The last few days in the Texas Legislature have seen movement on our Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act (TPRRA). On April 23 Sen. Royce West finally scheduled a hearing for the TPRRA bill (SB 1194 by Sen. Donna Campbell) in the Senate Committee on Jurisprudence as well as his bill (SB 1148), which would actually expand the number of families that would be subject to lawsuits that dramatically undermine the parental rights of fit parents. You can download the recording of the hearing here.
You may remember that a couple of weeks ago Senator West scheduled a hearing on SB 1148 and hours before the hearing withdrew the bill because of the high number of calls against the bill. The hearing did not begin until 8:30 p.m. because the Senate was in session until that time. As a result many witnesses who had planned to testify or register for SB 1194 and against SB 1148 were not able to attend.
Nevertheless, two families stayed all day long, including a mom, with three of her children, who had driven from Fort Worth and stayed all day long to give her emotional testimony and then made the hours-long drive home. The chairman was obviously opposed to our bill and directed the supporters of each bill to meet and “find some middle ground.”
Family law attorney Cecelia Wood and I spent a couple of hours with attorneys supporting SB 1148 to discuss our positions on the issue and will give written responses to each side and the senator in the next day or so. I do not expect an agreement. As I pointed out, they want to expand the opportunities to allow grandparents to sue for access and possession, and we want to limit it. That does not make for much middle ground.
Yesterday (April 24) the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence voted HB 2547 out of committee. We are now working with the author to get the House Calendars Committee to schedule a vote for the bill on the House floor. We continue to need and appreciate your prayers.