Thanks to many calls from the grassroots and citizen activists, HB520 was not passed by the Senate last night. Some language regarding data sharing (deidentified) was added to SB23 which was passed. From my reading, this doesn’t seem to be an issue for personal privacy.
The story from the AJC highlights the proponents’ side of HB520 but nothing about the citizens concerns for violation of the Georgia Constitution and the insider dealing of the sponsor to benefit his company, Talitrix. For background on these items, check the links.
For sure, this battle is not over. In fact, Speaker Burns indicated that it will continue to be worked on this year and I’m sure they will try to get it passed in the next session.
“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” John Philpot Curran ~ Right of Election, 1790
Said simply “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”.
Today is Sine Die in Georgia, the most dangerous day of the year for your pocketbook and your liberties. This is the final day of the legislative session when the backroom deals and last minute changes are rammed down the throat of Georgia citizens.
Latest word is that the House has agreed to a modified HB520 bill even though it was never voted on in the Senate committee. Everyone needs to call Lt. Governor Burt Jones and tell him to NOT suspend the rules and table the bill. Call now (404) 656-5030.
As we’ve previously reported, this bill is a trojan horse for the sponsor Representative Todd Jones to financially benefit his company Talitrix. If that is not bad enough for you, it violates the Georgia #Constitution in a number of ways. See the story here.
As expected, we knew this was how it was going to go down. The Georgia leadership has done this to the citizens numerous times. In addition to calling the Lt. Governor, call your state representative and senator and let them know how you feel about it. Ask them to vote NO on any modified HB520. Also, be on the lookout for parts to be tacked onto other bills.
To find your House Representative and Senator, go to My Voter Page.
Pay special attention to the third video below (18 minutes). It is a side by side comparison of the Talitrix sales pitch by Rep. Jones to the Tennessee Senate compared with the explicit language in HB520. Thanks to Hank Sullivan, for his investigation and analysis.
|HB520, Likely Most Dangerous Bill Ever Considered by Georgia Legislature |
Lawmakers think no more dangerous than “Peeing in a cup”
As long as I have been paying attention to legislation annually proposed during the Georgia General Assembly, I have never seen a bill more dangerous to the people of Georgia, and possibly even America, than HB520, this years’ mental health bill. Interestingly enough, however, should you travel to the capitol and speak with legislators, an overwhelming number would have no idea what you are talking about. And if they have an inkling, they’d likely be shaking their heads, kinda squinting their eyes at you, you know, looking at you funny like you’re the one who’s mentally ill. Last week, one committee chairman, as it seems, decided I might be dangerous, and carefully positioned a State Patrol officer next to the podium at which citizens speak, maybe thinking I’d start an insurrection at Georgia’s Capitol or something. It’s on the video below.
If you have read my Substack over the past few weeks, you will recall several articles I have devoted to explaining the problems I see with HB520. But until I had two state senators, independent of each other, tell me HB520 was no more dangerous than having people pee in a cup to show they were clean of drugs and alcohol, I never imagined that I would devote my weekend to put everything together that I have, which you can now read and watch. It’s not like I don’t have stuff to do.
When the second senator said that to me, inspiration for a path to demonstrate what I had been trying to convey for the previous several weeks soon popped into my head. And if you spend a little time to read and watch the videos I provide here, then I expect you will not only see what I see, but also become as outraged as I am that anyone would have proposed this horribly dangerous bill to become law. This is America, not communist China. Our politicians need to start acting that way.
As of this moment, HB520 has been changed in certain ways from what you might see in the video. People I trust tell me the bill will not advance any further this year. Others, however, tell me that various interested parties might try to place two bills together to get them both passed. Either way, that does not excuse the fact that legislators representing people from all around Georgia sponsored a bill like HB520, which passed the House with only three dissenting votes, to go on to the Senate. Regardless which way it might go, so that anyone might think twice before trying this again, this evening I’m sharing with you all that the House bill 520 provides.
Below I’m going to post three videos. The first video is my first testimony before the Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Subcommittee about two weeks ago. Minutes prior to that testimony, those who came to speak were informed they would be limited to 120 seconds, hardly enough time to work up a good sneeze. I suppose it was my testimony that day which prompted the chairman to bring in the State Patrol to stand within an arm’s length of the presenters during the second day. But perhaps I give myself too much credit.
