ATLANTA - A freshman senator is receiving harsh criticism over a controversial bill introduced that would ease restrictions for sex offenders.
There are a lot of laws on the books in Georgia about where registered sex offenders aren't allowed: playgrounds, schools, or anywhere else that has lots of kids. But when a state representative proposed a bill the would ease those restrictions, he got served by some of his party's most powerful people.
Republican state Rep. Sam Moore couldn't get away from Channel 2’s Aaron Diamant or the House chamber fast enough Friday after his party's leaders lit him up, one by one.
"I condemn this effort,” said Republican Majority Whip Rep. Ed Lindsey.
"The state should be embarrassed,” Republican Rules Committee Chairman John Meadow.
"It's the most irresponsible and egregious example of proposed legislation I've seen in my entire life," said Republican Majority Leader state Rep. Larry O’Neal.
It’s a big-time blowback over the bill Moore just dropped -- his first ever after two weeks on the job -- which would remove the loitering restriction near places with large amounts of kids from Georgia's tough sex offender law, authored by former Majority Leader Jerry Keen.
"I cannot imagine a person with any intelligence introducing a bill of this type,” Keen said.
But when Diamant asked Moore again for an explanation, he responded:
[“Were you aware of the fallout from this?] "One more question and I'm not answer any more questions. I made my point clear I will answer questions after I've done what I need to do. One more question and I'll answer none,” Moore said.
Eventually, Moore came back to answer Diamant’s questions.
"I don't believe what I've done is irresponsible,” Moore said.
Moore said the bill was first drawn up to protect people from having to identify themselves to police.
"This bill started out as being a Fifth Amendment bill only, the only way to do that is to remove a large section of the loitering bill that it would gut it, so I was like, let's get rid of loitering bill too, because I don't like, it's, a vague law," Moore said.
But powerful Republicans made it clear Moore is on his own.
"I take great exception to that and I'm outraged by that and frankly, I'm disgusted by that,” said Speaker of the House David Ralston.
Moore said he'd be willing to withdraw the bill and work with Republican leaders to craft something more appropriate.