This is huge ladies and gentlemen. Downright huge. HB 2557 is well on it’s way to restoring parental rights in Texas.
If this is the first that you’ve heard about HB 2557, also known as the Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act, then please take 5 minutes to familiarize yourself with the bill text. Furthermore, here is a Bill Analysis and a list of Talking Points that the Texas Home School Coalition has developed.
Fit families are losing their children due to an unfortunate loophole in Texas law that allows the initial evidenciary hearing (which is required) in a grandparent access/possession suit to be postponed indefinitely.
Most of these cases would be discarded or resolved within weeks of the initial hearing. Unfortunately, since the current law doesn’t have a timeline for the 1st hearing, court cases will drag on for years without ever having that initial hearing.
These cases typically drag on until either the grandparents or parents run out of financial resources due to legal fees and are forced to give up the case. The winners aren’t necessarily the ones in the right, they’re simply the ones with the larger checkbook.
Of course there are some variations to this process depending on different factors, but for the most part the above list is an accurate description of how a bill passes the Texas House.
There’s another tricky part to all of this. The Texas Constitution only allows the Legislature to meet for 140 days every 2 years [Sec. 24(b), Art. III]. That means that the Texas Legislature takes 730 day’s worth of proposed legislation and crams it into 140.
Understandably, a tremendous amount of bills die.
Now that HB 2557 is out of the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee, then next step is to be voted out of the House Calendars Committee. It’s up the Calendars Committee member’s discretion to place bills on the calendar.
Fact: By House rules, bills must be voted out of the Texas House on or before May 9th.
Fact: There are currently 400 – 600 bills pending in the Calendars committee. More bills are added every day.
Fact: A large number of bills die in Calendars every session because they run out of time.
Fact: Unless the Calendars Committee members receive a larger number of phone calls and emails, HB 2557 will most likely die.
Over the next 3 days, the Calendars Committee members need to receive an inordinate number of phone calls and emails asking them to support HB 2557 and place it on the House Calendar.
I have been there. I work there. I observe this on a first-hand, daily basis. Phone calls really do make a difference.
I don’t do this often, but I’m doing this right now. I’m going to ask you to do something for me.
Below, I’ve listed the 15 House Calendars Committee members and their phone numbers.
Rep. Todd Hunter – Chair
Rep. Dennis Bonnen – Vice Chair
Rep. Dan Branch
Rep. Garnet Coleman
Rep. Byron Cook
Rep. Charlie Geren
Rep. Jim Keffer
Rep. Tracy O. King
Rep. Lois W. Kolkhorst
Rep. Eddie Lucio III
Rep. Allan Ritter
Rep. Eddie Rodriquez
Rep. Burt R. Solomons
Rep. Vicki Truitt
Rep. John Zerwas