In keeping, the second video is of my second testimony, approximately a week later, same committee, same room, but this time with the State Patrol officer flanking the speakers to our right. He seemed like a nice fellow. It was a few minutes prior to that when the HHS subcommittee chairman made it a point to try to convince anyone paying attention that the term, “monitoring,” laced throughout the bill, was innocuous, and simply meant someone might have to “pee in a cup.” Maybe you agree with me that now is not the time to start trusting what our government tells us about such things. Thus, when I began my testimony I asked the chair to read from the bill the definition of that term being to releave one’s self in a cup, he could not do it, becoming visibly perturbed, but thankfully contained. That’s a good thing. I would have hated to ask the patrolman to intervene. I expect the chairman knew I made a valid point, that “monitoring” individuals under a court order could mean any number of things, depending on who the interpreter of the law might be. And as you will see on the video, for the second day in two weeks, I was silenced from speaking truth to those who really needed to hear it. Those running the meeting should have let me speak, and deeply consider what I had to tell them. But, hey, its all good. Now I know even more, and you will too. Because people in power refused to allow the truth to be heard, hard truth that it might be, that fact rallied my energies to perform the work it has taken to put all this together.
And so, the third video is the one I really want you to consider. I hope you to listen carefully as I compare the contents of a Talitrix sales presentation given to a Tennessee Senate subcommittee, against the contents, authorities and purposes of HB520. The sales presentation was given in September 2021 by then Georgia Representative Micah Gravely and Representative Todd Jones, patent holder of the Talitrix monitoring device and primary sponsor of HB520. If you listen and pay a modicum of attention, you will discover that the technology and capabilities of the Talitrix monitoring device are the very same as those specified and required in HB520, word-for-word. And because there is really no other product on the market that performs the functions the bill requires, and because the patent holder is also the sponsor of the bill, we can know with high certaintly that the bill is written to create various markets for the product, fund the product’s purchase at a statewide level, and even immunize the sponsor’s company, Talitrix, from civil or criminal liability.
Even so, everything I just laid out does not necessarily make HB520 dangerous. To understand why that is, you will have to watch the video.
Finally, lest anyone think this is fun, while I do find it interesting, and I pray rewarding for Americans who love their country and the blessings of freedom, it is not fun or what I wish to do. I don’t like exposing all this. I bear no ill will toward any of these people. I just see that it is necessary for us all to do what we can if we are to halt the corporatization of our government, and stop the tyrants from overthrowing our country. I’m just relating facts here, and reasoning from what those facts tell me. Therefore, if you appreciate the time and energy it took to put all of this together, let me ask you to please share it as best you can with your friends and those who might see it on social media. One more person seeing the truth could make an enormous difference. That’s how God works.
Click to watch first day testimony
Click to watch second day testimony and remarks from committee chairman
Video comparing Talitrix sales presentation to HB520
We’ve all heard the stories of the revolving door in Washington D.C, where bureaucrats will migrate from a public position at a federal agency to the private sector and back again to the federal agency to implement changes to public policy then back to the private sector resulting in tremendous personal gain at the expense of taxpayers. Well, we have a similar situation here in Georgia. Before the Georgia legislature this session is HB520 under the title: Buildings and housing; tenant selection; revise provisions.
The title sounds innocuous but what this bill really does is create a boondoggle for its sponsor, a current member of the Georgia House of Representatives as well as at least two former house members. As previously reported, the sponsor attempted to have provisions of this bill included in last years massive HB1013 Mental Health Bill.
True free enterprise is a hallmark of American culture and there is no issue with businesses creating and offering a product to the state or counties to improve efficiency and save money. The problem is the unethical conflict of interest by a representative proposing legislation from which they would financially benefit. Here is Representative Todd Jones identifying as the co-founder and chairman of Talitrix on video speaking to the Tennessee Senate to promote his patented device , the Talitrix smartwatch monitoring device. Alongside him is former Georgia House Representative Micah Gravley, the Vice President of Business Development for Talitrix. On further research, we learn that former Representative Marc Morris is also involved with Talitrix as the Chief People Officer. There are potentially other house members as reported by The Georgia Record which has released a two part series on Who is TalitrixPart I, Part II. For more background on the reason for the big push on mental health policy changes found in HB1013 and HB520, see these reports by Hank Sullivan, here and here and here.
Along with an unethical conflict of interest as explained above, the bill has the following unconstitutional provisions:
•Unlawful involuntary detainment of an individual on the affidavit of two anonymous sources which violates parental rights and due process. This violates Article I, Section I, Paragraph I of the Georgia #Constitution – No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property except by due process of law. And, 2021 Georgia Mental Health Code OCGA 37-4-5.1.
•Unlawfully allowing immunity from any civil or criminal prosecution for misdeeds by any person or entity covered under HB520. This violates Article I, Section I, Paragraph II of the Georgia Constitution – No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws.
