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Legislative Alert: UPDATE – Public Hearing for SB266

Legislative Alert: UPDATE – Public Hearing for SB266

Legislative summary of the current status of SB 266, also known as

the “Children’s Equal Access Act”

I would like to extend a special thanks to the individuals that traveled to the statehouse in Montgomery on May 15, 2019.  Several citizens had to stand outside the meeting room in the hallway because there were no more seats available. Great show of support from Alabamians.

  • SB266 incorporates research-based recommendations from the Family Law section of the Alabama State Bar in 2012, Alabama Law Institute’s Family Law Standing Committee, two surveys conducted of judges by the Administrative Office of Courts (AOC), constituents’ testimonies, research-based conclusions from more than 40 studies (3-minute expert testimony), the consensus of over 100 social scientists regarding child custody, and a friendly amendment by the Alabama Department of Human Resources. All of these groups have worked to create compromised language and this starting point bill (SB266) over the course of more than 10 years.
  • SB266 will improve the ability for parents, courts, parenting coordinators, and mediators to implement parenting plans, insure the best interests of all children in Alabama and give due deference to the rights and privileges of all children and parents in Alabama.
  • SB266 is more than changing a law, it’s about changing the lives of our children.

The select individuals below were scheduled and testified before the Alabama House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee, regarding Senate Bill 266 (SB266).

Proponents:

  • Senator Larry Stutts, Sponsor of SB266
  • John Eidsmoe; Retired Air Force Judge Advocate, pastor of two country churches, and Senior Counsel for the Foundation for Moral Law
  • Misty Sosebee Ledbetter, Family Attorney at Law, Guardian ad Litem (GAL), and Director, Supervised Visitation at Family Success Center
  • Nicole Clark, The Clark Law Office, LLC; Family Attorney at Law, Adult Child of Divorce, Guardian ad Litem (GAL) and step-parent.
  • Amanda Griesdorn, Child activist, ALFRA member and Adult Child of Divorce.
  • Kenneth Paschal, the Alabama Family Rights Association (ALFRA) State President and U.S. Army First Sergeant, Retired.

There were several other proponents and opponents (Representative Jim Hill, retired St. Clair County Circuit Judge and Judge Michael Sherman from Mobile County) that testified during yesterday’s public hearing. Overall, we believe the committee members now have a better understanding what’s in SB266 and the common myths & misconceptions.

  • It should be noted that nothing in SB266 references 50/50 custody or mandates the courts to order 50/50 in any case. The Children’s Equal Access Act simply creates an equitable starting point with guidelines to follow similar to existing child support guidelines.
  • Although the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence signed up to testify as an opponent, their testimony showed strong support for SB266 which included “victims of abuse should be protected”.
    • SB266 does not change existing laws which would be applied to provide protection to victims of abuse. Reference page 5 lines 8 – 9 and page 6 lines 15-16.

 

The House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee did not vote on SB266 May 15, 2019 but a vote is expected next week on Wednesday, May 22nd. Please contact the Children and Senior Advocacy Committee members, and ask them to vote “YES” on SB 266.

 

By: Kenneth Paschal, Pelham – Alabama, Alabama Family Rights Association State President, a child activist, a fit parent, an advocate for protecting parents’ fundamental rights, and U.S. Army Retired First Sergeant.

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