Last week our efforts to pass the Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act (TPRRA) and restore parental rights in Texas suffered a setback. HB 2547, along with about 100 other bills, died without debate or a vote on Thursday night at midnight in the Texas House. Thursday was the last day for House bills to be voted out of that chamber. In the Senate Jurisprudence Committee, Chairman West is blocking a vote on SB 1194 by Senator Campbell, which is the Senate version of TPRRA. With a week and a half left in the session, we have not been able to find germane bills to amend our language onto, and this likely means the death of TPRRA this session.
The good news is the Family Law Foundation’s (FLF) bills to expand the number of families that could be sued under the Grandparent Access Statute also died. SB 1148, carried by Senator West, was effectively killed by overwhelming opposition from parents and families across Texas. Senator West sought a compromise proposed by FLF which was rejected by us because it would not only expand the number of families exposed to such lawsuits but would also require no “expert testimony” to prevail against the parents. HB 391, the House version of the FLF’s bill, died in the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence. Had THSC not been there to sound the alarm on these bills, they may well have passed, to the detriment of the fundamental constitutional right of parents.
While it is disappointing that we did not pass the TPRRA, we made significant progress this session. We had a Senate bill that we did not have last session and we had a hearing on the measures in both the House and Senate. We also had more witnesses testify than we did two years ago, and their testimonies had a dramatic impact. More and more legislators are becoming aware of the problem, and our support is growing. We will continue to work on this issue, re-file the bills next session, and educate legislative candidates on the issue during the next campaign season. Thank you for supporting our efforts with your prayers and finances.