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Bill That Would Expand Texas Grandparents' Rights Dropped
Updated: Tuesday, September 17 2013, 04:27 PM CDT
A controversial bill that would expand grandparents' rights when it comes to their grandchildren was dropped last minute at the State Capitol Tuesday.
At least one group is celebrating the setback. Both sides have been trying for years to get lawmakers to see their side.
It's about a difference in opinion in finding a balance between protecting children and protecting parents' rights. Even though Senate Bill 1148 didn't get a scheduled committee hearing on Monday, that doesn't mean it's dead. Both sides told us they're still prepared for battle.
A young group of lobbyists celebrated on Tuesday. They intern for the Texas Home School Coalition. The non-profit says Senate Bill 1148 would give grandparents outrageous opportunities to sue fit parents.
"They could take away children because of normal parenting decisions like home school, spanking, what kind of church they go to, this is crazy," said intern Paul Hastings.
"Maddie was taken away from me for three years," said Jim Loose, who traveled from Dallas with his 14-year-old daughter to speak against the bill after his deceased wife's parents sued him. "The law said if they worked it exactly the right way and spent enough money they could sue me even though there were no allegations of any misbehavior from me toward my daughter."
"We've gone back and forth on these issues for years," countered Steve Bresnen, a lobbyist for the Texas Family Law Foundation.
He told KEYE TV the bill simply allows grandparents to come to the aid of a child who may be in harm's way. It also makes it easier for them to obtain visitation rights with their grandchildren.
"It eliminates a provision of law that keeps grandparents from obtaining visitation with their grandchild even if they can prove the child physical health will be significantly harmed in their absence. We think that's absurd."
After talking with both sides, each group said they're willing to meet as early as Wednesday to talk about the bill and see if they can reach a compromise before session ends.