Your morning jolt: ‘Right to quiet enjoyment’ bill passes House committee

State Rep. Bill Hembree, chairman of the House Industrial Relations, confirmed that his committee this morning passed out SB 469, which would ban union pickets at private residents and require union members to confirm the dues check-off on their paychecks on an annual basis.

Also passed by the committee, which met with less than an hours notice granted to Democrats, was SB 447, the bill to repay $780 million borrowed by the state for unemployment benefits — largely by reducing future benefits.

On SB 469, Hembree said the only change made to the bill, sponsored by Sen. Don Balfour but written by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, was language added to emphasize that the ban on home demonstrations only applies to unions.

That’s one way of looking at it. Another way: The bill establishes a new “right to quiet enjoyment” of one’s residence – but that right will only apply to business executives required to deal with labor organizations.

The Georgia AFL-CIO immediately cried foul:

Democracy doesn’t happen in secret. And yet the leadership of the House Industrial Relations Committee held a vote on SB 469 this morning at 9 a.m. – but didn’t post the hearing on the calendar until 50 minutes earlier.

Just as SB 469 is designed to silence dissent, the committee leadership intentionally posted as little notice as possible to ensure that a minimum amount of opponents would be present. Only one Democrat, who voted in opposition to SB 469, was present.

Hembree took issue with the above account. He said he sent out the notice of meeting to his fellow committee members at 7:57 a.m. Monday, and banged the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m.

Over the weekend, state Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, announced that he had submitted to a drug test and suggested that all other state lawmakers be required to submit urine samples as well. From his press release:

Representative Holcomb introduced House Bill 677 during the legislative session in response to a bill filed by Republicans that would require drug tests for parents who apply for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits. HB 677 would require that legislators be drug tested.

Representative Holcomb said, “If the state of Georgia is going to make drug testing a precondition for receiving benefits, then legislators need to be the first in line. We receive taxpayer benefits and we should lead by example.”

Using his own personal funds, Rep. Holcomb visited a drug-testing center in his district last week to take a drug test and he received the results on Thursday. He passed.

That led state Rep. Bret Harrell, in a post on Loganville-Grayson Patch, to accuse his Democratic colleague of political posturing. On the other hand, Harrell said, if someone were to hand him a cup, he’d be perfectly fine with supplying a sample for testing.

A presser that Holcomb was to hold this morning at the state Capitol has been cancelled.

One of the less-discussed features of this legislative session, which is rapidly coming to an end, are the numerous local redistricting bills (and accompanying fights) created to adjust to the 2010 census. Here’s one example, from the Mike Stucka and the Macon Telegraph:

A revised district map for a consolidated Macon-Bibb County government would split the county into a white, Republican-oriented west and a center and east that are mostly Democratic and black, a Telegraph analysis of the map shows.

The consolidation map approved Wednesday by the Georgia General Assembly calls for the central and eastern parts of the county to be Democratic strongholds. In each of those districts, Democrat Roy Barnes received a minimum of 67 percent of the votes in the 2010 governor’s race. Those districts also have a minimum of 64 percent black population.

Conversely, the western districts would at least lean Republican and would have a minimum of 57 percent of white residents, the Telegraph analysis shows.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

22 comments Add your comment


March 26th, 2012
11:19 am

Good to hear they are dealing with Georgia’s HUGE problem of union protests taking place at private residences.


March 26th, 2012
11:27 am

next they gon tackle such pressing issues as farting in public spaces

Teddy Roosevelt

March 26th, 2012
11:28 am

Unions are so 19th century

Debbie Dooley

March 26th, 2012
11:43 am

Enter your comments here
CAREY v. BROWN, 447 U.S. 455 (1980)
447 U.S. 455 No. 79-703.

“There was an Illinois statute that was deemed Un-Constitutional because it “makes an impermissible distinction between peaceful labor picketing and other peaceful picketing Discrimination in legality of conduct based upon the content of the demonstrator’s communication clearly violates the rights granted in the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

The Georgia Legislature is doing the same thing in this case.

Section 5 of SB 469 ammends Code Section 16-7-21 , relating to criminal trespass, would drastically increase penalites for criminal trespass . It would more than double the criminal penalty for engaging in peaceful protest in Georgia on any issue. It creates an exception to the rest of the criminal law by providing that someone can be prosecuted and punished for both criminal trespass and conspiracy to commit criminal trespass. Under Georgia law, a person can ordinarily only be prosecuted for one or the other. The Bill also increases the penalty for conspiracy to commit criminal trespass to a penalty higher than the underlying crime of criminal trespass . This would harm other groups protests. What if we were protesting at a parking lot of a business -this would affect us. What if we were protesting on a public area but some spilled on to a company parking lot by accident? Our tea party could face penalties that would shut our group down.

