On Monday, the last day of signing the signing period, Deal signed more than 50 pieces of legislation and vetoed nine. Here are two vetoes that would’ve helped Georgia move in the right direction.
House Bill 359, known as the Supporting and Strengthening Families Act
HB 359 would have allowed parents to transfer power of attorney of their children to someone else for a year without involving the courts. Considering how overwhelmed and underfunded the family court system and foster care system of Georgia are, this should have been a no-brainer.
It also passed both the House and the Senate by a wide margin. Deal says he’s holding out for a “comprehensive foster care/adoption reform legislative package” in 2018. But to reform the entire system, especially in a way that keeps discrimination against LGBTQ foster families out of it, is going to be a challenge. The Georgia children living in unsafe or unstable environments can’t afford to wait a year, until Gov. Deal feels ready.
House Bill 425
HB 425 was created to decrease the pressure schools put on students to take standardized tests. Parents currently have the right to opt their children out of the Georgia Milestones tests.
However, some parents and the anti-standardized test organization, Opt-Out Georgia, have complained that students who opt out get “bullied” for their decision and there’s been evidence of “forcing students to stare at a wall while their peers test, or making them do homework afterward when the other kids get ice cream on the playground,” the AJC noted.
The bill would have also allowed for more students to take the test on paper. “Meg Norris, who pushed both HB 425 and last year’s Senate Bill 355, criticized Deal’s reasoning as “weak” and said it shows he is aligned with “the testing juggernaut,” meaning the industry paid by tax dollars to write, administer and score the tests,” according to the AJC.