Lawmaker to withdraw ‘anti-burqa’ bill after wave of criticism

State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, said Thursday he will withdraw his proposed legislation that would ban women from wearing burqas on public property in Georgia.

Spencer filed the bill on Monday, the first day lawmakers could present legislation to be considered when the Legislature returns in January.

House Bill 3 would have made clear that no one could wear a burqa in a driver’s license or state identification photo or while driving. It also appeared that the measure would have banned women from wearing burqas anywhere on public property.

The reaction to the idea was swift and critical. Earlier Thursday, Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth, the most powerful member of that chamber, slammed Spencer’s proposal.

“The government has no business preventing Muslim women from wearing face scarves in public,” Shafer said in an interview.  “Too many people on both sides of the religious freedom debate only want to protect freedom when it comes to their own beliefs.”

Spencer claimed his bill would pass constitutional muster but that political forces were too strong against it.

“While this bill does not contain language that specifically targets any group, I am mindful of the perception that it has created,” he said in a statement. “My objective was to address radical elements that could pose a threat to public safety. However, further consideration dictates that other solutions will need to be considered. ”

A number of top Democrats and Republicans lined up against the measure in the two days it existed, while legal experts doubted the bill would accomplish much other than unfairly target Muslim women. Some Republicans, too, feared the measure would wound any effort to pass a “religious liberty” bill next year.

“Freedom is a meaningless concept if it does not apply to all beliefs, even the ones, especially the ones, you do not share,” Shafer said.

Reader Comments 0

622 comments
Johnny Hopkins
Johnny Hopkins

Just like our elected official, they don't have what it takes to stand up to some of these rats.

Diane Wood
Diane Wood

WE THE PEOPLE CAN STOP THIS WE CAN SEND ANOTHER BILL TO STOP THIS EASY PEASY

Diane Wood
Diane Wood

BAD BAD MISTAKE FOR YOU GEORGIA WHY?? WHY??

Mark Dunn
Mark Dunn

Screw that! NO damn burkas in Ga.

Jo Anne Holton Clark
Jo Anne Holton Clark

Just a bunch of cowards.... we need folks in office that will stand up for American tradition and values!!!!

Elaine Branch
Elaine Branch

We need to do what the French did. Ban them.

Connie White
Connie White

It's already banned if somebody, anybody in legislation would read the law that's on the books already....since 1952.

Jean Allen
Jean Allen

NO NO NO you leave that bill go through,these muslims are dangerous to the public,they could be men under there with machine guns,Dont back down.

Elizabeth Johnson
Elizabeth Johnson

If one can't take a photo with glasses then why allow a woman to cover her face? Let her cover her hair but not the face. It isn't safe to take away what police need to be able to identify a person driving. We can't change our laws to suit everyone. Out of respect for their new countries and our laws they should comply.

Douglas Palmer
Douglas Palmer

KKK well suit it up . Go put a mask everbody. And if a person rob a bank and he has a mask on and everybody else is having a mask it makes it easy to rob banks WOW how stupid can our government get

George Hitt
George Hitt

Why just to be PC and not abide by the laws already on the books. Cannot wear a hood for Drivers license.

Vicki Blackmon
Vicki Blackmon

Don't listen to the snowflakes, do the right thing for the safety of all!

Glenda Joiner
Glenda Joiner

This should be banned. You can't stand a little criticism? Maybe we need someone else to stand up for the he citizens.

Thomas R. McFarland
Thomas R. McFarland

He probably got warned that the bill would not be defensible in court on constitutional grounds.

Frances Dye
Frances Dye

Send them to their country to wear them .

Michael Ferrari
Michael Ferrari

I am not the least bit concerned with offending them. Our safety takes higher priority than their backwards ideology.

Todd Owens
Todd Owens

Coward for withdrawing the bill.

Jay Gee
Jay Gee

Our lawmakers are letting us down. They are blind and stupid.

Sandra Hammond Kennedy
Sandra Hammond Kennedy

Sharia law is against the constitution. Wearing a Burka for I D photos should be illegal. But wearing a Burka is a personal choice- religious choice and should not offend anyone.