•Unconstitutional monitoring, collection and sharing of data through state agencies which violates privacy as guaranteed by the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution and the Article I, Section I, Paragraph XIII of the Georgia Constitution.
•One subject matter expressed. No bill shall pass which refers to more than one subject matter or contains matter different from what is expressed in the title thereof per Georgia Constitution Article III, Section V, Paragraph III.
• And finally, the bill proposes financially imprudent use of taxpayer money for studies that could be conducted and funded through an existing Georgia Department of Behavioral Health.
In summary, HB520 cannot be salvaged. It imposes immoral, unconstitutional, unethical practices and is against a civil public policy and good government. Those that vote for this bill are violating their oath of office to the US and Georgia Constitutions.
The Health and Human Services Committee meets at 3pm on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. Take action now and contact these Georgia Senators and have them vote NO on HB520. Call these senators now and firmly but respectfully voice your concerns.
Ben Watson (404) 656-7880 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kay Kirkpatrick (404) 656-3932 email@example.com
Ed Setzler (404) 656-0256 firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Brass (404) 656-0057 email@example.com
Gloria Butler (404) 656-0075 firstname.lastname@example.org
Shelly Echols (404) 463-3931 email@example.com
Sonya Halpern (404) 463-1351 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bo Hatchett (404) 651-7745 email@example.com
Mike Hodges (404) 463-1309 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chuck Hufstetler (404) 656-0034 email@example.com
Kim Jackson (404) 656-6882 firstname.lastname@example.org
John Kennedy (404) 656-6578 email@example.com
David Lucas (404) 656-0150 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nan Orruck (404) 463-8054 email@example.com
Brian Strickland (404) 463-6598 firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry Walker III (404) 656-0095 email@example.com
Last year, the Georgia Legislature passed a massive Mental Health bill HB1013. Fortunately, one of the most egregious aspects financially benefiting the sponsors was pulled out. This year, the legislature is back at it with another attempt. One fourth of the bill defines studies to be completed that will define how the bill will work. More importantly, there is no definition of “Severe Mental Illness” in the bill. A consortium of unelected bureaucrats not accountable to the people will decide. For a quick video overview, watch this segment on Conservative Daily from the 5 minute mark to the 30 minute mark. Thanks to Diane Cox for the details below. Please call the Senators listed to let them know of your opposition. Time is of the essence.
| Action Alert HB 520 committee hearing today 3/15/2023 at 3:00|
by Diane Cox
Watch livestream today at 3:00 here. HB 520 [Mental Health Parity] will get a second hearing today in the sub-committee, then the full Senate Health and Human Services Committee will meet immediately after and probably take a vote. Now is the time to strike!
The committee has invited anyone to submit a testimony about HB 520, and it will be distributed to all its members. I directed my message to the Chm. vice-chm and secretary, with a request to distribute. Please do that now. I plan to do it again this morning with new information that I received on a zoom call last night.
At Monday’s sub-committee meeting, the room was standing room only. The other side had people there, but our opposition people showed up in force. After the meeting, the chief sponsor, Rep. Todd Jones, met with our opposition. He then used their talking points and countered them with lies that he sent to all the committee. He has designed this bill solely to sell his high-tech monitoring device using a pilot program and state grants to skirt the procurement process to sell to the state. Last year, his infamous bill, HB 1013, contained actual language of his device “Talitrix” that was stripped out in the Senate version. Rumor is that he ran for office again just to get a bill passed to promote his patented device. Here is a video of him selling his device to the Tennessee legislature.
This bill is not needed. The state already has a Department of Behavioral Health with a $1.4 billion budget. This bill creates unneeded study committees but without language on how to and how much the cost. It creates a massive new database of all Georgia citizens, combining ALL of the state’s executive agency databases to “Identify ways to use and share existing data for business intelligence and predictive analytic opportunities.” (lines 762-763) The bill gives immunity for civil and criminal liability to any entity contracted (lines 582-585).
It must be stopped in committee. Ask them to table or kill it. Please do you part.
Below are additional talking points provided by Eagle Forum of Georgia:
Liberties and human rights outlined in the fourth, fifth and sixth amendments in the US #Constitution are in jeopardy.
HB 520 gives the right for law enforcement to confine someone based on the affidavits of two people, whose identity is to be concealed. “… information personally identifying the affiants shall be redacted and concealed.” (lines 473-478) This is in violation of the Bill of Rights and is asking law enforcement to violate these rights.
