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Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue
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Prepared Remarks of Governor Sonny Perdue

Friday, April 9, 2004  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

(Note: The Governor sometimes deviates from prepared remarks)
Child Protection and Levi's Call Bill Signing
Atlanta, Georgia - Woodruff Park
Friday, April 9, 2004


Thank you, Wendi. And thank you all for being here.

This day is long overdue. But today we will make Georgia's children safer, thanks to the dedication and hard work of all the people gathered here.

Georgia has finally enacted strong child protection legislation. This law is not on the books yet but it will be soon!

In just a moment, I will sign a Child Protection Law to protect our children against reckless and abusive caregivers.

It will at last make serious acts of child endangerment a felony offence in Georgia.

This law will also protect children from being exposed to dangerous illegal drug labs in the home.

Those labs can injure or kill children through deadly fumes, fires and explosions --- as the GBI and local sheriffs know very well. They've seen too many kids hurt by meth labs in the home.

Today we will make it a crime in Georgia to manufacturing destructive drugs in the presence of a child.

The second bill I will sign strengthens Levi's Call, our statewide alert system for missing or abducted children.

As we have seen to our sorrow in recent incidents, the threat of child abduction is a real and present danger. But we have also seen how Levi's Call can save lives by alerting the public to be on the lookout.

Quick thinking and bravery can foil a tragedy in the making. We're so grateful to have Briana Curtiss with us today. She's a brave young lady from Macon, 12 years old, who escaped an abductor by jumping from a moving truck.

Briana is an extraordinary little girl. We're thankful she is here. This law will help keep her and all our children safer in the future.

I thank Lanny Finch and the members of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters for their support of Levi's Call and their help drafting this legislation.

These bills were passed by an extraordinary bipartisan coalition. I want to thank Lieutenant Governor Taylor, Sen. Meyer von Bremen for their leadership in the Senate, Representative Wendell Willard in the House, and my Floor Leaders in both chambers.

Truly, thanks are due to all members of the Legislature who came together and supported these bills.

The GBI had a critical role in drafting the anti-drug lab provisions, as did our prosecutors and sheriffs on the Levi's Call bill.

Thank you to all of them for your expertise and your commitment to protecting children.

I have one more important thank you - Wendi Clifton.

Wendi, thank you for letting us be part of your event today.

And thank you for being the advocate and voice for children who would not stop pushing and calling and organizing until this Child Protection law was passed.

You truly have a heart for children.

You and your organization speak for the children who cannot speak up for themselves. And you've done good work in bringing us to this day.

So we're proud to have all of you gathered here to see the fruit of all your efforts, as I now sign these bills into law to make Georgia's children safer.