Legislation codifying parental rights as "fundamental" was postponed on the House floor after lengthy protests from Democratic lawmakers.
House Bill 6 (HB6), sponsored by State Rep. Kenneth Paschal (R-Pelham), seeks to codify the Alabama Supreme Court's findings related to parents' fundamental rights in rearing their children.
"HB6 is a common-sense, proactive bill that codifies, and it preserves a deeply-rooted historical tradition and legal standard for parental rights and child protection in America," Paschal said.
He continued, "Parental rights are pre-political, meaning they existed before the formal institution of any government. They are natural rights and cannot be given or taken away by the government. Instead, the government's job in this arena is simply to0 recognize and uphold these inherent rights."
State Rep. A.J. McCampbell (D-Demopolis) questioned the bill's intent, asking if it would prohibit the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) from carrying out its duties in custody disputes.
"Who is it we don't trust then? That's the question," McCampbell asked. "Are we saying we don't trust ourselves? Are we saying we don't trust the citizens of the state of Alabama?"
Paschal clarified that this bill was different from another he is working on dealing with child custody, explaining HB6 was meant only to codify the rights of parents into state law.
"This bill has nothing to do with child custody," he outlined. "This bill is simply to codify what our U.S. Supreme Court has said since 1923; it's to codify that parents have a fundamental right to direct their kids' upbringing, education, care, custody and control."
According to Paschal, since the word "custody" in the bill caused confusion, an amendment was approved by the House to remove it.
Several Democratic lawmakers used the debate time to protest proposed legislation by State Rep. Jamie Kiel (R-Russellville) designed to prevent ballot harvesting.
Others engaged in lengthy filibustering, with comments ranging from confusing to vitriolic.
After over an hour of protests from Democratic lawmakers, State Rep. Joe Lovvorn (R-Auburn) requested the bill be carried over to the call of the chair, meaning the House Speaker can bring the bill back up for a vote at any time. The vote passed, and the bill did not move forward.
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