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Bill To Establish "Parents’ Bill of Rights" Introduced In Colorado Legislature

Daniel Noffsinger - Thursday, June 25, 2015

Republicans Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, and Rep. Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock recently introduced legislation in Colorado’s General Assembly to expand and outline parents' rights as they relate to providing for their children’s education and healthcare. Under Senate Bill 77, a parents’ “bill of rights” would be established to set forth specific parental rights related to education, healthcare, and mental health care of minor children. In particular, under the bill of rights:

  • A hospital or medical center would not be able to perform a surgical procedure on a minor child without first receiving written consent from the minor’s parent, unless a medical emergency exists.
  • Consent would need to be obtained from the parents before any drugs could be prescribed to the child.
  • Schools would be required to send notification to parents 15 days before a child starts a sex education course.
  • Schools would be required to send information to parents about how the parents can opt out of sex education, classroom lessons and immunization requirements.
Bill Died in House Committee

In February, the bill passed its first test when it came before the Colorado Senate Committee for a vote. Neville, who introduced the bill, supported the bill by stating that, “I already have the responsibility under law, I should make sure I have the right to make their decisions for their education, their moral upbringing and also to keep them safe with the medical decisions being made.”

Needless to say, the bill has drawn up some controversy. The bill, however, does not appear that it will go any further, at least in its current form. In March, the bill died in the House by a 7 to 6 vote. The Public Health Care and Human Services Committee postponed the bill indefinitely. Senate Democratic leader Morgan Carroll criticized the bill, calling the legislation a "No Bill of Rights for Our Kids." Carroll believes that permitting such intervention in schools by parents "is a mandate for a completely schizophrenic and unenforceable situation."

Parental Rights in Colorado

Under Colorado Law, parents “have a fundamental right and responsibility to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.” In divorce proceedings, parental decision-making authority can be assigned to one or both parents or to each parent for a particular issue. Ultimately, when allocating parental rights and responsibilities, a court will make a decision based on the best interests of the child. In this regard, the court will consider various factors, such as the ability of the parents to work together to make decisions or whether the parents' past pattern of involvement with the child reflects a system of values, time commitment, and mutual support such that the parents can work together to make decisions.

Contact a Colorado Springs Family Law Attorney for Help

If you have any questions regarding parental rights in Colorado, an experienced Colorado Springs family law attorney at Noffsinger Law can help answer your questions. Noffsinger Law provides legal services in a variety of family law matters, including paternity disputes, parental rights, adoptions, and divorces.

Contact a Colorado Springs family law attorney today at Noffsinger Law for help with all your family law needs. Call us today at 719.368.3688 for a free consultation or visit our office at 545 E. Pikes Peak Ave., Ste. 205, in Colorado Springs.