MA. Shared Parenting Bill Clears Next Hurdle, Is Extended by Judiciary Committee

Fathers & Families Member Greg Sabine (middle) with Sen. Thomas Kennedy (left) and Rep. Christine Canavan (right)

The Joint Committee on the Judiciary of the Massachusetts Legislature  has again extended our Shared Parenting bill (HB 1400).  In March, the bill was given an extension until May 7th.  At that point, the committee either needed to report the bill out favorably, give an extension, or send it to a study which would mean the bill dies.

Since the first extension, our members have been writing, calling or meeting with their legislators to discuss the importance of shared parenting.  Other members, like Greg Sabine (pictured with Sen. Thomas Kennedy and Rep. Christine Canavan) have not only met with their legislators but also spent time writing to local papers about the issue.  These efforts have clearly paid off.  We now have another two months to make sure this bill makes it out of committee and onto the House floor for a vote.

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 our shared parenting bill, he will sign it, and F & F recently met with Patrick.

Through our efforts and the efforts of our allies, shared parenting was the most-requested plank in the Platform of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and the most popular issue on the Governor”s website in 2009.  Shared parenting was endorsed in principle by the editorial board of the Boston Globe in 2008.

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