The Georgia Senate passed the adoption bill, HB 159, with a vote of 40-13 on Thursday. The bill looks to streamline the adoption process for families and ease burdensome regulations for the adoption of the state’s foster children.
Adoption takes twice as long in Georgia than most other states. The national average for adopting nationwide is 13 months and in Georgia, it takes about 30 months.
The bill overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate last year, but Governor Deal vetoed the bill due to his concern that it did not have any accountability measures involved. The current bill was amended to add requirements for background checks on temporary guardians.
Last year’s version of the adoption bill had a religious liberty provision for faith-based adoption organizations but was taken out of this most recent version of the bill. The religious liberty language was removed because some legislators felt it discriminated against placing children with same-sex couples. Religious liberty language in a stand-alone an adoption bill is expected to show up later in the session.
The newly revised HB 159 includes language that allows parents to give power of attorney of their child over to another if they are called for military duty, in drug rehabilitation or financial hardship.
The bill will head to the House for consideration.