From the HSLDA E-lert Service:
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Date:
From:
Subject:

1/5/2012 4:04:15 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Washington: Action Needed on Third-Party Visitation Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Action Needed on Third-Party Visitation Bill

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

The Washington legislature is about to open on Monday, January 9. Many
bills have already been pre-filed for the 2012 legislative year, and
we are already tracking several of them.

One of those bills is a "third party visitation bill" that would allow
any person who "has established an ongoing and substantial
relationship with the child" to petition the court to allow them to
have visitation rights with that child--even if the parents object.

We need you to contact the House Judiciary Committee now and voice
your opposition to the bill. While House Bill 2193 is not a
"homeschool" bill, it has the potential to negatively impact parental
rights in Washington. Under House Bill 2193 any single parent or
married couple who are temporarily living apart (for instance, due to
a job or for financial reasons) could face the threat of a petition
for third-party visitation.

Additionally, anyone who could show he had a relationship with the
child for at least one year through interaction, companionship, and
mutuality could petition the court for visitation rights. There would
be no requirement that the person be related to the child.

We believe House Bill 2193 should be strongly opposed as a threat to
parental rights. While the Washington legislature has not officially
opened, a public hearing has been scheduled for January 11 at 8:00
a.m. in the House Judiciary Committee. An executive session has also
been scheduled in the Judiciary Committee on January 12 at 10:00 a.m.
Committee members often vote on the bill in executive session, so we
are very concerned that House Bill 2193 is being pushed on a fast
track. We need your calls and emails now to help stop this bill!

Some of you may remember that similar bills have been introduced in
the past few years, but with your calls they were defeated. We need
your calls and emails once again. Please contact the legislators
listed below and urge them to defeat this bill.

ACTION REQUESTED:

1) Please call and email the House Judiciary Committee members listed
below and give them this message in your own words:

"Please oppose House Bill 2193. This bill interferes with parents'
fundamental right to direct the care, custody, and control of their
children. No parents should have to have their parental decision on
who visits their children challenged court. Allowing any person who
has formed a relationship with the child and family to be able to
petition the court for visitation rights is outrageous.

Additionally, this bill would allow courts to determine visitation in
situations where the family is still intact, jeopardizing family
integrity. Please vote against House Bill 2193 and ensure that it is
defeated."

You do not need to identify yourself as a homeschooler; instead you
can identify yourself as a concerned parent and taxpayer. Please let
the legislator know if you are in their district.

House Judiciary Committee Members

Rep. Jamie Pedersen- Chair (D) (sponsor of HB 2193)
Phone: (360) 786-782
Email: Jamie.Pedersen@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Roger Goodman - Vice Chair (D) (sponsor of HB 2193)
Phone: (360) 786-7878
Email: Roger.Goodman@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Jay Rodne (R)
Phone: (360) 786-7852
Email: Jay.Rodne@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Matt Shea (R)
Phone: (360) 786-7984
Email: Matt.Shea@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Bruce Chandler (R)
Phone: (360)786-7960
Email: Bruce.Chandler@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Deb Eddy (D) (sponsor of HB 2193)
Phone: (360) 786-7848
Email: Deb.Eddy@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Drew Hanson (D)
Phone: (360) 786-7842
Email: Drew.Hansen@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Steve Kirby (D)
Phone: (360) 786-7996
Email: Steve.Kirby@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Brad Klippert (R)
Phone: (360) 786-7882
Email: Brad.Klippert@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Terry Nealey (R) (sponsor of HB 2193)
Phone: (360) 786-7828
Email: Terry.Nealey@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Tina Orwall (D) (sponsor of HB 2193)
Phone: (360) 786-7834
Email: Tina.Orwall@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Ann Rivers (R) (sponsor of HB 2193)
Phone: (360) 786-7850
Email: Ann.Rivers@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts (D) (sponsor of HB 2193)
Phone: (360) 786-7950
Email: MaryHelen.Roberts@leg.wa.gov


BACKGROUND:

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


However, House Bill 2193 would allow any third party to sue the parent
for visitation rights. If this bill becomes law, a person could
petition the court for visitation rights when both parents are
together and not only when there is a pending dissolution, legal
separation, or modification of a parenting plan proceeding.

On the surface these bills appear to protect parents' rights by
acknowledging that the decision of a fit parent is presumed to be in
the child's best interest. However, the petitioner is only required to
demonstrate that he or she had a "significant relationship" with the
child and that the child would likely suffer harm or substantial risk
of harm if visitation with the third party is not awarded. This places
the court in the position of deciding whether the parent was justified
in limiting contact with the third party.

House Bill 2193 is identical to a bill that was introduced back in the
2010 legislative session, House Bill 2421. With your calls in
opposition and the hard work of people on the ground, that bill was
defeated. Please contact the legislators listed above to help us
defeat this bill once again.

We greatly value you and your support--it is a privilege to serve you!
If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider
taking a moment today to join or recommend us and support our work
defending individual families threatened by government officials and
protecting homeschooling freedom for all?
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=13233

If you would like to be put on our free email list to receive vital
e-lerts you may sign up at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=13234 .

Thank you for your part in fighting for freedom in Washington!


Sincerely,

Thomas J. (Tj) Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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