20 May 2017 Legislative Update
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The Alabama Legislature adjourned sine die on Friday night, May 19, 2017. HB 239 authored by several attorneys was defeated. The Alabama Family Rights Association (ALFRA), ALFRA Equal Custody Advisory committee, and hundreds of others worked hard to defeat HB 239. HB 239 failed to reach the senate floor for a vote during the Alabama 2017 legislative session because of the grassroots effort of WE THE PEOPLE taking action.
House Bill 239 is a custody bill that fails to promote equal access for children to both parents and does not rely upon evidence based research. As written, HB239 does not change the concept of one-parent-win and one-parent-lose practice.
Congratulations to everyone that made phone calls, and wrote emails and letters to their legislators to stop this terrible child custody bill. Special appreciation to Senator Stutts, sponsor of SB186 and co-sponsors who care deeply for Alabama’s children and took the time from their busy schedules to understand the indisputable evidence and research for shared parenting, if both parents are fit. Special heartfelt appreciation also to everyone who worked countless and tireless hours behind the scenes in support of the Alabama Family Rights Association’s efforts to make meaningful changes to the Alabama family law practices.
But there’s still very Important work to be done!
- Like most American men and women, Alabamians overwhelmingly support shared parenting if both parents are fit. The entire legislative session, they demonstrated this with countless emails, calls and letters in support of SB186 and in opposition of HB 239. When we asked, none of the senator’s secretaries could recall any calls or emails in favor of HB 239.
- Several news outlets were also helpful and ran our op-eds in opposition of HB 239. (See related article.) March 3, 2017; March 13, 2017; March 14, 2017; April 9, 2017.
The Family Law Committee, of the Alabama Law Institute (ALI), authored House Bill (HB) 239, which is a child custody bill. We are appreciative that the Family Law Committee has recognized the need to address out-of-date child custody laws, but HB 239 just maintains the status quo. The research evidence for what is best for children grows stronger each day for shared parenting for fit parents. Proponents increasingly look uninformed when they propose bills opposite of the current scientific facts and actual research. The quality of the objections raised by proponents is obviously nonsense.
Some may consider defeating HB 239 as a victory. But knowing these Alabama court orders place our children at known risk of living in poverty, failing in school, and failing in life; all at the expense of the tax payer is disheartening. Knowing that those in power ignored current research and fact-based evidence that’s at their fingertips, is a disappointing failure on their part.
ALFRA is hopeful that before the start of the 2018 legislative session, the lawmakers and others interested in making a positive change for the children in this great state will join Senator Stutts (sponsor of SB186) and nine co-sponsors and ask them to reintroduce SB186 that does a better job at equal access for children with the compromise language:
- Based on current research
- Protects the child’s right to freely associate with both fit parents
- Promotes the best interest and overall health of all children in Alabama.
- Results in better outcome for children, families, and our state
WE appreciate the following sponsors and co-sponsors of SB186:
- Senator Stutts (sponsor)
- Senator Marsh
- Senator Sanford
- Senator Singleton
- Senator Whatley
- Senator Beasley
- Senator Albritton
- Senator Shelnutt
- Senator Cole-Madison
- Senator Bussman
If your Senator is on this list, be sure to thank them for their support of SB186 when you see them in your area this year. If they are not on this list, be sure to ask them to support Senator Stutts’ Children’s Equal Access Act next year.
The past several years have been full of hard work by extraordinary people dedicated to fighting the good fight for our Alabama children. Even if you have not been personally affected by child custody lawsuits, you probably know someone who has. In addition to your tax deductible donation, you can help us make a difference in Alabama’s legal system by becoming an active member of ALFRA.
We hope you join us at our annual state meeting on August 12, 2017 in Hoover. We’ll have information for you on how to contact your representatives and how to set up an informational meeting in your area so we can inform the public.
The key to any meaningful change is being an active participant in the process.
Contact: Debbie Zeiger, State VP
Phone: (205) 626-9458