Rocky Mckenzie
Rocky Mckenzie

Just like always! Back out just because small group of protesters against you? They didn't vote for you anyway so how bout do what your supporters want? Ppl should show their face! That's not racist...... it's common sense.

Joy Mcc
Joy Mcc

So ridiculous why should thye have different laws if they want to live here ??...

Diane Stark Stephens
Diane Stark Stephens

Don't withdraw this legislation, have courage. The voters agree with you!

AJ Roth
AJ Roth

We do need a way to be sure they are not like the suicide boring in France who hide bombs under the robes. And hiding your face in public means everyone, even robbers, have the same right.

Ken Deal
Ken Deal

This burka offends me /what about my rights ?

Harold Martin
Harold Martin

BUNCH OF BB BALLED CONGRESSMEN IN GEORGIA, SEEING ONES FACE IS IMPORTANT IN IDENTIFING CRIMINALS.

Jerry Hilton
Jerry Hilton

Well my religion says I have to wear a mask so when of getting my drivers license renewed I'll wear one since I have to.

Eliana Jofre de Alvarez-Donis
Eliana Jofre de Alvarez-Donis

Middle ground should've been the best. Pull the burqa to take the ID pic, and then back to it. Modern times require though decisions. Burqas existed before ID, let's agree to desagree

Lisa Taylor Buffington
Lisa Taylor Buffington

Sooooo I think I'm going to buy me some white cloth and make me a KKK outfit. It's cold outside and will keep me warm. Please don't dare call me a racist because I have the right to wear whatever I want RIGHT, FREEDOM, RIGHT⁉️ Give me a friggen break your are in the United States if you like Your customs so much why did you leave your country ⁉️⁉️⁉️ This isn't about the thing covering her head it's what CAN and in some cases worn under these outfits ‼️ AMERICA FIRST YOU BUNCH OF OVER PAID IDIOTS 😡😡‼️‼️

Turner Rentz
Turner Rentz

Good. We stand with our puritan ancestors, to allow freedom of religion. This is the essence of who we are as Americans. Never forget the entire anti-muslim crusade exists simply because the CIA Predator Drone Bay kills only 10 percent of their intended target. 9 out of every 10 kills are innocent civilians - the only reason we're always being fed the line about muslims are all evil - is so that someone, somewhere, can pretend that an innocent , dead syrian child - is somehow some kind of evil enemy combatant. They did this to us in the Vietnam war as well.

Levi Eaves
Levi Eaves

They want us to respect their ways. Why can't they respect us and understate that we are on edge with Islam. I know not all Muslims are terrorists but there are alot who are thinking about becoming one. Anytime you see somebody covering their face in public you think the worst and obviously for good reason. Surely the Muslims who want piece can understand that and show a little compassion for Americans who have been persecuted by Islam.

Ken Deal
Ken Deal

Come on Georgia take a stand

Sandra Cotton
Sandra Cotton

Of course, all they have to do is whine a little and they get what they want...ban the burqa in public. Can't you people get anything right?

Marjorie Claypole Giannetti
Marjorie Claypole Giannetti

Burka's risk our very security because there is no way to identify who is wearing it and even if it was a man or a woman...do we have to wait until there is a tragedy????

Marjorie Claypole Giannetti
Marjorie Claypole Giannetti

Burka's risk our very security because there is no way to identify who is wearing it and even if it was a man or a woman...do we have to wait until there is a tragedy????

Brenda Kilpatrick Watkins
Brenda Kilpatrick Watkins

I respect people who do not believe as I do. However, if more than half of one's face is covered, how can this person be identified? How can this person obtain a driver's license, gun permit, etc.? Why do I have to remove my glasses for the ID?

Jacqueline Simmons
Jacqueline Simmons

Sounds like a good law to me . I am sick of these people coming to America and then wanting America to suit them and their life choices !

Renee Stevens
Renee Stevens

like the kkk terrorist and murderers and yet they can wear hoods

Libby Downs
Libby Downs

This is a safety issue. The person can not be identified if a crime is commited.

Gop Party News
Gop Party News

IMO stuff about politics and the failed DNC is fab

Donna McClendon
Donna McClendon

It is a concealing head piece like a ski mask that criminals wear.