Subsection 1 A states , “a) It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in mass picketing at or near any place, including private residences, where a labor dispute exists in such number or manner as to obstruct or interfere with or constitute a threat to obstruct or interfere with the entrance to or egress from any place of employment or the free and uninterrupted use of public roads, streets, highways, railroads, airports, or other ways of travel, transportation, or conveyance.”

Notice or interfere with the entrance to or egress from any place of employment or the free and uninterrupted use of public roads, streets, highways, railroads, airports or other ways of travel, transportation or conveyance. This would have prevented us from protesting at CNN a few years ago. They are trying to make peaceful protestors criminals.


March 26th, 2012
11:47 am

“Democrat Roy Barnes received a minimum of 67 percent of the votes in the 2010 governor’s race. Those districts also have a minimum of 64 percent black population.

Conversely, the western districts would at least lean Republican and would have a minimum of 57 percent of white residents, the Telegraph analysis shows.”

This is called following the civil rights legislation and drawing for sure African American districts (or quotas).


March 26th, 2012
11:48 am

Debbie, apparently they missed Civics class when they were supposed to learn about the 3 branches of government.


March 26th, 2012
11:54 am

Mr Galloway,

Do you have a copy of the amendments? They are not up on the House website yet.

Real Picture

March 26th, 2012
12:08 pm

*Right to quiet enjoyment? Jimbo, All I’m looking for is a little peace. I just can’t seem to find it.
*Politician Pee test? If they’re positive- what then?


March 26th, 2012
12:15 pm

Let’s see what we have here. A bill authored by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce (a proxy for corporate interests ?), defining whether and when union picketers can protest in front of the homes of corporate executives. Enough said.

I think it is a good idea for all government employees to undergo drug testing, just as many of their fellow citizens who work in non-executive positions within the private sector do now.


March 26th, 2012
12:21 pm

I think these representatives, are trying to prevent an action they foresee that will be soon at there front door! “Right to Quiet enjoyment” only a Georgia legislator could come up with such a proposal.
How about the rights of Georgia citizens to be protected by the “Right to prohibit Racist, homophobic, uterus envy politicians from ever serving in office. If we did that, the State Capital would be a good place to hold a Halloween event. A REALLY SCARY PLACE!

Independent voter

March 26th, 2012
12:21 pm

This is disgrace to america for 1st amendment. Nathan Deal going to have some issue next time he up for governorship. I am going to march today for trayvon Martin and I wish they lock me up for protesting for justice.

Look before I leap...

March 26th, 2012
12:23 pm

Another fine piece of legislation that will get roasted on a spit in Georgia’s appellate court.


March 26th, 2012
12:28 pm

Sad thing is that these guys talk about saving money and then blow everything they saved by getting into stupid lawsuits.


March 26th, 2012
12:38 pm

I wonder what districts for federal and state offices would look like in Georgia without the Voting Rights Act. Would there be more competitive races and a more diverse pool of candidates or would we just end up with every office held by a white republican?


March 26th, 2012
12:42 pm

@Teddy Roosevelt — you also said corporations were greedy, corrupt and needed regulation!

Last I checked, singling a group out for special treatment was unconstitutional (Equality clause) — but, that part of the constitution is only taught by liberals.


March 26th, 2012
12:43 pm

Well, it looks like the business union (CofC) at least got what they wanted from the General Assembly this year.

When do the Citizens come out on top after a General Assembly Session?


March 26th, 2012
12:44 pm


Without the VRA, it would probably impossible to run for office (or probably even to vote) if you were not a white male republican.

Independent voter

March 26th, 2012
12:53 pm

Why the republican are targeting african american and middle class, poor american.
This got to stop with these outragious laws.

Wake up america it time to vote these no good republicans out of the office.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 26th, 2012
12:59 pm

@Moderates – You get what you vote for. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. And you’re gonna keep voting for them because you are…well…moderates.

J Throckmorton Malcontent

March 26th, 2012
1:08 pm

How completely reprehensible to commit misfeasance by cutting business’ contributions to UI to unsustainably low amounts, have to borrow three quarters of a billion from Uncle Sam, and then balance the deficit on the back of UI recipients who, let’s not forgot, lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 26th, 2012
1:56 pm

First they came for the Reagan Democrats, then the Rural Red Farmers, then the Evangelical Anti Sunday Voters…watch out Ex Urb/Sub Urb Moderate “Independents” (Republicans) …you’re next. And I’m just gonna eat pop corn and watch as you learn who your masters really are.

And then as you bend over and say, “Please sir. More.”

Real Athens

March 26th, 2012
10:08 pm

“The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything–even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

Dwight David Eisenhower