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Florida

May 9, 2003

Senate Bill 128: Allowing Court Ordered Visitation by Grandparents

Author:
Senator Walter G. "Skip" Campbell, Jr.

Summary:
Provides for court ordered visitation by grandparents or great grandparents in certain circumstances.

Status:
12/13/02 SENATE Prefiled
12/20/02 SENATE Referred to Judiciary; Appropriations Subcommittee on Article V Implementation and Judiciary; Appropriations
03/04/03 SENATE Introduced, referred to Judiciary; Appropriations, Subcommittee on Article V Implementation and Judiciary; Appropriations
04/17/03 SENATE On Committee agenda-- Judiciary
04/21/03 SENATE Committee Substitute by Judiciary; YEAS 7 NAYS 0
05/02/03 DIED in Appropriations Subcommittee

Action Requested:
None. The Florida 2003 Legislative Session is over and this bill is dead.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposes this bill.

Background:
The original version of S.B. 128 allowed for a grandparent to petition for visitation with a minor against the parent's wishes even if the minor was living with both natural parents who were still married to each other. The language HSLDA was concerned about was removed in a committee replacement.

Over the years, HSLDA has represented member families in conflict with grandparents who did not like homeschooling. These grandparents would try to stop the homeschooling through various means including turning the family over to the child welfare services. Thankfully, most grandparents we come in contact with at HSLDA support home schooling and in some situations even participate in the teaching.

However, S.B. 128 would give grandparents and great-grandparents the right to sue parents for visitation rights. If this bill becomes law, they could sue "natural parents who are still married to each other" if "either or both parents have used their parental authority to prohibit a relationship between the minor and the grandparents or great-grandparents."

Of course, if a grandparent brings such a suit under this act, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child and order family mediation and a psychological evaluation of the child. Parental rights would be ignored.

Homeschoolers in Florida helped defeat two similar bills in Florida during the 2001 legislative session.

 Other Resources

6/10/2003 - Florida--Legislature Now Closed for 2003

4/23/2003 - Florida--Parental Rights Victory Over Grandparents Visitation Legislation

2/4/2003 - Florida--Calls Needed: SB 128 Will Endanger Parents' Rights

Bill Text

2001 Bills