A Major Announcement from Fathers & Families

In a move that will change the course of the family court reform movement, Fathers & Families has just hired two experienced, accomplished legislative representatives. Soon we will be launching campaigns in support of our family court reform legislation—to get involved, please click here. California Readers of are familiar with Michael Robinson’s work in Sacramento on family court reform legislation, and Robinson and I have often worked together.
In 2004 and again in 2006, we helped scuttle two bills (SB 730 and SB 1482) that would have led to unrestricted post-divorce move-aways. This was an important victory for California’s children of divorce, and one that surprised many Sacramento insiders, including Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters. Robinson and I also worked together to pass family law legislation to help military parents (SB 1082) and on shared parenting and domestic violence reform bills. In 2007 and again this year, Robinson helped build a professional coalition to scuttle AB 612, a bill that would have banned target parents of Parental Alienation from raising PA as an issue in their cases. Robinson has also been instrumental in passing legislation on paternity fraud (AB 252 and SB 1333), Collaborative Law (AB 402, AB 189, AB 3051), and protection for disabled veterans with child support obligations (SB 285). He helped create the COAP program, which allows mothers and fathers who are unfairly saddled with inflated, unpayable child support arrearages to settle  them for modest cash payments when the arrears are owed to the state. In 2007, he led the effort to defeat an amendment in AB 164 which would have prevented fit noncustodial parents from gaining access to school and other records. Michael Robinson is now Fathers & Families‘ full-time legislative representative in Sacramento, and we will be introducing several family court reform bills into the California legislature in February. Starting soon, Fathers & Families activists will be meeting with legislators throughout the state. We want your participation–to get involved, please click here. Massachusetts Enzo Pastore, our new deputy director, has worked on health care reform legislation in Washington DC, Albany, NY, and Boston, MA for 15 years. Pastore designed and promoted model prescription drug legislation that was introduced in 27 states in 2001. He led a successful legislative campaign in New York in 2007 to fund special housing for senior citizens and the disabled. In 2005, he helped defeat a federal Bush initiative that would have drastically cut Medicaid funding and services. In January, we will launch our campaign to pass HB 1400, the Massachusetts Shared Parenting bill, and Pastore will be spearheading our campaign. Through Fathers & Families” efforts, over one-quarter of the Massachusetts Legislature has expressed clear, public support for our Shared Parenting Bill, many of them signing on as co-sponsors. We gathered thousands of signatures to place shared parenting on the 2004 Massachusetts ballot and led a successful campaign for its passage, winning 86% of the vote. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick told the Legislature that if they pass Fathers & Families” Shared Parenting, he will sign it, and F & F recently met with Governor Patrick. We need volunteers to meet with legislators, do media work, and help build our campaign–to volunteer, please click here. Federal Legislation, plus Legislation in Texas & Many Other States Robinson has worked with legislators and staffers in many other states on military parent legislation, and many states have passed bills modeled in part on SB 1082, the military parents bill we passed in California in 2005. These include: Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, Utah, Mississippi, Alaska, Missouri, and others. Robinson worked with Texas Senator Jane Nelson to pass SB 279, a bill to protect military parents’ custody rights, which was signed by Texas Governor Rick Perry earlier this year. Robinson has also helped pass federal legislation to protect military parents. In 2007 Robinson worked closely with Ohio Congressman Michael Turner (R-Ohio) on Turner’s efforts to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act in the National Defense Reauthorization Act (HR 1585) and (HR 4986). Through these efforts,  family court and child custody proceedings were specifically added to the SCRA via HR 4986, which was signed by President Bush. Turner continued his efforts in 2008, and the resulting National Defense Reauthorization Act (HR 2647) mandated that the Secretary of Defense produce a report on child custody litigation involving members of the Armed Forces, as well as international intrafamilial abductions of servicemembers” children. HR 2647 was signed by President Obama in October, 2009–to see these provisions, click here. Prominent Biotechnology Executive Mark Benedyk, PhD Joins Our Board of Directors Dr. Benedyk is the head of The Pfizer Incubator, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc., the world”s largest research-based pharmaceutical company.  The Pfizer Incubator was initiated by Pfizer to support life science start-ups and to explore novel approaches to discovering new medicines. Dr. Benedyk has over 15 years experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, where he has been involved in business development, product management, and corporate fundraising. His business strategy and fundraising skills will be invaluable for Fathers & Families, and we welcome him as our newest national board member. What You Can Do Experienced legislative experts like Robinson and Pastore cost money, as does the organizational work we do surrounding their efforts–please make a tax-deductible gift to support our important work by clicking here. One very affordable way to help build Fathers & Families is to make a monthly gift–to do so, click here and enter an amount under “monthly contribution.” The Family Court Reform Movement will not progress unless we engage in the political process on a professional level, as our opponents do. Fathers & Families has the largest membership base, the highest media profile, the most funding, and now the best legislative advocates of any family court reform organization. The time to take this movement to a higher level is now, and it takes money to do it–please give generously by clicking here. To volunteer to help, please click here. Together with you in the love of our children, Glenn Sacks, MA Executive Director, Fathers & Families Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S. Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers & Families

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