A bill to restrict the wearing of Muslim burqa and veil in Georgia

House Bill 3, authored by state Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, would bar women from wearing a burqa and veil when posing for the photo on their Georgia drivers’ license. The bill would also subject female Muslim garb to the state’s anti-masking statute – which originally was aimed at the Ku Klux Klan.

Spencer said his legislation was intended to apply to women who are driving on public roads, but the wording suggests the restriction might also apply to any kind of public property.

The legislation would insert this new line into the state's anti-masking bill: "For the purposes of this subsection, the phrase 'upon any public way or property' includes but is not limited to operating a motor vehicle upon any public street, road , or highway."

The state's anti-masking law is currently gender specific, using the word "he." Spencer would amend the legislation thusly:

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We haven’t talked to Clark, but Cheokas said he was done in by local opposition to Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposed constitutional amendment to permit the state to take over individual failing schools.

Here’s the thing: We’ve written some about the governor’s intent to punish school boards and teachers for their opposition. But if Cheokas is right, you might find that lawmakers won’t be eager to side with Deal in any attempt at revenge.

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Abrams defeated Rep Winifred Dukes, D-Albany. Dukes, a 20-year-veteran of the House, argued that Democrats under Abrams leadership have not made the necessary advancements to compete for a majority position and that Abrams’ fails to delivery transparency and unity to the caucus. Abrams countered that since she took over as leader the caucus has won previously GOP-held seats and defended more that were drawn for Republicans to win.

In other races, Rep. Carolyn Hugley, D-Columbus, defeated Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, to remain as minority whip, and Rep. Bob Trammell, D-Luthersville, defeated Rep. Erica Thomas, D-Austell for vice chair.

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Among the interesting names making the round on the Republican side is U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, who won a GOP leadership role on Tuesday, and state Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, who is one of many being mentioned as a 2018 candidate for governor. On the Democratic side, there was apparently ruminations about former U.S. Rep. John Barrow making a comeback.

But here’s another thought that might deserve some cogitation:

It appears that Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina has been done in by H.B. 2, that state’s transgender bathroom law. But there’s another, more practical reason that another battle over “religious liberty” legislation should be avoided. Which the Georgia Chamber would dearly like to do.

Republicans are now fully in charge of Congress. This summer, during his re-election bid, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson said that the fight over “religious liberty” legislation was something to be settled at the federal level  – not in a state Capitol in Atlanta.

“It’s Washington’s problem” sounds like a perfectly reasonable escape hatch for those who don’t want the issue to dominate the Legislature for a fourth year running.

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So far the pool reports have described a roster of visitors either with a hand in selecting Trump's Cabinet or folks who could be up for positions. Color us surprised when this name popped up yesterday:

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Among those suspended was Richard Spencer, who runs an alt-right think tank and had a verified account on Twitter. Here’s his protest video:

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that...
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