The change doesn’t show up on the Internet version of the bill yet, but we’re told that the House Rules Committee last night altered SB 469 so that it would ban demonstrations at or near all private residences in Georgia.
The bill originally applied a “right to quiet enjoyment” of one’s residence only to those involved in disputes with labor organizations. (The bill, drawn up by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, would also require union members to give annual approval to a dues check-off.)
Pickets targeted at any home – whether belonging to corporate CEO, union executive, crack dealer, child molester, or even newspaper columnist – would be off-limits under the latest version of the bill. Which, according to one constitutional scholar we talked to, has a much better chance of surviving a court challenge.
On a related note, from Walter Jones with Morris News Service:
House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams told members of the Atlanta Press Club in a Tuesday speech that the rush job used on bills like tax reform and limits on picketing prevented Democrats and the public from analyzing the proposals and offering amendments….
“I’m more disturbed by what happened yesterday with 469 and 447 [the unemployment benefits bill] where duly elected members of the General Assembly got no notice and a bill was both introduced and the bill came out in less than 10 minutes,” she said. “Counting on the fact that people didn’t know the meeting was happening, especially when the subject of the meeting was free speech.”
Two months after he last threatened to take the lead in the GOP presidential contest with a victory in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich may be headed back to his one-man campaign days. From Politico.com:
Newt Gingrich is cutting back his campaign schedule, will lay off about a third of his cash-strapped campaign’s full-time staff, and has replaced his manager as part of what aides are calling a “big-choice convention” strategy, communications director Joe DeSantis [said].
Outside the health care war being waged inside the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court, this may be the most important political story of the day — given Florida’s status as a presidential swing state. From the New York Times:
Florida, which is expected to be a vital swing state once again in this year’s presidential election, is enrolling fewer new voters than it did four years ago as prominent civic organizations have suspended registration drives because of what they describe as onerous restrictions imposed last year by Republican state officials.
The state’s new elections law — which requires groups that register voters to turn in completed forms within 48 hours or risk fines, among other things — has led the state’s League of Women Voters to halt its efforts this year. Rock the Vote, a national organization that encourages young people to vote, began an effort last week to register high school students around the nation — but not in Florida, over fears that teachers could face fines. And on college campuses, the once-ubiquitous folding tables piled high with voter registration forms are now a rarer sight.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider