23 May FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – A collaborative and orchestrated effort was successful to stall a bill (SB266)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A collaborative and orchestrated effort was successful to stall SB266 which is a bill designed to protect children from being placed at risk from receiving a vote in committee.
While this may be disappointing to many, we consider this year’s legislative efforts very productive by bringing more awareness to the family law system problem. We appreciate the Senate Leadership and members of the Senate for understanding that shared parenting produces the best possible outcome for our children. We also want to thank the Chair of the House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee for placing SB266 on the committee calendar yesterday. Unfortunately, there was a collaborative and orchestrated effort to stall the bill. See Facebook live video here. The impact, in the next 12-months is that approximately 40,000 children in Alabama will be placed at risk. ALFRA has learned that committee members were directed to be silent when asked if there is a motion to give the bill (SB266) a favorable report. The Children’s Equal Access Act (Senate Bill 266) did not receive a motion for a favorable report by the House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee on May 22nd. In other words, SB266 is dead for the 2019 legislative session. Had it received a favorable vote by the below Committee Members, it would have reached the House floor for a final vote by the House before going to the Governor to be signed and would have then become law.
We want to give a special thanks to Senator Larry Stutts and co-sponsors for taking the lead and sponsoring one of the most important pro-family pieces of legislation this year. We also want to thank the members of the Alabama Family Rights Association Advisory Committee and countless volunteers over the last nine years for their selfless service. Thanks to the individuals that traveled to the statehouse in Montgomery last Wednesday for the public hearing. Also, thank you to all the citizens and pro-family organizations that made phone calls and sent emails to the legislators in support of SB266 during the legislative session.
The following Committee members were present:
- Representative K.L. Brown (Republican Party – district 40)
- Representative Barbara Boyd (Democratic Party – district 32)
- Representative Jim Carns (Republican Party – district 48)
- Representative Barbara Drummond (Democratic Party – district 103)
- Representative Tracy Estes (Republican Party – district 17)
- Representative Shaver, Ginny (Republican Party – district 39)
- Representative M. Moore (Democratic Party – district 59)
- Representative Tim Wadsworth (Republican Party – district 14)
Next steps; we will take a couple of weeks to determine what we can do differently to prepare for the 2020 legislative session and we will develop our strategic plan of action for next year.
As a reminder, the legislative process is challenging and requires dedicated advocates throughout the year. We thank everyone that participated in calling and emailing the legislators the last several weeks. We are all volunteers and non-paid staff. You can learn how you can help here.
In an effort to ensure minor children are not placed at risk, the “Children’s Equal Access Act” creates uniform guidelines for approximately 40,000 children each year when their parents’ divorce or separate. It also includes clarifying language that “there shall be a rebuttable presumption” in favor of shared parenting for responsible parents. This same language was introduced in a previous child custody bill written by the Family Law section of the Alabama State Bar and supported by members of the Alabama Law Institute. Kentucky also passed similar legislation last year creating a rebuttable presumption that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child with a clause to provide protection to victims of abuse.
The Children’s Equal Access Act (SB266) aims to modify child custody law that hasn’t changed in 22 years and is intended to maximize a child’s time with both parents to prevent children from being placed at risk – stalled in the House Children and Senior Advocacy Committee on May 22nd. The bill passed the Senate (25 – 4) on May 2nd and the House version was co-sponsored by The Speaker of the House and 35 other House members during the 2018 legislative session.
The Alabama Family Rights Association (ALFRA) is an organization that drives charitable, scientific, and educational initiatives. ALFRA’s primary goal is to educate the public and government officials concerning the importance of equal involvement of both fit parents in a child’s life.
Contact: Kenneth Paschal, President, Alabama Family Rights Association
Phone: (205) 626-9458