01 May Legislative Alert5: CALL NOW!
Pro child-parent relationship legislation (SB266) was debated on the Alabama Senate floor Tuesday but was tabled to the call of the chair after being objected to by opposition with misinformation. It may be called back for a vote as early as May 2nd.
Senate Bill 266, a bipartisan bill known as the “Children’s Equal Access Act,” was debated on the Senate Floor Tuesday for approximately 30 minutes between Senator Larry Stutts (sponsor) and Senator Vivian Figures (opponent).
The Children’s Equal Access Act passed the Senate during the last legislative session. It aims to maximize a child’s time with both parents in the event of divorce or separation.
- As the majority of Alabama senators seem to understand, SB266 creates an equitable starting point (conversation) for courts and allows judges discretion to consider the facts of each individual case, using existing factors as consideration, to then make a determination that is in the best interests of the child, while preserving the child’s right to have a healthy relationship with both parents.
- During Tuesday’s debate, Senator Figures, in opposition to the bill, asserted that SB266 takes discretion away from judges and mandates the courts to order 50/50 child custody in all cases to include when evidence indicates such parenting time arrangement is not in the best interest of the child. The truth is 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.
- Senator Stutts, in an effort to thoroughly address the opposition’s misunderstanding, made a motion for SB266 to be tabled to the call of the Chair. This means SB266 could be called back for a vote as early as May 2nd, 10am.
- Before Senator Figures voiced her opposition, Senator Linda Coleman-Madison from Jefferson County spoke in favor of SB266. Senator Coleman-Madison expressed that it is both a child’s right and in their best interest to have a healthy relationship with both parents whenever possible. We appreciate her feedback, collaboration, and support of SB266.
Action Needed: What you want matters to your Senators. We ask you to take a moment to continue contacting (call and email) as many of these State Senators as possible before 10:00 am on May 2nd. You can contact them individually or create a single email to send to all of the Senators. Click here to access the list of the Senators’ contact information.
It’s simple, no long conversation needed:
When calling or emailing, urge the Senators to vote YES on SB266 and not to support any amendments. Let them know you appreciate their commitment to rebuilding families by fixing Alabama child custody law. Ask them to please vote YES on SB266. (As a reminder, please always be respectful and courteous with your communications.)
Together, we can make our voices heard to support children having two parents!
Thank you so much for taking a moment to stand up and be heard! Watch for a similar action request soon for your State Representative when the bill goes to the House for a vote.
ALFRA State Vice President