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2/24/2009 3:02:34 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Nebraska--Call Judiciary Committee TODAY to Oppose L.B. 253

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Nebraska--Call Judiciary Committee TODAY to Oppose L.B. 253

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

We need your calls now to stop potentially harmful legislation that
will empower social workers to unreasonably interfere with your
family.

L.B. 253 is scheduled for public hearing on Wednesday, February 25.
The bill proposes to rewrite most of Nebraska's Juvenile Code. HSLDA
is concerned about the potential ramifications of this bill's attempt
to redefine the state's jurisdiction over children and families.

Because HSLDA often assists its members in dealing with interactions
with social workers, we pay attention to the laws that define abuse
and neglect. L.B. 253 will give social workers arbitrary discretion
when investigating innocent families.

ACTION REQUESTED

Go to HSLDA's bill page for L.B. 253
(http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=6172) and use the contact
information for members of the judiciary committee to express your
concerns about this bill. Please do not specifically note that you
are calling as a homeschooler, as this bill affects all parents in
Nebraska.

Tell the committee in your own words that "I am not aware of
significant problems with Nebraska's current juvenile code, but this
huge bill creates an expanded definition of abuse and neglect that
could result in arbitrary enforcement and allows police officers to
take custody of children only based on a reasonable suspicion. I am
also concerned that the bill allows the state to procure abortions for
minors in their temporary custody without a parent's notice or
consent. I would like to see this bill studied further before it is
sent on to the full legislature for debate and possible ratification.
Thank you!"

BACKGROUND

The bill is 320 pages long and adds 218 new sections of law to
Nebraska's Juvenile Code. Among other things it would:

> Redefine abuse and neglect in vague terms that would create the
potential for arbitrary enforcement. The new definitions of neglect
in sections 5 and 38 are expanded and include mental and emotional
"harm" as elements of "abuse".

> Allow law enforcement to take children into emergency custody
without a court order "whenever it reasonably appears that a situation
or set of circumstances exist which create an imminent risk of serious
harm." Serious harm is defined in such a way as to allow for
potentially arbitrary enforcement. Police officers are not
psychologists and would be in the position of having to judge whether
a parent's apparently reasonable disciplinary measures would result in
"emotional or mental" harm to the child.

> Allow the state to procure an abortion for a minor in their
temporary custody (potentially even before a hearing ever occurred)
without parental notice or consent. The bill also prohibits parents
from visiting children taken by the state, even where the parent or
one of the parents may not be an alleged abuser unless there are
"compelling reasons shown by clear and convincing evidence."

> Allows anyone, with the permission of the country attorney, to file
a petition alleging that child is in need of state protection. If a
family member didn't agree with homeschooling and could get a country
attorney to agree that it was potentially causing harm, they might be
able to file a petition for state protection.

> Expand the definition of "child", increasing the age up to which the
juvenile court may have jurisdiction until age 25 in some cases.

> Extend the jurisdiction of juvenile courts to all members of the
family regarding an allegation of abuse or neglect.

If you receive any interesting responses from the senators you
contact, please forward them to NE@hslda.org .

Thank you for all you do to educate your children and to stand for
freedom in Nebraska.


Sincerely,

Mike Donnelly
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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-> Have you ever yelled into the wind, only to hear the sound of your
voice blown back at you?

It's hard to be heard in the midst of a storm. Trying to influence
federal legislation is much like yelling to be heard while
standing in a fierce wind. Yet when 80,000 voices join together,
they become a powerful force that cannot be drowned out.
Join HSLDA to be heard above the tempests that threaten homeschool
freedoms.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1939

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Fax: (540) 338-2733
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