Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Parental Rights Amendment Now Accepting Cosponsors


The Parental Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution is back in the U.S. Congress! Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) will be the lead sponsor this term, with support from Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ). The Amendment has not yet been introduced, but has been through drafting and is now ready for circulation. This means it can be shared with your congressman and Rep. Meadows can begin to gather original cosponsors!

We are excited about our chances of moving the Amendment through the House this session, since supporting cosponsor Franks is the chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. This is the subcommittee the PRA will need to go through to reach the full Judiciary Committee, so his leadership there will help to pave a smooth path for its progress.

We are also excited about our behind-the-scenes progress in the Senate, and hope to confirm our lead sponsor there very soon.

In the newest iteration of the Amendment we have chosen to add a clarifying section to make sure the rights of every parent of a public school student will be protected as they were before the terrible Fields v. Palmdale ruling of the Ninth Circuit in 2005.

In that decision, the Court determined that parental rights “end at the school door.” (A later en banc decision of the Ninth Circuit softened the wording, but did not significantly change its meaning.) Such a termination of parental rights every time a child enters school is simply unacceptable.

This new section of the Parental Rights Amendment will ensure that parents have “the right to make reasonable choices in public schools for one’s child.” This will preserve the right, for instance, to opt one’s child out of a session the parents might find objectionable. It will not give parents any power over the school’s curriculum or what is taught to anyone else’s child. (The same section also provides an explicit protection of the right to choose public, private, religious, or home schooling.)

You can find the full text to the newly updated amendment here.

Action Item: Please Call Your Congressman

Now it is time to contact your congressman and ask him or her to sign on as an original cosponsor of the Amendment. This should be a friendly call, especially if your congressman has sponsored the PRA in the past.

Your message can be as simple as the following: “Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina is gathering original cosponsors for the Parental Rights Amendment, and I would like to encourage my congressman to sign on. The language has been drafted but not introduced, so there isn’t a bill number yet, but you can contact Patrick Fleming in Rep. Meadows’ office for a copy of the resolution or to sign on as a cosponsor. Thank you.”

In many cases, your congressman and his staff will appreciate the call. In any event, please be courteous when you call; we are building relationships that can help the Amendment pass in the long run.

To find your congressman’s phone number, click on your state at ParentalRights.org/States. Be sure to call their Washington, D.C., office.

Then, you can check our website to see when your Congressman has signed on. We will keep the list as current as possible so that you can know when calls are no longer needed.

Why not also use this opportunity to encourage your friends and family to get involved with the Parental Rights Amendment by asking them to join you in calling Congress? Then, send them to our website to sign the petition so they can get these notices for themselves.

This would also be a good time, if you are able, to make a generous donation to ParentalRights.org to help us keep this exciting effort charging forward throughout the summer.

Thank you for taking action today as we prepare for the introduction of the PRA in Congress!


Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research

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