An obscure state legislator, Rep. Bobby Franklin of Georgia's 43rd House district, received a disproportionate amount of attention earlier this week for proposing that the state eliminate the practice of licensing drivers. Illustrative of his mastery of the Constitution, Franklin eloquently notes, "Free people have a common law and constitutional right to travel on the roads and highways that are provided by their government for that purpose. Licensing of drivers cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of an inalienable right." He had the following exchange with a local reporter regarding this legislative masterpiece:
Franklin told CBS Atlanta News that driver's licenses are a throw back to oppressive times. “Agents of the state demanding your papers," he said. "We’re getting that way here.”
CBS Atlanta's Rebekka Schramm asked Franklin, “How are we going to keep up with who’s who and who’s on the roads and who’s not supposed to be on the roads?”
“That’s a great question," Franklin said. "And I would have to answer that with a question, ‘Why do you need to know who’s who?’”
“What about 12-14-year-olds who want to drive? What would stop them?" Schramm asked.
“Well, what’s stopping them now anyway?” Franklin answered.
We Georgians are well acquainted with Rep. Franklin, not merely for his brilliance but also for his productivity. In the current state legislative session he has proposed 50 bills in the first two weeks, including the first 21 bills to enter the hopper. Let's take a quick look at what Rep. Franklin has been doing for the people of Georgia.
HB1 – "to provide that prenatal murder shall be unlawful in all events…"
OK, so he's throwing pro-lifers a bone. No harm in that.
HB2 Georgia Right to Grow Act – "to protect the right to grow food crops and raise small animals on private property so long as such crops and animals are used for human consumption by the occupants"
So your neighbor can keep a donkey or a chicken coop in his yard. At this point I need to emphasize that Franklin's district is in suburban Atlanta.
HB3 Constitutional Tender Act – "to require the exclusive use of gold and silver coin as tender in payment of debts by or to the state"
Because according to the Constitushin, FRN ain't real money!
HB4 Life, Liberty, and Property Restoration Act – "to create the Joint Committee on Repeals"
No idea what this means, but I am going to have to assume that it's something crazy.
HB5 Freedom of Choice and Security Act – "to amend Chapter 11 of Title 16 …(to) repeal Article 4"
Ch.11, Title 16, Art. 4 outlaws the following things, among others:
16-11-102: Pointing a gun at another person
16-11-106: Using a firearm in the commission of another crime
16-11-113: Transferring a firearm to someone cannot legally own one
16-11-122: Possession of a sawed-off shotgun or machine gun
16-11-127: Carrying a firearm onto school property or at school functions
16-11-131: Possession of firearm by convicted felon
16-11-132: Possession of firearm by individual under 18
16-11-134: Discharge of firearm under the influence of drugs
16-11-170: To provide background checks under the Brady Act
HB6 Emergency Defense of the Home Act – "to repeal the power of the Governor to suspend or limit the sale or transportation of firearms during times of emergency"
HB7 Right to Travel Act – the drivers' license thing
HB8 Due Process Restoration Act – "to prohibit certain forms of surveillance without search warrants"
Hey, we finally found one that isn't completely fucking bonkers!
HB9 Kathryn Johnston's Law – "to provide that the use of forced entry in the execution of a search warrant is prohibited"
There. Now we're back on track.
HB10 Child Protection Act – "to provide that no local governing authority shall prohibit the construction of a fence between properties of a sufficient height to prevent a person at the highest point of observation in one residence to observe activity within an adjacent property"
Read that explanation carefully and note just how high the proposed fence in question would have to be to prohibit, for example, viewing one's neighbor's yard from a 2nd story window. But your bizarro 25 foot fence will enhance Child Protection!
HB11 Freedom from Compulsory Pandemic Act – "to repeal the authority of the Governor to issue mandatory vaccination orders"
A logical extension of the pioneering work of Dr. Jennifer McCarthy at the University of Google.
HB12 Georgia Food Freedom Act – "to exempt from local regulations certain retail sales of Georgia grown agricultural or farm products directly from the producer to the consumer"
If history has proven anything it's that unregulated food is safe.
HB13 – "to prohibit the levy or collection of income taxes"
Well that 'll fix our massive budget deficit.
HB14 – "to change the term "victim" to the term "accuser" …where there has not yet been a criminal conviction"
OK, that seems reasonable. But I'm sure his motives are somehow insane.
HB15 – "to provide that no person employed by or under contract with…this state…shall be permitted to address any committee or subcommittee of the General Assembly"
Common sense lobbying reform? Bobby, I'm disappointed. What has gotten into you?
HB16 Georgia Nuclear Energy Financing Act – "to eliminate provisions for a utility to recover from its customers the costs of financing associated with the construction of a nuclear generating plant"
We'll recoup the costs from the general tax revenues instead.
HB17 – "to abolish the Department of Human Services"
I hear they mostly spend their days playing Duck Hunt anyway. Good riddance.
HB18 – "to abolish the State Road and Tollway Authority"
Bobby, we're starting to run out of sources of income. I'm not sure you realize this.
HB19 – "to provide that federal reserve banks and branches located in Georgia shall not be exempt from state income tax"
Can a state tax a Federally chartered bank? Man, I wish the Supreme Court offered some guidance on this complicated question of federalism.
Oh wait I just tripped over McCULLOCH v. FRIGGIN' MARYLAND. FROM 1819.
HB20 – "to provide for the comprehensive regulation of federal tax funds"
This is so poorly written as to obscure its intended meaning, but from the complete bill I gather that this is some kind of scheme to create a state panel to rule on what Georgia's tax dollars can and cannot be used for by the Federal government…which sounds really constitutional.
HB21 – "to provide findings of the General Assembly regarding the constitutionality of certain federal laws and other mandates; to provide that any judicial officer, law enforcement officer, agent, or employee of the federal government, any multinational government, any international government, or any global government commits the offense of racketeering by color of law when he or she attempts to enforce any law not recognized as valid."
If you're going to propose the first 21 bills you might as well go out in a blaze of glory – Nullification! "Global government" paranoia! The common sense assertion that states get to pick which Federal laws are "recognized as valid"! Boy, I wonder if Rep. Franklin had any crazy left for the remainder of the session after this 21 bill burst of furious activity…
HB37 – "to provide that political parties shall provide documentation that their candidates in the presidential preference primary meet the qualifications of the United States Constitution to hold the office of President of the United States"
Oh hell yeah.
You're money well spent, Bobby. Reading your list of legislative proposals I can't imagine what our state government could do to streamline its operations, reduce waste, and get more accomplished.