Parental Rights Back in the Crosshairs

The fight is not over yet for parental rights. H.B. 393 will be heard on Monday, April 15, in the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee. This bill is the companion bill of S.B. 1148, which thousands of phone calls helped pull from the Senate Jurisprudence Committee last month.

In other words, S.B. 1148 is back–in the form of H.B. 393.

H.B. 393, identical to its predecessor, will change the law in several dramatic ways that will make virtually every family in Texas a target for in-laws who strongly disagree with their parenting decisions. This measure will allow any in-law to sue any family for access or possession instead of only those in which a death, divorce, or incarceration has taken place. In addition, the requirement under the current statute, that the in-laws prove that denial of the access or possession will significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being, is lowered by not requiring expert testimony or opinion to so prove.

In other words, every Texas family, without exception, will be subject to these lawsuits, and a judge can accept any opinion or testimony from anyone that the denial of the access or possession would “significantly impair the physical health or emotional well-being of the child.”

The result of this bill becoming law will mean that only those families that have the financial resources to defend their parental rights against the legal assault of non-parents will continue to effectively have the right to direct the care, control, and upbringing of their children.

New Developments:

  • We defeated it once before; we will do it again.
  • THSC’s Parental Rights Bill, H.B. 2547, will be heard during the same meeting!
  • We need folks to call about both bills and attend this hearing.

Bill Texts: H.B. 393 and H.B. 2547

Attend the Hearing

The hearing will be “upon adjournment” of the House (probably 1:30 p.m.) on Monday, April 15, in Room E2.012 in the Capitol Extension. (See meeting schedule.) We need:

  • People at the hearing to register against H.B. 393 and for H.B. 2547 without giving testimony,
  • People who have been through these kinds of experiences to give oral and/or written testimony, and
  • Family law attorneys to testify against H.B. 393 and for H.B. 2547.

Contact Trent Williams (512-763-2303), THSC Legislative Team, to let us know you are coming.

Call to Action

Call, email, and/or Facebook those members of the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee (listed below) who are not yet opposed to H.B. 393 and tell them:

  • This bill goes too far in allowing non-parents to sue fit parents.
  • The bill allows a judge to overrule the constitutional right of fit parents on the basis of testimony from anyone, instead of an expert, regarding what would “significantly impair the physical health or emotional well-being of a child.
  • This measure will directly impact the low-income parents who are not able to bear the financial burden of protecting their parental rights.
  • Parental rights are for all parents, not just those who have financial means.
  • Don’t forget to ask them to support H.B. 2547!  

Author of H.B. 393:

Rep. Senfronia Thompsonsenfronia.thompson@house.state.tx.us, (512) 463-0720

Members:

Rep. Ken Kingken.king@house.state.tx.us, (512) 463-0736

Rep. Jessica Farrarjessica.farrar@house.state.tx.us, (512) 463-0620

Rep. Marsha Farneymarsha.farney@house.state.tx.us,  (512) 463-0309

Rep. Lance Gooden, lance.gooden@house.state.tx.us, (512) 463-0458

Rep. Ana Hernandez Luna, ana.hernandez@house.state.tx.us, (512) 463-0614

watchmen – has written 3 posts on this site.

2 Comments on “Parental Rights Back in the Crosshairs”

  1. I e-mailed this link to my friend, who is a family law attorney. She said, “This bill violates the SCOTUS opinion in Troxel v. Granville. I will be surprised to see it go anywhere.”

    • That is the kind of response we got from most of the committee as well, but it didn’t keep the attorney with the Tx Family Law Foundation from advocating for it.

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