Georgia Senate adjourns session without voting on adoption bill

A clean, non-discriminatory version of adoption legislation House Bill 159 won’t be on the governor’s desk this year, a move that LGBT rights coalition Georgia Unites Against Discrimination called “a travesty first and foremost for Georgia’s children.” The new iteration, Senate Bill 130, was sent back to committee shortly before the General Assembly adjourned its 2017 session.

Despite ardent efforts by freshman Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia) to add the more than 100 pages of HB 159 to his existing SB 130 and get the new bill to a vote, fellow GOP senators Renee Unterman (R-Buford) and William Ligon (R-Brunswick) were just as determined to stall it.

“The last time we amended our adoption code, the governor of our state was sitting in our body. It was 1990. I was 7,” Tillery said at the well when the bill was finally introduced after midnight Friday.

Ligon, who introduced the discriminatory language to HB 159 that many saw as anti-LGBT, appeared flustered he could not add such an amendment to SB 130 due to Senate rules related to the number of amendments allowed.

Unterman then made a motion to table the bill — which failed 31 to 22 — saying it “is a very emotional issue.”

“It needs a lot of work on it,” she said. “I think a motion to table is in order.”

As he did earlier this week and during a recent Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, Ligon held that the House had two years to work on HB 159’s language, whereas the Senate only had “a week and a half.” His motion to recommit SB 130, and effectively the clean, non-discriminatory version of adoption bill HB 159, passed just before 1 a.m.