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Feb. 23 – GA Senate passed bill that may reduce LGBT Adoptions, Foster Parents and Consolidation of Fire Safety Services

By Lou Phelps, Coastal Empire News

February 23, 2018 – A bill filed by conservative Republican State Sen. Bill Ligon from Brunswick that would allow religious-based agencies to decline to work with LGBT couples in adopting children from foster care, passed the Senate today by a vote of 35-19. It now moves to the House. 

It is another in a series of ‘religious liberty’ bills that Republicans in the General Assembly continue to sponsor, though a number have ultimately been vetoed by Gov. Nathan Deal.  Deal has not taken a public position on SB 375, but the Georgia Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill.

The bill outlines that taxpayer-funded adoption agencies can refuse to work with married gay couples who seek to adopt children, many of whom are currently in foster care.

Georgia law and Federal law already gives Georgia adoption agencies the ability to not serve LBGT couples, but Sen. Ligon stated that the bill is necessary and will result in more religious-based agencies opening if they can choose their clients.  Georgia has 13,000 children currently in the foster care system.

The bill is supported by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who presides over the Senate.

Earlier this week, the Consolidation of Fire Safety Services in Georgia Act, SB 319, and sponsored by Sen. John Albers (R – Roswell), passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

“Thank you to Governor Deal, Lt. Governor Cagle and my Senate colleagues for their support on this bill,” said Sen. Albers. “As Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, ensuring the safety of Georgia’s citizens is my top priority. My bill will bring together all fire safety services under one umbrella in an effort to increase communication, streamline effectiveness and provide better services and response times to citizens across the state.”

The Consolidation of Fire Safety Services in Georgia Act creates a new Division of Fire Safety, which will be led by the new position of Commissioner of Fire Safety. The new division will fall under the authority of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC). SB 319 provides the authorization to consolidate Georgia’s fire safety services and transfers the authority from the Commissioner of Insurance to the new division and commissioner. The bill also creates a Fire Safety Advisory Board to advise the appointed commissioner and aid with the newly consolidated duties.

The changes to Georgia’s fire safety services under SB 319 would be effective no later than July 1, 2019. The bill now moves to the Georgia House. 


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