Parents Rights

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JEFFERSON CITY - A new house bill is trying to protect parents' rights to make decisions for their children's education, health and upbringing, which some say can be infringed upon in court.

Representative Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville, is sponsoring HB 1294. A House hearing was held today with the Judiciary Committee and was met with no opposition.

"It is called the 'Parental Rights Bill' and it would just add it to the statute - to give parents the right for the health, education and welfare of their own children. And to ensure there's no government overreach," Toalson Reisch said.

Toalson Reisch said the bill is specifically aimed at giving parents the right to make decisions in their children's lives. She also said it would not change how abusive or neglectful parents are disciplined.

"It's a very simple bill that parents should have the right to take care of their children," Toalson Reisch.

"This would still be law, that if you neglect or abuse your child, you can have your children taken away in the appropriate punishments there on," she said.

Jill Johnson is the mother of three children. She drove to the State Capitol from her home in St. Louis to support the bill. She said she initially felt nervous, but feels too passionate about the issue to not show support.

"I thought, 'Well, I'm just a stay-at-home mom, I don't know if I can do this,' but I recognize that I just have a passion for parents being allowed to be parents," Johnson said.

"I'm fighting for the rights of all parents to be good parents and to protect that right," she said.

Toalson Reisch said she can relate to Johnson and other parents from personal experience.

"I'm a parent and a grandparent, and so I've had to make those hard decisions to their health and education and welfare. I think that we don't need courts taking those rights away from us."

HB 1294 is currently not scheduled on the House calendar. It now awaits recommendations from the Committee chair for any recommendations before being placed on the perfection calendar.