Governor Deal Blocks Child Custody Bill, Others On Veto Day

May 9, 2017

Governor Nathan Deal has vetoed a bill that would have made changes to the state’s adoption laws.

It’s one of the nine bills he blocked Tuesday, the deadline for the governor to take action on legislation passed by the General Assembly this year.


The bill would have allowed parents to transfer the power of attorney for their children to family members or outside agencies.

In his veto statement, Deal worried the measure would “create a parallel and unchecked system to our Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS)” and would put children at risk.

He encouraged lawmakers to return to the issue–and to review the state’s other adoption laws–next year.

Georgia legislators tried to overhaul those rules in legislation this session, but the effort stalled after Republican senators added language allowing adoption agencies to refuse placing children in homes for religious reasons.

Opponents worried the language would encourage discrimination against LGBTQ families.

The governor also vetoed a bill establishing a new agency to manage 911 fees from emergency calls, questioning whether the agency would have enough oversight.

However, Deal said he’d create a separate agency by executive order aimed at improving Georgia’s public safety communications network.

Deal also killed bills making it easier for students to opt out of state standardized tests, allowing physicians assistants to prescribe opioids, and taking two parcels of land from Atlanta and giving it to Sandy Springs.

But compared to last year, Deal went easy on his veto pen this session. The governor blocked 16 bills in 2016, including “religious liberty” and “campus carry” legislation.