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Deal on latest adoption bill: ‘It’s far from meeting my definition of clean’

What’s a “clean” bill to one politician might be a rotting pile of refuse to another. That’s the conundrum facing lawmakers in the opening days of the Georgia Legislature.

A Georgia Senate committee passed a bill this week to make the adoption process in Georgia faster and easier – and without a controversial “religious liberty” provision that Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston considered toxic. 

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said the other day that he considered the measure duly laundered: “There’s no question that the bill itself is going to be clean – in the context that it will be focused on child welfare and only child welfare.” 

But as we noted yesterday, the version passed out of the committee was infused with the contents of a House measure that which the governor vetoed last year. And Deal said after his State of the State address that the changes may be too bitter of a pill to swallow.

“We’re going to continue to work with them on that,” he said. “With regard to the basic adoption bill itself, it’s far from meeting my definition of clean.”

Deal added: “We have to be certain that the amendments they added do not put us back in the situation where we don’t have unnecessary impediments or delays of preventing children that need homes from being able to have them.” 

In a visit to  GPB’s “Political Rewind” show on Thursday, Cagle stood by his chamber’s version. The measure would let parents transfer power of attorney over their children to another family member or an outside agency for a year without going through the courts, and Cagle said it’s long been a Senate priority. 

“This is extremely important and I believe that the governor is going to be supportive and I hope that the House will be as well,” he said, nodding to its overwhelming approval last year by both chambers. “The House has obviously supported it as well.” 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.