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Date:
From:
Subject:

2/12/2013 10:33:22 AM
Tj Schmidt--HSLDA
Indiana: Grandparent Visitation Bill to be Heard in Committee--Calls Needed!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Indiana: Grandparent Visitation Bill
to be Heard in Committee--Calls Needed!

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Wednesday morning the Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee will hear
Senate Bill 171. This bill adds great-grandparents to the current
grandparent visitation statute in Indiana. While HSLDA is not opposed
to this, we are concerned that Senate Bill 171 will dramatically
broaden the situations in which a relative can petition the court for
visitation.

Senate Bill 171 would allow a great-grandparent or grandparent to
request visitation rights whenever the parent terminated the child's
visits after the great-grandparent/grandparent "has had meaningful
contact with the child."

Thus, two happily married parents who determined after careful
consideration that they need to terminate contact with
great-grandparents and/or grandparents for a time could find
themselves ordered by a court to allow the
great-grandparents/grandparents visitation under this bill.

Under current law grandparents can petition a court for visitation
rights only if one of the child's parent is deceased, the marriage of
the child's parents has been dissolved in Indiana, or when a child was
born out of wedlock.

If Senate Bill 171 passes and a petition is filed, a court would then
determine whether it was in the best interest of the child for
visitation based upon a number of different factors. While the wishes
of the parent would be one factor the court would consider, there is
no presumption that a fit parent makes decisions in the best interest
of his or her child. Under this bill, the court could ultimately
decide to overrule the parent's decision.

Senate Bill 171 should be strongly opposed as an attack on parental
rights. Senate Bill 171 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate
Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, February 13 at 10 a.m. We need your
calls now. Please immediately contact the committee members 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 Senate Bill 171. This bill interferes with parents'
fundamental right to direct the care, custody, and control of their
children. No person, even grandparents or great-grandparents, should
be able to petition for visitation rights against the will of a fit
parent.

This bill should also be opposed because it will allow courts to
determine visitation in situations where a family is still intact,
jeopardizing family integrity. Please ensure that Senate Bill 171 is
defeated."

Do not identify yourself as a homeschooler; instead you can identify
yourself as a concerned parent and taxpayer.

Senate Judiciary Committee Members
(All members have same switchboard number so you may want to try their
legislative assistant.)

Sen. Brent Steele- Chairman (R)
Phone: 1-800-382-9467 or (317) 232-9400
Legislative Assistant: (317) 232-9814
Email: Senator.Steele@iga.in.gov

Sen. Mike Delph (R)
Phone: 1-800-382-9467 or (317) 232-9400
Legislative Assistant: (317) 232-9488 (shares assistant with Sen.
Head)
Email: Senator.Delph@iga.in.gov

Sen. Doug Eckerty (R)
Phone: 1-800-382-9467 or (317) 232-9400
Legislative Assistant: (317) 232-9466
Email: Senator.Eckerty@iga.in.gov

Sen. Susan Glick (R)
Phone: 1-800-382-9467 or (317) 232-9400
Legislative Assistant: (317) 232-9493
Email: Senator.Glick@iga.in.gov

Sen. Randy Head (R)
Phone: 1-800-382-9467 or 317-232-9400
Legislative Assistant: 317-232-9488 (shares assistant with Sen. Delph)
Email: Senator.Head@iga.in.gov

Sen. Michael Young (R)
Phone: 1- 800-382-9467 or 317-232-9476
Legislative Assistant: (317) 232-9517
Email: Senator.Young@iga.in.gov

Sen. Joseph Zakas (R)
Phone: 1-800-382-9467 or (317) 232-9400
Legislative Assistant: (317) 232-9490
Email: Senator.Zakas@iga.in.gov

Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D)
Phone: 1-800-382-9467 or (317) 232-9400
Legislative Assistant: (317) 232-9532
Email: Senator.Randolph@iga.in.gov

Sen. Lindel Hume (D)
Phone: 1-800-382-9467 or (317) 232-9400
Legislative Assistant: (317) 232-9523 (shares assistant with Sen.
Broden)
Email: Senator.Hume@iga.in.gov

Sen. John Broden (D)
Phone: 1-800-382-9467 or (317) 232-9400
Legislative Assistant: (317) 232.9523 (shares assistant with Sen.
Hume)
Email: Senator.Broden@iga.in.gov

BACKGROUND:

Over the years, HSLDA has represented hundreds of 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 come in
contact with at HSLDA support homeschooling and in some situations
even participate in the teaching.

Senate Bill 171 will allow grandparents or great-grandparents to sue
the parent for visitation if they had meaningful contact with the
child and their contact with the child has been prohibited. If this
bill becomes law, a person could petition the court for visitation
rights even when both parents are together. The bill does not limit
visitation to situations when there is a pending dissolution, legal
separation, or modification of a parenting plan proceeding as many
other states do.

On the surface this bill appears to protect parents' rights by
including the parent's wishes in the court's decisions, but there is
no requirement that the court must find that the decision of a fit
parent is presumed to be in the child's best interest.

HLSDA is opposed to Senate Bill 171 as it will restrict the
fundamental right of parents to direct the care, custody, and control
of their child. Please call now and urge both the Judiciary Committee
members and your state senator to oppose Senate Bill 171.

If you are not yet a member of HSLDA and would like to help us fight
for greater homeschool freedom in Indiana please visit
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17169

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=17170 .

Thank you for your part in fighting for parental freedom in Indiana.


Sincerely,

Tj Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney


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