In an unprecedented victory, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a strong shared parenting bill last Saturday. This is the result of over three years of hard work by National Parents Organization and others.
This is the first time a shared parenting bill has passed either chamber of the Massachusetts legislature, and is HUGE. We are now on the threshold of passing this bill!
Now we have to get it through the Senate, and we only have until Friday to get this done. The outcome depends on You and You Alone! If you want to see this bill become law, you must do ALL of the following things immediately:
- Note that the bill, having passed the House, has now been given a new number. Previously known as S836 and H4107, IT IS NOW KNOWN AS H4544.
- Call your State Senator and ask that “H4544 be brought to the Senate Floor without changes for a straight up or down vote immediately.” If you don’t know who your State Senator is, you can find out by going to malesgislature.gov This site will also give his/her office phone number. You don’t really need any talking points – just make the ask – but if you feel you must have some, look at the end of this email.
- Call the Senate President Stan Rosenberg and make the same ask at 413-584-1649.
- Call the Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee Sen. Karen Spilka and make the same ask at 617-722-1640.
- Call the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Third Reading Sen. Cynthia Creem and make the same ask at 617-722-1639.
- Get three friends or family to make the same calls.
- Email us at email@example.com and let us know that you have done this.
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and volunteer to call 10 to 20 of our members to remind them to do what you have done.
You can do almost all of this in about 15 minutes. Only numbers 6 and 8 will take longer.
If hundreds of you do this, we will win; if not, we will lose. Pressure wins, passivity loses. If you figure the other guy will do it, we lose.
Here are some talking points about the bill. This is strictly optional –no one is actually going to ask you to defend the bill. But just in case you want to be sure, here goes:
- The bill was developed by former Governor Deval Patrick’s Working Group, including about 18 experts representing three bar associations, judges, shared parenting activists, practicing attorneys, child development researchers, women’s advocates, advocates for the poor, and others. It was endorsed by all members of the Working Group.
- Child development researchers now widely agree that shared parenting is best for most children whose parents divorce.
- The bill preserves protections such that batterers do not obtain shared parenting.
- The bill preserves the concept of the best interest of the child, referencing this phrase about seven times.
- The bill does not change the formula for determining child support orders.
- The Boston Globe endorsed this bill.
- A 2004 ballot initiative showed that 86% of Massachusetts voters endorsed shared parenting as the preferred outcome if both parents are fit and there has been no domestic violence.
Don’t lose this historic opportunity. Drop everything you are doing and get this bill passed by the Senate! We have never been this close to victory in Massachusetts!
With optimism and enthusiasm,
Ned Holstein, MD. MS
Founder and Chair of the Board
National Parents Organization