State rep apologizes over bill easing restrictions on sex offenders

by: Aaron Diamant Updated:

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ATLANTA - A freshman Republican state representative says he's sorry for introducing a bill which would ease restrictions on sex offenders.
 

Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant was at the state Capitol Monday where the apology fueled even more fury from Republican leaders.
 
State Rep. Sam Moore called it a rookie mistake; the bill designed to overturn the state loitering law had what he called unintentional consequences. 
 
Moore blamed himself Monday but also the media and House Republican leaders who fired back.
 
"I would like to apologize for any embarrassment this bill may have caused," Moore, who is just two weeks into office, said in front of the House floor Monday. "That was obviously, obviously a mistake."
 
The bill that Moore dropped last week -- which would repeal the state's loitering law and at the same time ease restrictions that keep registered sex offenders from hanging out near playgrounds and schools -- has been drawing sharp criticism from Republican leaders.
 
"Although my intent was pure and my mistakes were honest I am ultimately responsible for all of my actions," Moore said.
 
But Moore quickly couched that apology, blaming House leaders for failing to mentor him.
 
Diamant asked House Speaker state Rep. David Ralston about that.
 
"When we ask people to send us down here to represent them, I think they expect that we know what we're doing and that we introduce a bill that we know what's in the bill," Ralston said.
 
And when Moore lashed out at the scrutiny Channel 2 Action News gave the bill before it reached committee, Majority Leader Larry O’Neal lashed back.
 
"The thought that you're going to come here and withhold from the people of Georgia what you're doing to me is disingenuous and it basically defies the integrity of this whole place," O’Neal said.
 
Political analysts Diamant spoke with don't expect too much backlash toward the party over the bad bill.
 
Moore won his seat in a special election runoff earlier this year. You can bet this bill will be fuel for his competitors in May's Republican primary.