WA State HB 1934: An Attack on Parental Rights?

Written by Scott

Topics: Archives, Faith, Family, Politics

gavel

HB 1934 would would allow for petitioning of the courts for ‘visitation’ rights for non-parental people.  Text in HTML, is here (will open in separate window).

So I wrote an email to the cosponsors and sent late Tuesday night, the text of which is below.

I am writing as a voter, as a father, and as a strong proponent of parental rights. I want to make clear my opposition to HB1934.

As I understand it, the current proposed language would allow anyone who has known the child for more than one year to petition to have ‘visitation’ rights to the child.

The laws needed are already in place–if there is sufficient reason for changes to custody. For this very reason, I am requesting a response by email from each of you to the following basic questions:

1. What right does any other entity beside the parents have (with the exception, like it is currently, if CPS is involved) to access to the children?
2. What basis are you using in determining that others do have such rights that far exceed current law or definitions?
3. What basis are you using in forcefully overriding the rights of the parents?
4. Are you even considering the implications to not only families, but to the court system, the foster care system, the school system, etc.

I would prefer to have the responses from you directly, but understand time may not always allow. Please do note, though, that these responses will be a matter of public record, so you may want to ensure they accurately reflect your own thoughts, since they will (either way) be attributed to you, as the actual representative.

Should any of you wish to also contact me directly (and in addition to this email), my address is below. However, please do note that email is far more effective…as well as less expensive, which, as public officials, I’m positive you are conscious of now, as always.

Scott Kuhn
{redacted}

Sincerely,
{my signature block}

I initially thought I’d be overwhelmed with responses, especially when I did receive an auto-response from Rep. Chad Magendanz’s office telling me that “[h]earing from and communicating to our constituents is our number one priority.”

Alas, nothing. Until today, that is. I got one response from Rep. Sam Hunt, the text of which is below:

Scott, I am one of 60 cosponsors of HB 1934. It allows a person who has a “personal and long-lasting relationship with the child.” A person wishing to be granted visitation rights must file a petition in court. The petitioner must prove ”by clear and convincing evidence” that visitation is in the best interest of the child. The bill has a long list of criteria to be considered in this judicial process. It will not be easy to gain visitation rights.

Sam

Oh my. I’ll save the analysis of his response for another time. But I’m sure readers can figure out my gist…

My response:

Thank you for the response. It is greatly appreciated.

You are, thus far, the only respondent.

However, since the questions asked were not directly addressed, I’m not sure how to apply your response. While it is true that the bill states the things you mention, it does not define those things–with the exception of what appears to be a definition of sorts for the “personal and long-lasting relationship” by stating “relationship with substantial continuity for at least one year…”. Seems overly vague. And with such vagueness throughout the bill, how can you claim that it will not be easy to gain visitation rights?

Furthermore, how is this not already addressed in current law?

Again, thank you for responding.

I would encourage all parents in WA to stand against this bill, and to voice your concern to these representatives.

To aid in this, the following link provides the email addresses of the sponsors in CSV format, here.

1 Comment For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Sarah says:

    2/12/14 – HB 1934 has been re-introduced in the 2014 (current) session. Same number.

    This bill isn't an attack on parental rights – it's an attack on children. What grandparent in their right mind would WANT a convicted sex offender to have visitation with their grandchildren?

    something else going on here.