HB 520 will multiply the number of people taking dangerous psychiatric drugs. Step therapy is a managed care approach intended to control the costs and risks posed by prescription drugs. This bill discourages step therapy. HB 520 states: “A health benefit plan shall not impose a step therapy protocol for a prescription drug prescribed for the treatment of serious mental illness, as defined by the department.” (line76)
520 seeks to impose mental health treatment on individuals “who do not pose a public safety risk” under the pretext that it will keep them out of jail. (line 109) (In jail a person has the right of due process, but with involuntary commitment, they don’t.) Current Georgia law specifically demands that: For inpatient involuntary treatment, a person must be in need of involuntary treatment and be an imminent danger to self or others. There must be some acts or threats of violence to show this danger, or be unable to care for their physical health and safety to a point where their life is in danger.
HB 520 endeavors to create a process to define Severe Mental Illness but SMI has already been defined by the National Institute of Mental Health:
“Serious Mental Illness (SMI) – SMI is a smaller and more severe subset of mental illnesses; SMI is defined as one or more mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder(s) resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities (NIMH).”
Under HB 520 there will be housing accommodations for criminal offenders with a federal and private donor landlord incentive program. (lines 1081 – 1104).
HB 520 does not provide for an auditing process for the millions of Georgia tax payer dollars that will be spent on mental health administration, mental health programs, prescriptions, government data bases of patients and providers, student loan forgiveness.
Please call members of the Health and Human Services Committee and firmly but respectfully voice your concerns.
Ben Watson (404) 656-7880
Kay Kirkpatrick (404) 656-3932
Ed Setzler (404) 656-0256
Matt Brass (404) 656-0057
Gloria Butler (404) 656-0075
Shelly Echols (404) 463-3931
Sonya Halpern (404) 463-1351
Bo Hatchett (404) 651-7745
Mike Hodges (404) 463-1309
Chuck Hufstetler (404) 656-0034
Kim Jackson (404) 656-6882
John Kennedy (404) 656-6578
David Lucas (404) 656-0150
Nan Orruck (404) 463-8054
Brian Strickland (404) 463-6598
Larry Walker III (404) 656-0095
Originally published September 29, 2014 |
ARC Public Comment Policy Falls Short
By Field Searcy
September 28, 2014
Last Wednesday, twelve private citizens addressed the Atlanta Regional Commission about the adoption of a more friendly public comment policy at the monthly board meetings. For some on the board, the comments were not welcomed. Maybe they were offended by the tone or the political correctness. Maybe the words cut to close too home. Or, maybe they’ve forgotten the price that was paid to secure the right.
The very foundation of the First Amendment was the right of political speech of the people to petition their government or challenge its authority. The ARC receives federal, state and local money. Its existence is the creature of government legislation at the state and federal level even its structure violates the republican form of government. In every way, it is bound by the #Constitution for the United States and the Georgia Constitution. In fact, the board members all swear an oath of allegiance to the same.
While all the ARC board members have busy lives and political careers, they should never be too busy to hear from the people that have delegated representative authority to them.
Indeed, the policy adopted is more liberal than the previous policy which required a 10 day notice, a motion by a board member, a second and a 2/3rd’s vote. The new policy on public comment remains inadequate for the following reasons.
- For a regional commission for 10 counties and a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) of 20 counties representing more than 5 million people, allowing a total of only 10 minutes with up to 2 minutes per person is not sufficient. Even Cobb County, which has recently been under fire for limiting public comment, has a more liberal policy.
- Given the limited amount of time allotted for public comment, safeguards should have been included to allow time for all points of view to be heard. Witness the backlash that was caused in Cobb by stacking of the deck with supporting voices against the citizens with opposing views. A true consultative approach of allowing differing opinions should be protected. A wise person once said “The shining spark of truth, cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.”
- Public comment should be guaranteed directly in the ARC governing bylaws rather than a policy that can be changed “from time to time.”
The ARC Board passed the new policy with a vote of 19-7. We don’t believe the 7 that voted “no” are against free speech. Quite the contrary, we believe they wanted the sounding committee to rework the policy with some of the reasons cited above in mind. We salute them for their courage to not vote in lockstep with the rest. This was really the significant event since rarely is there ever a dissenting vote on any ARC Board decisions.
For too long, the people have been asleep and silent; not paying attention to what our elected representatives have been doing. We were too busy or too trusting to notice that authority was being subverted to unelected persons that cannot be held accountable to the people.
That is no longer the case. All across the spectrum, a political awakening is taking shape. The citizens are coming together, rediscovering that “We The People” are the sovereigns’ of the government and are reclaiming our rightful place to keep the government accountable and safeguard our liberties.
