LAST CHANCE TO STOP HB310…All you need to do is make a single phone call

From Garland Favorite of

UPDATE: For live links and videos of the hearing, click here.

The Senate Public Safety Committee passed the HB310 “Big Brother” bill late
Monday afternoon over unanimous objections from the general public who
testified during a grueling double session that was postponed after the
first hour and resulted in all witnesses being forced to return two hours
later. Rep. Alan Powell, who sponsored the bill contended that:
* the bill was simply an “unplugging and replugging” of criminal
defense functions,
* there were no new police powers granted,
* that no issues were raised in the House hearing and
* that recent new opposition was suffering from “paranoia”.
Attorneys Catherine Bernard and Rose McConnell started the unanimous public
opposition with detailed critiques of the bill by refuting these claims. The
session included some heated exchanges after Attorney Catherine Bernard
repeatedly told the committee that Rep. Alan Powell had misrepresented the
bill to the committee and her contention was supported by VoterGA founder,
Garland Favorito, who knew Rep. Powell personally. Powell later complained
to the Committee that Attorney Barnard was merely an indigent defense lawyer
who had called him a liar.

Testimony focused on the massive expansion of power that the governor had
incorporated into the bill even though that power was unnecessary to
implement the criminal justice reforms that the bill contained. This
* The massive expansion of government that is allowable in the bill
(including what could become hundreds of new community supervision units and
thousands of new community supervision employees)
* The potential for a governor to politicize the newly proposed
Department of Community Supervision with centralized decision making and
politically generated contracts rather than the current criminal justice
model that supports more localized control
* Scenarios of how a governor could use the new police powers to
arrest those who disagree with his policies and then to impose sanctions
against them in a new pre-trial release program even though they had never
been convicted of a crime

The Senators had little or no response for the issue of how a Governor could
use his newly defined police powers against political adversaries. Some
Senators implied that since the governor presides over most of the current
departments there would not be a significant risk of politicizing other
aspects of the new Department of Community Supervision. However, Hank
Sullivan of the Lanier Tea Party countered eloquently about how the
centralization and consolidation of locally controlled power and decision
making will lead to the Department of Community Supervision becoming a
political arm of the governor. Some Senators also contended that the
legislature could control the expansion of government through
appropriations, however, that argument lacks credibility. It is based on the
assumption that they would suddenly muster enough courage to challenge the
governor’s demands when they don’t even have enough courage to vote against
the bill now when it is overwhelming opposed by the general public. Former
U.S. Senate candidate Derrick Grayson explained to the committee that this
bill did not benefit the black community despite claims to the contrary and
Dave Rittenhouse closed with an historical analogy entailing similarities
between HB310 and regulations implemented in Nazi Germany prior to World War

Senator Harold Jones was not present for the vote since the meeting was
rescheduled for the exact same time that he had a previously scheduled
Non-Civil Judiciary Committee hearing. All of the remaining Senators who
voted for the “Big Brother” bill were inundated prior to the hearing with
calls and Emails from the general public opposing the bill. Ironically,
Republicans were responsible for passing the bill even though all of the
opposition testimony came from Republicans or Independents. John Albers
voted for the bill after two of his own constituents testified against it.
Michael Williams voted for the bill even though his recent campaign had
benefited from supportive videos made by Nydia Tisdale whose testified
against the bill.

The passage of HB310 is a definitive measure of what is wrong with the
Republican Party. At least three witnesses admonished the Senators that most
of them ran on a limited government platform but were growing the government
dramatically by voting for this bill. Witnesses also explained how the bill
could jeopardize their constituents’ freedom, which they were obligated to
protect. But it was all to no avail. HB310 now moves to the Rules Committee
and will likely receive a floor vote unless Majority Leader David Shafer or
chairman Jeff Mullis, decide not to move the bill this year because of
public opposition. You can contact them and your Senators to voice your
concern either way.

Majority Leader
Sen. David Shafer (404) 656-0048,
Rules Chairman
Sen. Jeff Mullis (404) 656-0057,

Senate List

770 993 3622



Public Safety Committee

Harper, Tyler (404) 463-5263 Chair
Albers, John (404) 463-4161 Vice Chair
Dugan, Mike (404) 656-7454
Seay, Valencia (404) 656-5095
Williams, Michael (404) 656-7127
Watson, Ben (404) 656-7880
Jones II, Harold V. (404) 463-3942 (not present
for vote)

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