I am watching a bill in the Michigan House of Representatives that was introduced by Rep. Glenn Steil Jr.
This bill (HB 4564) states that in a custody dispute between parents, a court must order joint custody unless it determines by clear and convincing evidence that a parent is unfit, unwilling, or unable to care for the child; or unless the parent moves outside the school district and is unable to maintain the child's school schedule without interruption. In that case, the court must order that the parents submit to mediation to determine a custody agreement that maximizes both parents' ability to participate equally in a relationship with their child while accommodating the child's school schedule.
The bill has the following sponsors on it:
Rick Shaffer, John Stahl, John Pastor, Jack Brandenburg, Kevin Green, Jacob Hoogendyk, Lorence Wenke, Robert Dean, John Stakoe, Rick Jones, Fulton Sheen, Bill Huizenga, Fran Amos, John Moolenaar, Goeff Hansen, Judy Emmons, James Marleau, Marty Knollenberg, Brian Palmer, David Agema, Bruce Caswell
It was referred to April 5, 2007 to the House Family and Children's Services Committee. The Representative who runs that committee is Rep. Brenda Clack from District 34 in Flint.
Rep. Clack is not just the chair of this committee but she is also the chair of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. You would think as screwed up as the Black family is in this state that she would have got this bill out of committee a long time ago.
She is not for it. Not only she is not for the bill but has voted against it last year as well.
When former State Rep. Lamar Lemmons III was in support last year of HB 5267 the Family Law Lobby and the Democratic leadership put some serious heat on him to change his mind.
Now what in the living hell would prevent Clack from taking up a vote in committee to give fathers a MORE important role in parenting. We hear non-stop about all of these lovely fatherhood programs for our elected officials to address the “fatherhood crisis” yet they will not allow a vote on 4564 which would allow more fathers to play an active role in their child’s life.
In fact, Clack is so scantless that she is not taking up a vote from the GOP period for at least six months.
Title IV-D funding is weighing down the scales of justice against joint custody in this state. Because they stand to loose federal funding, some courts are actually fighting with parents who walk in the door and who both want joint custody! It's time to stop this nonsense, accept that the government is not all knowing, and give joint custody a shot for families unless there is a reason that it can't work.
Clack is married and have children of her own. She fully understands how fathers are critical to their children’s development: that has been proven by peer reviewed empirical research.
So why is Rep. Brenda Clack stiff on this bill? I do know she introduced this bill:
House Bill 4481 (Establish a foster care independence program). This is a bill that help establish a foster care independence program to offer education, training, employment, and financial support for young adults leaving foster care. This bill passed 106-0 in the House.
Any bill that supports welfare, foster care, etc she will support but building bridges with families she is not for. What is going on with our leadership in Lansing. And this is a office that I visit on a regular basis.
And I cannot understand how ANY Black legislator, staff or personnel has not raised serious hell about this bill. And I am shocked to death to see Rep. Robert Dean from Grand Rapids going along with this circus. This man is a REVEREND who preaches family. Or is that a facade?
It is high time to look at the financial incentive to break family's up and favor one parent over the other. Also this "Best Interest of the Child Standard" is to vague and is being misused. Judges are not even required to put in the court record the reason for their decision to favor one of the parents over the other and the reason is there is no logical reason to favor one fit parent over the other.
There is much wrong with our "Family Courts" and it time for some political leadership and meaningful change. Are we as a society looking our for the best interest of the "DIVORCE and LEGAL INDUSTRY or are we looking out for children and citizens that are supposed to have equal rights.
I am urging Rep. Clack to move on this bill today. This is a bill that NEEDS to be passes and MUST be enforced. There are too many children who lose out in regards to one of their parents, through no fault of their own.
There are many selfish parents as well as too many money-hungry FOC's out there that just want their Title funding.
Fit parents are those who dedicate themselves to providing unconditional love and guidance to their children. They help with homework, fix boo-boos, teach them right from wrong, teach moral values, etc.
Government can never care for children like the real parents do. With the thousands or tens of thousands of cases per worker they don't even have time to properly look at evidence, much less interview the children and form proper opinions. The stakes are so high that even people of ordinarily reasonable character have been coached to perjure themselves for personal gain. It is a waste of taxpayer money to pretend to do our children proper justice.
The bottom line is simply this. We have listened to the opposition to this equality and their words ring untrue at best and self serving evil at worst. The children's anti-parental right lobby will not acknowledge that the majority of children are improperly being denied stability in their parental relationships due to a small percentage of cases with domestic violence. They would have us believe that since only 10% of disputed cases make it all the way to the judge that there is no need for reform in the law because 90% of cases are settled by both parents of their own free will. They would also have us believe that children do not need both parents in their lives but just need small amounts of quality time with their non-custodial parent (father). They go on to say that raising the level of evidence by making the court show clear and convincing evidence of unfitness will increase the amount of litigation between divorcing parents. This is like saying that more people would be able to file more civil actions to win millions of dollars in civil suits if the evidence standards where raised to criminal standards.
Urban Conservatives must join in the fight to get the bill through the committee. We know that the bill has a majority of FCS members as co-sponsors. Not only Brenda Clack opposes that bill but she plans on never letting it out of committee and that she will not allow any GOP introduced bills up for 6 months. This is beyond criminal and I recommend that we began to mobilize our people to get the message out as soon as possible about how we have a key Black legislator oppressing not just Black families in Urban communites across Michigan but ALL familes (regardless of race) in Michigan.
Who the hell allowed her to be re-elected anyway in Flint?