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State Legislative Update: Adoptions, Hate Crimes, and Religious Freedom

By February 16, 2018Georgia
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The 2018 legislative session is at its halfway mark, and CWA of Georgia is actively representing you at the State Capitol on issues that are important to you.  I wanted to update you on three issues that we have been working on very closely.

Adoption and Foster Care Legislation
The House and Senate passed HB 159, the massive rewrite of Georgia’s adoption code which hadn’t been updated since 1990. Because faith-based adoption agency protections were removed from HB 159, Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) has introduced SB 375, the “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act.”  SB 375 will ensure that the State of Georgia will continue to respect the special missions of faith-based child-placing agencies as this State has always done. This State has the constitutional duty to proactively protect the first freedom of the First Amendment for religious persons and their institutions.

Status: HB 375 is working its way through the Senate. I testified in support of SB 375 at the subcommittee hearing. It should be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

Action: Call or e-mail your state senator and urge him/her to support SB 375 when it comes to the Senate floor for a vote. Click here to locate your state senator.  Be sure to let them know that you are a member of Concerned Women for America of Georgia.

Please pray that SB 375 will pass both the House and Senate and that Gov. Deal will sign the bill. The spiritual warfare is great on this bill. There are many who want faith-based adoption agencies and faith-based foster care organizations eliminated in Georgia.

Hate Crimes Legislation
Three state-level “hate crimes” bills have been filed in the Georgia legislature. HB 660 has been introduced by Rep. Megan Hanson (R-Brookhaven). HB 663 and SB 316 have been introduced by Rep. Karen Bennett (D-Stone Mountain) and Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah), respectively.  All three bills would add additional punishments for crimes committed against protected classes of people based on race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, mental disability, and physical disability.

Please read our talking points concerning the dangers of “hate crime” laws.

 Status: HB 660, HB 663, and SB 316 were heard in subcommittee this week, but no votes were taken. I testified at all three hearings in opposition to the bills. Read my testimony here.

Action: No action is needed at this time. 

Religious Freedom Legislation
The fight to pass modest religious freedom legislation still continues! SB 233, a state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that provides religious liberty protections for people of all faiths living in Georgia, is languishing in committee.

Watch this video that explains why Georgia must pass SB 233, a state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Action: No action is needed at this time.

Pray that SB 233 moves and that the Senate will have an opportunity to vote for the bill.

Additional Legislation
We are monitoring several other bills on issues such as casinos, marijuana, sex trafficking, and pornography. Click here for the latest updates on CWA of Georgia’s targeted list of bills.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  – Galatians 6:9

Once again, thank you for both your prayers and action.

Tanya Ditty
State Director