Field Searcy, a Cobb citizen, represents RepealRegionalism.com an education campaign by the Transportation Leadership Coalition, LLC which led the grassroots effort against the Regional Transportation Tax (TSPLOST) in 2012.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions about exactly what the citizens of Gwinnett will be getting when they go to the polls to vote “Yes” or “No” on approving the only agreement signed between county officials and MARTA. Other contracts are yet to be written and agreed upon. Who will financially benefit from the contracts? In order to meet the transit goals proposed, what zoning laws and building codes will be changed to drive the economic development to these transit oriented locations and how will this impact other property values? If the citizens vote “Yes”, they are signing up for a permanent tax increase for the next 50 year with a lot of open questions. There’s no assurance that other taxes will not need to be raised in order to pay for ongoing maintenance. The voters have not been provided a cost per rider or cost/benefit analysis. What are the metrics for measuring success?
What happens if this Gwinnett transit plan becomes “too big to fail” and more and more money must be sunk into an aging system? Private enterprise solutions and exciting new technologies are on the horizon. For the amount of money proposed to be raised, there are other solutions the county could implement that don’t give up their autonomy. More importantly, is the county giving up its local control to un-elected and unaccountable regional boards and agencies that are difficult to remove? MARTA has a responsibility to shore up funding for the existing MARTA system which is continually underutilized and operating at significant losses from year to year. In essence, the voters need to ask themselves, will transportation problems in another county become Gwinnett’s problem? What is the exit strategy for Gwinnett if this goes sideways?
This is unreal. Real victims of assault and battery, sexual molestation, statutory rape, vehicular homicide and enticing a child for indecent purposes have waited 4, 6, 8 and as long as 10 years to have their day in court only to be repeatedly delayed by tactics of defense attorney and Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston. Now, after collecting huge $20k retainers and using his power as Speaker of the House to delay cases indefinitely, his political acolytes are claiming that he’s a victim of the media.
As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and other outlets, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston has utilized his position as the speaker to repeatedly delay criminal court cases. Of course, this was known at some level four years ago, but research since then has uncovered even more cases. It has been legal under Georgia law since 1905 for members of the legislature to request extension of court cases while the General Assembly is in session. Back in 2006, Ralston had a hand in the legislation to extend this privilege even when the General Assembly is not in session. As a defense attorney, he has the responsibility to defend his client to the best of his ability under the law. However, repeatedly extending cases for 4, 6, 8 and 10 years is certainly unethical and an abuse of power.
This is not the only time Speaker Ralston has faced ethics related concerns. He has a history of wielding dictatorial procedures to prevent bills from being heard from the floor, funding and encouraging other legislators to fund political campaigns against representatives who challenge or vote against his dictates and restricting assignment to choice committees. This is a conflict of interest which essentially consolidates his power to the detriment of the people who’ve elected these representatives that are willing to stand on principle or vote for their constituents interest.
Links to articles reporting on Ralston’s abuse of power:
Alleged victims say powerful Georgia lawmaker repeatedly delays cases
More Georgia lawmakers call for Ralston to resign as House speaker
Ralston helped write the law allowing him to delay criminal cases
Ralston seeks changes to law letting lawmakers delay criminal cases
Georgia Scandal Jeopardizes Perdue and Trump Victories in 2020
David Ralston is the Right Man to be Speaker of the Georgia House
HR To Remove Speaker Of Ga Drops- Minions Stand Strong, Pope Convenes Over Sex Abuse Cases- God Has A Possible Solution, HB418 Child Victims Act- Where’s The GOP?- WSB
Very interesting graphical representation on how US land is being utilized by all sectors of the economy. Imagine the impact of the UN Biological Diversity Treaty, which was signed by Pres. George HW Bush in 1992 and promulgated through all US federal agencies by Clinton with his Council on Sustainable Development, where most of the land is off limits to human use. Today, these policies have been adopted by local governments throughout the country in order to receive federal grants. This is also known as UN #Agenda 21 / Agenda 2030. The “Green New Deal” promoted by AOC is the fulfillment of these socialistic policies that would destroy the economy and take away our freedoms. There are other methods of conservation of the environment we should pursue that wouldn’t have these devastating impacts. See full article on Bloomberg here: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018-us-land-use/
So, if a representative stands on their principles and votes independently of the majority, they are now irrelevant? Isn’t this what the voters expect when they elect a representative? I don’t think they ran for office with the expectation of future rewards from leadership. You didn’t mention the reasons why they voted no.
First of all, a new Georgia Supreme Court building designed to administer justice for all should not be named after anyone and especially not for an individual that will now be a lobbyist potentially seeking political favor within the same building.
Surely, the AJC can see the ethical contradictions. You should be calling out this obvious conflict of interest. I guess you expect them to vote in “lockstep” with the house leadership. This is exactly what’s wrong with our body politik.