Parents' rights legislation proposed
House Bill 571, recently introduced by Representative Perry Hooper, Jr., is currently in the House Judiciary Committee. This bill would entitle parents to receive medical information about their children from almost any health care provider. Although parental rights are expanded by the bill, it does not go far enough. An exception is made in the bill that would not allow parents access to records concerning sexually transmitted disease, child abuse or neglect if the parent is a suspect, or family planning services, i.e. birth control or abortion. Home School Legal Defense Association supports this bill but believes that parents should be able to obtain their children's medical information in all circumstances.
Parental rights are also expanded by H.B. 350 and its companion, Senate Bill 44, introduced by Representative Blaine Galliher and Senator Rodger Smitherman, respectively. This legislation would require a court to consider the wishes of a parent in granting visitation of a child to a grandparent. Under existing law, grandparents are entitled to visitation if the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child, regardless of the status of the relationship between a parent related to the grandparent seeking visitation and the child. HSLDA supports these bills which will slightly strengthen parental rights in this area of law. H.B. 350 is currently in the House Judiciary Committee. S.B. 44 has passed the Senate and is in the House Judiciary Committee, as well.
- Dewitt T. Black