Deal signs adoption reforms into law


Gov. Nathan Deal today signed HB 159, legislation sponsored by Rep. Bert Reeves, to enact comprehensive reforms to Georgia’s adoption code.

“In this exceptional state in which so many choose to work, learn and create a home, we continue to value the cornerstone of our society: the family,” said Deal. “Today, I signed HB 159 into law, finally bringing much-needed reforms to our adoption laws and making it easier for adoptive parents to create a loving family in our state. This critical and bipartisan bill streamlines the adoption process and updates Georgia’s adoption laws for the 21st century. The work leading up to today has been years in the making, as we last updated these laws when I was in the state Senate, a full generation ago. With the signing of this bill into law, we are giving children, including the 13,500 children in foster care, renewed hope for a forever family.

“Many individuals played a role in this process and I appreciate the General Assembly’s focus on what truly matters: the well-being of our youngest citizens. I especially want to thank Rep. Bert Reeves for sponsoring this legislation and advocating for its passage throughout the legislative process. At times, even the best of ideas to better serve children require a tireless champion to make it across the finish line, and Bert has been that individual. The children in this state who yearn for a forever family are today closer to realizing their dream because of his determination.”

HB 159 passed the House on Feb. 1 with a vote of 168-0. It passed the Senate on Feb. 5 with a vote of 53-2.

“HB 159 represents the first major update of Georgia’s adoptions laws in almost three decades,” said Reeves. “With HB 159 being signed into law, families across our entire state will enjoy a more efficient and dependable process of adoption. This will reverse the unfortunate trend that we have seen, adoptive parents going to other states to adopt. This new law will also benefit the thousands of children, from newborns to foster children, who are in need of a loving, permanent home. This new law represents three years of work by the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers, Superior Court Judges, adoption agencies, and many others. The General Assembly worked hard to pass this very meaningful legislation, and the support received by Gov. Deal, Speaker Ralston, and Lt. Gov. Cagle was critical to the success of the bill. The signing of this bill into law is the proudest moment of my professional career, and I know that literally the lives of thousands of Georgians will be positively impacted for decades to come. This new law will help grow Georgia families.”


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