Watch This: Can Joan Huffman, a mouthpiece for Family Law Firms, really call herself a conservative? http://bit.ly/2yr4rOA
Posted by Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) on Friday, November 3, 2017
Texas Senator Joan Huffman is currently running for re-election in Senate District 17. Before heading to the polls, homeschoolers need to be aware of Senator Huffman’s record opposing efforts to defend the rights of Texas families.
Here is important background on Senator Huffman:
- Joan Huffman is the chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee.
- In her position, Senator Huffman frequently hears bills related to Texas family law.
- In recent legislative sessions, hearings have included a large number of the parental rights reform bills that THSC has championed.
Without exception, each of these parental rights bills that have come to Senator Huffman’s desk have died there. This has prevented any progress through the legislature beyond her committee.
What You Need to Know About Senator Huffman’s Record
Consider the following list of pro-family bills that Senator Huffman has been responsible for blocking since 2015:
2015 | SB 414 | Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act
The Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act was a bill that would have closed a loophole in Texas law that allowed in-laws to file frivolous lawsuits against fit parents to take away their children.
This happened to homeschool father Jim Loose in 2007 when his mother and father in-law sued him for custody of his daughter. Instead of presenting a valid reason for why Mr. Loose should not have custody, his in-laws dragged the case out for three years in an attempt to exhaust Mr. Loose’s financial resources to the point where he could no longer afford to defend himself and his daughter.
The Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act would have prevented this type of abuse. However, because Senator Joan Huffman refused to allow even a hearing for this bill, it died in committee and was never passed.
2017 | SB 816 | Best Interest Bill
SB 816 was part of THSC’s Family Unity Act, a three-part reform designed to protect the rights of parents in custody battles.
This bill codified the definition of a “fit parent” used by the U.S. Supreme Court: a parent who adequately cares for his or her child. Further, the bill prohibited courts from issuing an order against the objections of a fit parent.
SB 816 also would have prevented rogue judges from unilaterally ignoring the law and overruling the decisions of a fit parent. This was written into the bill by clarifying the standard for “best interest” of a child.
Under extreme pressure, Chairwoman Huffman eventually allowed a hearing on this bill near the end of the 2017 legislative session. However, after the hearing, the bill was not allowed to be considered for vote, causing it to die in committee soon afterward.
2017 | SB 1019 | Case Deadlines Bill
SB 1019 — also part of the Family Unity Act — would have required cases where a non-parent is awarded temporary possession or access to meet the same deadlines already required in CPS cases. The goal of this bill was to prevent situations like what happened to Jim Loose where the case needlessly dragged on for several years to the detriment of both the parent and the child.
However, Senator Huffman again refused to work with THSC on the bill and refused to allow it to have a hearing in her committee. As a result, this bill also died without being heard.
2017 | SB 815 | Modification suits
SB 815 was the third and final piece of the Family Unity Act. Currently, a parent who is brought back to court a second time in a modification suit does not have the parental presumption required in normal suits. This is important because parental presumption refers to the presumption in court that primary custody should go to a fit parent.
This bill required the court recognize the same parental presumption in modification suits that currently exists in normal suits. THSC’s belief is that a fit parent should never lose their child simply because they were sued twice instead of once.
Like the other bills, SB 815 died in committee after Senator Huffman refused to allow it to come up for a hearing.
Senator Joan Huffman Needs to be Held Accountable
Despite THSC’s repeated attempts to meet with Senator Huffman regarding each of the bills mentioned in this article and despite repeated requests to hear her concerns and get her official position on each bill, THSC was consistently rejected at every turn.
When we elect officials to represent us in government, the expectation is that those individuals will be advocates for our position, value our rights, and fight for core issues.
In the case of Senator Joan Huffman, not only has she failed to advocate for the rights of Texas families, she has actively opposed THSC’s efforts to pass meaningful reforms.
When our representatives fail to defend our rights, it is up to us to hold them accountable. That is how we continue Keeping Texas Families Free!
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