State Sen. Hunter Hill, R-Smyrna (left), during Thursday’s legislative session. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Adoption bill dies in Georgia Legislature’s final moments

The first update to the state’s adoption laws in a generation made a last-gasp appearance in the Georgia Senate on Thursday, but lawmakers well past midnight voted to send it back to committee, killing it for the year.

Senate Bill 130 emerged as a compromise that would deliver the adoption update the House wanted while also passing a Senate priority to help foster parents find volunteers.

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, got a standing ovation from members Tuesday for castigating the Senate over how it has treated the adoption update. The new adoption rules were originally in House Bill 159, which sailed through the House unanimously in February.

A Senate committee, however, amended the bill by adding protections for private adoption agencies that receive state funding. The amendment would allow those agencies to refuse to place children with LGBTQ families, among others.

The ensuing uproar, from the business community, LGBTQ activists, House leaders and Gov. Nathan Deal, then stalled the bill.

The House on Tuesday then added the adoption bill to an unrelated Senate Bill 130 and passed it. The Senate finally took the bill up at about 12:30 a.m. but after a series of speeches and parliamentary manuevering, members voted to send it back to committee. Both the House and Senate quit for the year almost immediately after.

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