Mike Hall and Jennifer Kauffman have a post up at the AFL-CIO Now blog, “Tea Party Joins Fight Against Georgia Anti-Picketing Bill,” indicating that the GA GOP leaders may have brilliantly alienated their most favored constituency. As Kauffman and Hall explain:
Here’s something we don’t see every day. The tea party and unions and other progressive groups have come together in Georgia to fight a proposed Draconian law that would make union and other picketing a serious crime.
The bill, SB 469 introduced by state Sen. Don Balfour (R), clamps down on free speech and workers’ rights.The bill would allow protestors to be charged twice for the same act of peaceful protest–once with conspiracy to commit, which would be charged as a high and aggravated misdemeanor and carry a $5,000 fine and up to a year in jail, and then with criminal trespass, which would carry a $1,000 fine and also up to a year in jail.
The bill would cover action by unions, environmental, civil rights, pro-and anti-choice groups and just about every conceivable group that would engage in picketing protests.
The bill, SB 469, which has passed the GA state senate, was the target of a Saturday “We Are Georgia” rally at the state capitol, which drew over 2,000 protesters. As the Atlanta Tea Party/Tea Party Patriots Georgia put it, in urging their members to turn out and support unions and other progressive protesters on this one, “This is not a right or left issue, it is a right or wrong issue. We may not agree with all of the politics…but we will defend their right to speak and protest, because this is America. If we destroy the First Amendment, we cease to be a free nation.”
Having already ticked off farmers and Latinos with their immigrant-harrassment legislation, Georgia’s Republican leaders are now exploring new and creative ways to anger their base.