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4/11/2013 3:27:35 PM
Darren Jones--HSLDA
Texas: More Calls Needed to Oppose Attack on Parental Rights

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Texas: More Calls Needed to Oppose Attack on Parental Rights

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

In a victory for parental rights, last month the freedom-loving
community of Texas was successful in stopping Senate Bill 1148, which
would have modified state law to permit grandparents to more easily
sue for visitation against the parents' wishes, from even getting a
hearing.

Now the House version, HB 393, is scheduled for a hearing before the
House Judiciary Committee on Monday, April 15 at 2:00 p.m. Home School
Legal Defense Association opposes these laws because we know that they
can cause intact families, including perfectly fit parents, to face
potential court challenges to their parenting decisions whenever they
limit or restrict their child's visitation from grandparents.

Under current law courts can only force a change of visitation over
the parents' objection if the grandparent proves two things: first,
that denial of the visitation would significantly impair the child's
physical health or emotional well-being; and second, that the parent
is in jail, incompetent, deceased, or does not actually have
possession. HB 393 would remove the second provision, leaving
grandparents free to sue any time they believed that they should have
more access to the child.

Grandparents are normally well-intentioned when they seek visitation;
however, we have defended member families where the grandparents are
seeking visitation after they have been denied because of their
interference with parents' choice to homeschool. We believe that where
homeschooling families are intact, they should not have to defend
their decisions regarding who will have access to their children. The
bill as proposed could force parents to defend their parental rights
if they simply deny visitation to a grandparent.

HSLDA instead supports HB 2547, which will be addressed in the same
hearing. HB 2547 modifies the grandparent visitation statute to add
more protections for parents, including the requirement that
grandparents must prove the need for visitation by clear and
convincing evidence. HSLDA believes that major parental decisions such
as who has access to our children should be decided by more than just
a preponderance of the evidence, the current standard, and so we
support HB 2547.

Action Requested:

Please call the House Judiciary Committee members listed below and
urge them to oppose HB 393 and vote for HB 2547. If one is your
representative, be sure to mention that when you call. You do not need
to identify yourself as a homeschooler; instead you can identify
yourself as a concerned parent and taxpayer.

Give them one or more of the following talking points in your own
words:

1. Please oppose HB 393. Based on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in
Troxel v. Granville, 539 U.S. 57 (2000), intact families have a
fundamental right to deny visitation with grandparents, and any law to
the contrary would likely be struck down by the Texas Supreme Court.

2. HB 2547 adds more protection to a parent's right to raise her
children in the way she sees fit, while still protecting a
grandparent's ability to sue for visitation if the circumstances
require it to protect the child.

3. HB 393 would create a financial burden on intact families having to
defend their private family decisions regarding who has contact with
their children. Some families simply could not afford to defend
themselves; some bad decisions can be handed down, and children will
be harmed as a result.

4. HB 393 would significantly increase the caseload burden on an
already overburdened court system, increasing costs and delays. Many
more cases could also be appealed to the Supreme Court.

House Judiciary Committee members to contact:

Rep. Jessica Farrar http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18063
Rep. Marsha Farney http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18064
Rep. Lance Gooden http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18065
Rep. Ana Hernandez Luna http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18066
Rep. Ken King http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18067

The hearing is scheduled to take place in the Capitol Extension Room
E2.012.

Background:

Ideally, families get along; parents, grandparents, and even
great-grandparents work together to raise strong and healthy kids. But
that is not always the case.

Regardless of how healthy these relationships are, it falls to fit and
loving parents to make decisions regarding the care, custody, and
control of the child--including decisions regarding who has contact
with that child.

However, HB 393 would allow a grandparent to sue the parents for
visitation of the child. If this bill becomes law, a person could sue
for visitation rights even when both parents are together and there is
no pending dissolution, legal separation, or modification of a
parenting plan proceeding.

Under current Texas law, grandparents can sue for visitation if the
parent is in jail, incompetent, deceased, or does not actually have
possession of the child. This current law is in keeping with the
constitutional standard upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Troxel v.
Granville. As proposed, HSLDA believes HB 393 would violate that
standard.

Thank you for taking the time today to stand with us for freedom.
Together we can protect children by empowering their parents to make
decisions for them free of this kind of intrusion.

Sincerely,


Darren A. Jones
Staff Attorney

Other Resources:

HSLDA's bill page for HB 393
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18068

HSLDA's bill page for HB 2547
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18069

P.S. 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? Your support
enables us to defend individual families and protect homeschooling
freedom for all. Join now: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18070

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-> Is customer service an art or a science?

For us, good customer service is both an art and a science
-it should appeal to our members and be effective. Consider what
our members say about us:

The freedom HSLDA allows me to have as I homeschool is wonderful!
They handle the law and I get to dedicate the time to my daughter.
- National City, CA

HSLDA members since 1993, our membership is just as important to
us as our children's curriculum. Thank you HSLDA for all you do on
our behalf! - West Valley, NY

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1941

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