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HB232 up date--time to speak up

Started by PACE, Jan 27, 2004, 08:48:18 AM

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PACE

The following was sent to me by Don Hubin the PACE director in Columbus. It is time to show the judges and lawyers that are trying to kill eqaul parenting in Ohio that we mean business.

Ray Lautenschlager
PACE Akron


Information on House Bill 232:

        Text of Bill:  Go to http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=125_HB_232 to read the text of the bill.

        PACE Documents:  Attached are three PACE documents concerning House Bill 232.( The3se can be found on the PACE web Site)  There is a one-page handout that includes contact information for all the representatives on the Juvenile and Family Law Committee and a one-page handout with some questions and answers about HB 232.  There is also a long document responding to the concerns of the Ohio Judicial Conference concerning the Family Access Motions provided for in HB 232.

The Status of House Bill 232:

        HB 232 was introduced to the Juvenile and Family Law Committee on October 8, 2003.  On that day, there was proponent and opponent testimony given.  Since that time, there has been no action on the bill.  The reason the Committee has not acted on the bill is that the Ohio Supreme Court has two committees considering changes in Ohio's domestic relations law.  These committees are expected to report their recommendations early in February.  The Juvenile and Family Law Committee thought that it was reasonable to wait on any action on HB 232 for a short period to see what recommendations come out of the Supreme Court committees.  We anticipate that many of the recommendations of the Supreme Court committees will be similar to those made by the Task Force on Family Law and Children--a task force on which Mark Inzetta, Chair of the Children's And Parents' Rights Association sat.

        Because of the timing of reports of the Supreme Court committees, the House Committee is currently in a holding pattern on HB 232.  I believe that speculation that the bill is dead is premature.  But we will have an uphill battle on the bill.  This means we need to be active in pushing the legislation.  During this waiting period, I strongly encourage people to continue to write and call their legislators and all of those on the Juvenile and Family Law Committee urging them to act favorably on HB 232 and not to water it down or substitute another bill for it.  We should not, though, expect the Committee  to act before seeing the report of the Supreme Court committees.  That is probably an unreasonable expectation.  What we should expect is that the House Committee will understand the concerns that motivated HB 232 and will press the representatives of the Supreme Court committees to show how their recommendations will address these concerns.  We want out concerns to set the agenda for the discussion.

        Obviously, as soon as the Supreme Court recommendations are published, we will have to ramp up our efforts to work with legislators and the press to promote the current version of HB 232.

When you write to legislators, here are some "'Do's and 'Don't's"
•   DO be clear and concise
•   DON'T go into great detail about your own case.
•   DO urge them to support HB 232 in its current form.
•   DON'T insult judges and attorneys--DON'T treat it as if all of them hold the same view.  (Remember that many legislators are attorneys;  they hang out with other attorneys, some of them family attorneys.  Remember, too, that  all legislators are politicians.  In Ohio, we elect our judges [when they aren't appointed by Chief Justice Moyer] and that means that the legislators are friends and colleagues with judges, including domestic relations judges.  There's no quicker way to losing credibility than to tell a legislator that all judges are crooks when she or he personally knows ones that are not.)
•   DO present your primary concerns as being with the welfare of children of divorced parents.  There are, as I've written professionally, vital issues of parental rights and the Constitution at play here.  But not only are these not in conflict with the welfare of children, they exist primarily to promote children's welfare.  But if you emphasize parental rights, it sounds like you're more concerned with your equality than with your children's well-being.  We will garner much more support by making it clear why we care about our parental rights.  It's for the children.
•   DON'T sound arrogant or threatening.
•   DO, though, make it clear how much you care about this issue and that you will let your campaign contributions and your vote be determined by support (or nonsupport) for this issue.
There is a list of the legislators on the House Committee on Juvenile and Family Law in the attachment titled HB232 Handout(bw).pdf

Don


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Don Hubin, Director
Parents And Children for Equality (PACE)
Columbus Chapter
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