After the 81st Legislature in 2009, Parent Guidance Center led the campaign to ask for a veto of SB 1440. Below is information surrounding that veto and subsequent victory.
PRESS RELEASE THAT STARTED THE VETO CAMPAIGN
Parent Guidance Center
9600 Escarpment Blvd, Suite 745-255
Austin, TX 78749
Released by: June 4, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FLDS-STYLE RAID COMING TO A HOME NEAR YOU
COMPLIMENTS OF THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE
Austin, Texas: The Texas Legislature passed a new law, SB 1440, on May 30th which will potentially suspend 4th amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure during the investigation phase of child protection cases.
Activists, advocates, and parents across Texas are calling for Governor Perry to veto SB 1440 to protect families’ Constitutional rights.
All families are at risk in the state of Texas if the governor signs this bill. The FLDS case, where Texas took over 400 children based on the “umbrella of beliefs” held by their parents and no tangible evidence of abuse or neglect, demonstrated the sweeping power that the government wields against families, even when reports are false. Rights are ignored in the name of “child protection.”
If SB 1440 is not vetoed, Child Protective Services will be able to gain access to people’s homes and children by merely presenting an affidavit to the court asking for a court order to “aid in an investigation.”
This dispenses with a search warrant based on probable cause or a hearing during which parents can defend themselves and CPS must prove “good cause” for obtaining access to children and their medical and mental health records.
“If after being served this order, parents assert their 4th amendment rights, they may be held in contempt of court!” said Johana Scot , executive director of Parent Guidance Center , an organization that helps parents involved in CPS cases. “How can this be in the best interest of a child in the United States of America ?”
The original bill (SB 1064 by Kirk Watson) died on the floor but was revived by Patrick Rose as a last minute amendment to Watson’s SB 1440 and seeks to get around obstacles to information gathering with merely a court order issued for “aid in an investigation” when accusations of abuse or neglect are made “based on information available” which in the case of the FLDS was a hoax phone call.
Parents who do NOT agree to let their children be questioned, transported, or traumatized by strangers could then be presented with a court order sworn by “an investigator or authorized representative of the department” who could then gain access to their property, records, and children. These court orders can also be obtained without a family’s knowledge that they are being investigated.
The new law goes even further by striking the term “for good cause shown” and lowers the evidentiary bar by only requiring “fair probability that allegations of abuse or neglect will be sustained if the order is issued or executed.”
A search warrant requires probable cause; CPS investigations will no longer require good cause at all. Anonymous reports and lack of a hearing will place all families in jeopardy.
“It is disappointing and disturbing that the Texas Legislature would seek to get around court rulings that kept families’ rights in place,” Scot said.
“This bill puts families between a rock and a hard place with confusing language that makes the law harder for ordinary citizens to understand rather than clarifying it.”
The Department of Family and Protective Services has already made great strides to change their policies and procedures after these court rulings.
GROUPS TO THANK and SUPPORT FOR HELPING SAVE THE FAMILIES OF TEXAS FROM SB 1440
These groups/persons/organizations were instrumental in organizing AND carrying out the massive SB 1440 Veto Campaign
Texans for Accountable Government
(Special thanks to Chuck Young-you are the organizing guru! You made this campaign your mission and we will be forever grateful!)
Texas Libertarian Party
Texas Campaign for Liberty
Texas Republican Liberty Caucus
Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights Texas
Constitution Party of Texas
Texas Eagle Forum
Free Market Foundation
Texas Home School Coalition
Texas Right to Life
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform
Home School Legal Defense Association
Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D.
Chris Branson, Esquire
Robert Morrow, Grassroots Activist Extraordinaire
David Cary, President-Family Focus
Dr. Steven Hotze, M.D.
Cecilia M. Wood, Esquire
Texas Center for Family Rights
Katherine Albrecht Radio Show
Rule of Law Radio
Alex Jones Radio Show