Friday, March 27, 2015

Georgia's 'religious freedom' bill gutted & tabled after unexpected move

While Indiana is dealing with the consequences of passing their "religious freedom" bill, a bit of unexpected drama caused a similar bill in Georgia to be tabled by the folks who proposed it:

Last minute dramatics capped off a two-hour long meeting of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, as an amendment adding protections against discrimination passed, which led to a successful vote to table the bill. If the bill would have passed in today's hearing, it likely would have reached the House floor for a vote as soon as Friday. Now the bill's future is in serious jeopardy as the days left in this year's legislative session dwindle.

The amendment was proposed by Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven), who stated that he was inundated with calls and emails from constituents concerned about the bill's effects. After several minutes of debate and a call to vote on the amendment, Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem) gave a stern warning to the committee that if the amendment passed and anti-discrimination language was included in the final version of the bill, he would vote no on it.

"This is the amendment that will gut this bill," he said emphatically. The committee then voted 9 to 8 to pass the amendment. Joining Jacobs and the six Democrats who voted in favor of the amendment were Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) and Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta). Beskin's vote is notable in that she voted against a similar amendment in Wednesday night's hearing, only to vote in favor a day later. Following passage of Jacobs' amendment, Fleming made a motion to table it, got a second and the bill was tabled.

Check out the full story in the Georgia Voice.

If this bill does not pass, it would be a huge psychological defeat for the religious right. A situation in Atlanta involving that city's fire chief, Kelvin Cochran, supposedly being "dismissed for his faith" was used as a rallying point for supporters of these "religious freedom" bills in general.

1 comment:

COXYGRU said...

Fantastic news!