislators, the people of Georgia, and residents of House District 22, which he represents.
He explained that he dropped the bills in a hurry, knowing that Legislative Day 30, known as Crossover Day, was fast approaching. He understood bills dropped after Crossover Day, especially in the second year of the legislative session, would not receive much consideration, if any at all.
I wanted my legislation vetted in Committee so I could start the conversation, learn from the process, improve my legislation with sage feedback, and push my legislation ‘for real’ the following year after I had learned the system.
However, I had no idea that anyone other than assigned Committee members would be looking at the legislation I dropped. That is why I didn’t question the controversial language that Legislative Council included.
That was obviously a mistake. Had I reached out to other members, this mistake could have been avoided.
If I had known that the media would be looking at my legislation, I probably wouldn’t have dropped any of my bills without additional consultation.
In hindsight, this rookie mistake was silly. I am mature enough to admit that. At the time though, I believed that I was fulfilling a campaign promise to hit the ground running.
Rep. Moore apparently wasn’t aware of this website, which lists every bill beginning on the day it is dropped into its chamber’s hopper. His fellow legislators, the press and citizens refer to it regularly to learn about new bills.
Based on what happened last Friday, I request that anyone who has an issue with any bill from any member…please give that member a chance to act to remove the bill before going to the media or signing up to go to the Well against it.
A chance that I was not given.
The time to ask for feedback on an upcoming bill is while it is being drafted. Once it is dropped, it is too late. There is no evidence Rep. Moore discussed the bill with anyone other than Legislative Counsel prior to dropping the bill. Legislative Counsel doesn’t give political advice.
Moore concluded his speech with these words:
I have politely declined all advice to use this speech to rouse my political opponents. Instead, I would rather this be the first step of a second chance. Please allow me to take it, and please take it with me.
‘Political opponents’ is an interesting choice of words. Rep. Moore used the phrase several times during his speech. When I looked at his website just now, it says he’s a Republican. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t referring to the members of the Democratic caucus in his speech.
From what I have learned about Sam Moore, he’s not the type to go along to get along. And that’s good. But, legislating is a team sport. His choice of words indicates he may be on a very small team. Unless he is willing to reach out to other members of the legislature, his ideas for reform–some of which very much deserve consideration–won’t get very far.