After a four-year effort to revamp the state's outdated adoption code, the Alabama House of Representatives approved a bill to overhaul the process.
House Bill 101 (HB101), sponsored by State Rep. Ginny Shaver (R-Leesburg), is an 80-page bill designed to make the adoption process quicker, more streamlined and more affordable for adoptive parents in the state.
Since the overturning of Roe V. Wade in June 2022, conversations surrounding the adoption process in the state have grown exponentially.
SEE ALSO: Adoption in Alabama: parents, agencies, lawmakers weigh in.
According to Shaver, she and other lawmakers delayed additional bills easing restrictions on the adoption process due to a mass rewriting of Alabama's adoption code.
Alabama Law Institute, a body that seeks to simplify, revise and fill in gaps in out-of-date laws and clarify legal confusion, has been working on the state's adoption code for over four years.
The bill would separate the adoption process for children and adults, improve communication between courts handling adoptions, clarify procedures about relatives and stepparents who adopt, change the timeframe for when a child is determined to be officially abandoned and provide rules for contesting adoptions in certain situations.
The bill received broad support, although some Democratic lawmakers used the debate time to protest other issues.
During the House debate, Shaver revealed that several lawmakers have attempted to add amendments to the bill. Shaver said she had encouraged those lawmakers to introduce separate bills for those preferences due to the meticulous rewriting of the law institute over the years, amendments to which could have unintended consequences.
One such amendment was introduced by State Rep. Ernie Yarbrough (R-Trinity). The one-sentence amendment attempted to prevent any state department from denying an adoption or foster certification due to a person's vaccination status.
"You will hear words like unintended consequences, which this one sentence would have, in particular, decreasing our federal funding, which we cannot do without to support our foster care system," Shaver said.
Shaver made a motion to table the amendment, which the House approved with a vote of 58-24.
The bill passed the House unanimously, with a vote of 105-0. It will now head to the Senate for deliberation.
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