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3/12/2012 3:18:13 PM
Dee Black--HSLDA
Georgia: Calls Needed to Stop Violation of Parental Rights

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Calls Needed to Stop Violation of Parental Rights


This bill restricts the right of parents.


Dee Black is senior counsel for member affairs in Arkansas. He and his
wife homeschooled all four of their children. Read more >>
March 12, 2012

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Your calls and emails are needed to stop Georgia House Bill 1198,
which would violate the constitutional right of parents to determine
in what instances grandparents may visit with the parents' children.
Among other things, this bill provides that if one of the parents of a
minor child dies, becomes incapacitated, or is incarcerated, the
grandparents may be granted visitation if the court determines that it
is in the child's best interest, despite the objections of the other
parent.

Historically, the "best interest of the child" standard has been
applied in family matters only when there is a finding by the court of
abuse or neglect of the children or in a divorce situation when the
court must decide custody and visitation. In other instances, the
courts have recognized the right of responsible parents to make their
own decisions regarding the upbringing of their children, including
the extent to which grandparents are permitted access to the children.
This bill would put judges in the place of making decisions that
parents should be making. For example, if the father of an intact
family died, the mother would no longer have the right to decide
whether her husband's parents would have access to her children. If
she considered that her children were unsafe with the grandparents or
that the grandparents were a bad influence on the children and denied
visitation because of this, the grandparents would have the right to
petition the court and let the judge make the decision.

Unfortunately, this bill passed the House of Representatives on March
7 by the unanimous vote of 154 to 0. It is now in the Senate Judiciary
Committee where a vote could come any day. This bill has a lot of
momentum and will be hard to stop, but your your calls can make the
difference. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee need to be
reminded that responsible parents should retain the right to make
decisions about the upbringing of their children. Place contact
members of this committee today before this bill goes any further.

Action Requested:

1. Please call and/or email as many members of the Senate Judiciary
Committee as possible with this message or something similar in your
own words:

"Please vote against House Bill 1198, a grandparent visitation bill,
which would take away the right of responsible parents to decide in
what instances grandparents may visit with the parents' children. The
courts should intervene in such family matters only when the parents
are unfit or in divorce cases when custody and visitation must be
decided."

When contacting members of the Committee, there is no need to identify
yourself as a homeschooler. This is a parental rights issue that
potentially affects all Georgia families.

The members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are as follows:

Bill Hamrick, Chairman
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/Member.aspx?Member=16

Bill Cowsert, Vice Chairman
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/Member.aspx?Member=9

John Crosby, Secretary
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/Member.aspx?Member=721

Judson Hill, Ex-Officio
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/Member.aspx?Member=23

Charlie Bethel
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/Member.aspx?Member=753

Jason Carter
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/Member.aspx?Member=720

Vincent Fort
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/Member.aspx?Member=12

William T. Ligon, Jr.
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/Member.aspx?Member=746

Joshua McKoon
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/Member.aspx?Member=749

Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr.
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/Member.aspx?Member=36

Jesse Stone
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/Member.aspx?Member=748

2. Please forward this e-mail to every family you know who is not a
member of HSLDA and urge them to contact members of the committee.

To view the text of this bill, please go to
http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20112012/124121.pdf

Please call or email today!

Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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