February 18, 2015
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Gilbert Tso, Chair, Colorado
National Parents Organization continues to make strides in the State of Colorado. Our Gilbert Tso once again testified before the Senate Education Committee in support of Senate Bill 15-077, also known as the Parents Bill of Rights. The bill was approved by the committee by a 5-4 party-line vote and has now passed the full Senate 18-16.
Here’s how Tso describes the bill:
This bill was introduced and first read in the Senate Education Committee; its sponsors in both the Colorado Senate and House sought to remedy the growing intrusions by state agencies and schools into parents’ fundamental right to raise their children according to their beliefs and principles, to opt-out of certain state-directed education, mental health-care and medical practices involving their children.
Establishing a Parent’s Bill of Rights in Colorado or any state is significant. Why? A Parent’s Bill of Rights in conjunction with the relevant articles and amendments existing in the Colorado State Constitution and the Constitution of the United States of America, places the burden of proof squarely on the state to show a legitimate cause before the state may intervene in a custody dispute and substantively reduce or revoke a parent’s right to equal shared custody when equality, as in 50/50 shared parenting, is the point of contention. Currently, litigants have to justify before the state why equal or substantially equal shared parenting should be the status quo under the Best Interest of the Child guidelines. A parent’s bill of rights, subject to its scope, may be just enough to remove the burden of proof from the litigant and place it squarely upon the state.
As with any parenting bill, the usual suspects oppose the Parents Bill of Rights Bill. Tso again:
[T]he Colorado Bar Association, and allied special interests would rather kill any bill protecting the fundamental rights of parents to a private and inalienable relationship with their children; they seek to kill any bill that sets a limit and condition on the state’s ability for intervention when revoking a parent’s fundamental right to parent their children. Indeed, these special interests consistently oppose any bill declaring that absent a justifiable cause for state intervention, a parent’s right to parent their children is a fundamental right and liberty interest, and the state’s ability to intervene, deny and/or revoke those rights would require the highest degree of evidentiary standard, that being strict scrutiny, under due process!
Yesterday, Colorado parents and supportive legislators in both houses won the first round in the battle to establish a Parent’s Bill of Rights; this is a small but substantial step toward the goal of shared parenting post-divorce or separation. Next steps include additional readings and a vote on the floor of both houses."
Good work Gilbert, as usual!