MORE: Track bills, lawmakers: Georgia Legislative Navigator
The changes to House Bill 159 were done over the objections of its sponsor, state Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, who said he had been notified of them less than two hours before Thursday’s hearing.
Bobby Cagle, director at the state’s Division of Family and Children Services, said the changes would likely endanger “hundreds of millions of dollars” the agency received from the federal government because they appeared to violate federal nondiscrimination laws.
Others on the panel said they feared it legalized discrimination. If an agency enters “into a contract with the government that is taxpayer-funded, they are bound to provide it in a nonsecular fashion,” said state Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta. “It’s inappropriate for your tax dollars to discriminate against you.”
The committee’s 7-4 vote to approve the bill with the changes moves it on to the powerful Senate Rules Committee, which will decide whether to send the bill to the chamber floor for a vote.