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California Legislative Report for 2014

October 4, 2014
By Michelle Glogovac, Chair, Executive Committee, National Parents Organization of California and Curtis Vandermolen, Member, Executive Committee, National Parents Organization of California

Your National Parents Organization of California Executive Committee is pleased to report some successes for our first year. As you know, National Parents Organization of California formed at the end of summer last year and set forth an ambitious agenda. At the top of our list of priorities was the introduction of a change to the way temporary custody orders are issued.

We made great progress in 2014 toward this goal. We were able to gain significant interest from several members of the California State Senate and California State Assembly, and had enough support that two of our proposed bills were sent to draft. Although these bills were not ready before the introduction deadline in February of this year, we have continued to have positive discussions. We have tentative commitments from two Members of the Legislature to introduce our bills in 2015, and are building a coalition of support among mental health professionals, educators, and other interested parties.

National Parents Organization of California also weighed in on several other pieces of legislation throughout the year. Here’s the inside scoop:

  • AB 414 — Fox (D-Palmdale)
    When this bill was first introduced, it would have re-enacted a section of law that said a termination of child support can trigger modification of spousal support. This section expired on January 1 of this year. National Parents Organization of California wrote letters in opposition to this bill, because we strongly believe that matters of spousal support and child support should be as separate as possible — the purpose of child support is to support children, so a reduction in child support should not lead to an increase in spousal support.

    Committee analyses raised concerns about the bill that reflected our statements, but the bill passed with unanimous support and was signed by the governor.

  • AB 1628 — Fox (D-Palmdale)
    This bill will further erode parental rights by allowing grandparents to file a petition for visitation while the parents are still married if one of the parents is incarcerated or institutionalized. National Parents Organization of California wrote a letter in opposition, stating that this bill would give grandparents the right to harass their son-in-law or daughter-in-law while their own child is in jail or prison. Of greatest concern, this bill would potentially create a means for retaliation against parents who report domestic violence.

    AB 1628 was passed with unanimous support and was signed by the governor.

  • AB 2089 — Quirk (D-Hayward)
    National Parents Organization of California expressed concerns about this bill early in the process.
    It would have prohibited a court from denying a protective order (restraining order) based on the absence of abuse, even if such abuse was five years prior. Amendments removed these problematic provisions from the bill.

    Ultimately, National Parents Organization of California wrote a letter in support of AB 2089, because it begins to recognize scientific facts about domestic violence and abuse, and removes the current prohibition on mutual orders (protective orders for both parties). As noted in our letter, “More than three decades of peer-reviewed studies have shown that over half of domestic abuse is bi-directional. This bill is an important step in recognizing that oftentimes both parties in a relationship are equally responsible for abuse.” This change should help level the field in divorce and custody disputes where allegations of domestic violence are made, and will hopefully help to discourage false allegations.

    AB 2089 passed with unanimous support and is expected to be signed by the governor.

  • SB 545 — Anderson (R-Temecula)
    This bill would have allowed a parent to change the name of a child without consent of the other parent under specified conditions, including, that the opposing parent has a DVRO preventing contact for at least 5 years and there is no child support order in place. National Parents Organization of California wrote a letter in support of this bill, believing that in cases such as would give rise to the conditions set forth in this bill, parents should have the ability to protect the identity of their children.

    SB 545 was later amended to address an altogether different issue and no longer received support or opposition from National Parents Organization of California.

As you can see, it has been a busy year for our volunteer Executive Committee! We have been working hard to build support for our own policy objectives to meaningfully reform Family Law in California, and have offered the advice of our experts in letters on pending legislation. For our first year, we think that we have hit the ground running and begun to represent the interest of our members well.

You can help us improve our efforts for 2015! If you have professional connections in legal, mental health, dispute resolution, or other communities that we can gather support from, please let us know. National Parents Organization also needs your contributions to improve our effectiveness in California and nationwide.

Because we have such a great, active, and passionate team here in California, we are using more resources than our members give back. Let’s turn that around and show the country that California parents care about their children!

Every contribution counts and brings us closer to shared parenting. Give Today!

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