Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why we need lobbyists every day of the session

This chronicles a week of my life as a lobbyist. The week of 15 February was an especially trying time in the Indiana General Assembly. I am currently trying to push through two pieces of legislation, SB140 concerning adoption and paternity and SB178 allowing joint legal custody in paternity cases. I have also been watching HB1055 and SB0059 which are two versions of the intact family Grandparent Visitation Bill.

Monday was a rather quiet day in which I didn't go to the State House but instead did administrative work through e-mail and by phone. I did received a call from a client who said his wife told him it was too late to try to make a settlement agreement and they would be going to court on Monday. I called one of the attorneys I work with in Indy and set up a meeting for 9:30 Wednesday morning. I also prepared as much as possible for my legislative work for the week and the Domestic Relations Committee meeting on Friday.

The House Judiciary Committee was to meet at 8:30 on Tuesday morning to hear Senate Bill 140. I arrived plenty early to get the front row for myself, Senator Zakas who authored the bill along with Senator Broden in the Senate, and Steve Kirsh, an Indianapolis adoption attorney who wrote the bill. The bill is co-authored by Senator Boots who had authored SB0070 for me which I requested to be withdrawn since SB140 included its basic language. Senators Steele, Bray, Miller, Gard, Holdman, Becker and Yoder were also added as co-authors.

Four amendments have been proposed for this bill in the House. The first was introduced by Rep Sandra Blanton. This would prohibit the lawful use or possession of firearms or ammunition from being used as a factor to block an adoption. The second was introduced by Rep Jeff Thompson. This would require that a paternity action filed involving a child who is subject of an adoption action be filed in the same court. This adopts the language from my SB0070. The third was introduced by Rep Wesley Culver. This makes a technical correction. The fourth was introduced by Rep Ralph Foley. This adopts the language in House Bill 1314 which would require language be added to the paternity affidavit informing the mother that knowingly making a false statement about who the putative father is constitutes a crime.

Near the conclusion of the House Judiciary hearing I received a call from Representative Yarde, a cosponsor of Senate Bill 178, informing me that there would be a pre committee meeting on SB178 at 11:00am and he would like for me to brief him on the bill before 11:00. While doing that he made mention that SB0178 would be heard upon adjournment of the House Tuesday. I had spoken to the committee chair, Representative Vanessa Summers, the previous week and her aide again on Monday and was told it would be Wednesday at 10:30am. Fortunately I was already at the State House and was able to stay for the hearing.

Senator Steele had authored the bill in the Senate but was unable to present the bill to the House Committee on Children and Families. Rep Eric Koch is a cosponsor and Senator Tim Lanane was added as a coauthor. I had already met with Representative Shelli Vandenburgh, the bill's sponsor, for about a half hour and had fully briefed her on the purpose, content and effect of the bill. Representative VanDenburgh then presented the bill followed by Representative Summers calling for remonstrance.

A lobbyist for the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence complained ad nauseum that this bill mandates that young mothers must let putative fathers take their children from them. Interestingly though the actual bill stipulates that a check off box be added to the Indiana Paternity Affidavit that allows parents to choose joint legal custody by checking the box and both affixing their signatures to the affidavit a second time.

Representative Matt Bell questioned her about the use of the word "mandate" being used for an option parents may select. Representative Bartlett wondered if it would be best to encourage more father involvement in paternity cases since we have had numerous headlines recently about mothers and/or their boyfriends killing the child and maybe the child would be alive if it had been with the father. She then went on to say that people who are not married can't be expected to agree on the legal decisions of a child for the entirety of the child's life so therefore fathers shouldn't be involved. As her droning on became even more senseless Chairwoman Summers introduced me and said she would just let me finish.

I immediately offered what seemed to be the obvious solution. We should mandate that all parents be married because married parents are able to agree upon the education, health care, religion and other needs of a child for the entirety of the child's life. But as I tried to talk over the banter of chuckles, snickers and questions about my marital or parenting status a reality hit me: not all married parents can agree and Indiana does have a process for dissolution of marriage. I think the point was well made and that was one argument shattered.

I was asked by one of the committee members what states have joint legal custody for parents of newborns. I gave the obvious answer of all 50, as long as the parents are married. I have no statistics for out-of-wedlock families. The DV lobbyist immediately responded with "That's not true!" My challenge to her to name any state that does not preserve the natural right of married parents to direct the upbring and care of their children as affirmed by numerous US Supreme Court rulings got no response.

I finished my presentation and answered questions as they were presented to me. Some of the committee members put forth the idea of amending the bill for some type of additional counseling to minor parents about what legal custody is. Representative Vanessa Summers then decided to give the members some time to think about it and continue the hearing at the regularly scheduled time on Wednesday. Some of the committee members and I along with an LSA staff attorney remained and discussed possible language changes to the bill and what the current laws are.

I stayed around for awhile meeting with a representative of the Indiana Family Institute and a legislator about the Grandparent Visitation Bill. I was given about 30 pages of study material to read before presenting my testimony on the bill the next morning.

While sitting on a snow covered rural road in Boone County for an hour I prepared a rebuttal to the issues raised by the DV lobbyist and read through some of the 30 pages I had just received. After that I got a somewhat restless night of sleep, was up early, did my running and then headed to the State House. I luckily saw Representative Summers aide as soon as I walked in. In case I was going to be late to the hearing I gave her my printed material in response to the previous day's testimony on SB178 so the committee members could review it at the 10:30 hearing. I then headed off to meet my client and go see the lawyer I had found for him.

At 10:30 we left the lawyers office and I hurried back to the State House and joined the committee hearing that was already underway. This is rather unusual as start times usually range from 15-45 minutes after they are scheduled and I had arrived just 15 minutes late. The members received my written materials and no action was taken. The chair did not call SB0059, the Grandparent Visitation Bill. The House version had also been killed earlier in the day.

I was then briefed about the anticipated progress of my bills and I hit the hallways for some meet and greets with legislators. Wednesday brought about a great lunch as various downtown eateries such as the Skyline Club, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Champions and other upscale eateries participated in the Taste of Indy. I was pleased to see plenty of offerings for the vegetarian patrons. I was able to speak with quite a few legislators over lunch and exchange ideas about family law reform.

Most of my afternoon was spent sending and receiving text and emails from three clients who all needed work done at that moment. I was able to successfully complete some calls on my damaged phone. I completed a modified settlement agreement which I sent to the attorney for his review even though the wife had said it was too late. Since I had already had his attorney call her attorney during our 9:30 meeting just to introduce himself I knew it was far from too late.

I staggered out of the State House through the tunnel and to the parking garage. After a two and a half hour nap and dinner I made it back up to Lebanon shortly before 8:00. I went to the Lebanon Bowling Center for my usual Wednesday night bowling. This time I warmed up for 20 frames before starting to throw a smattering of strikes and spares. Pure exhaustion left me somewhere around 110.

Thursday found me in no hurry to get to the State House as there were no hearings where I was scheduled to testify. Still, I never know what will crop up so I ran some quick errands around town before heading to Indy. I spoke with all the interested parties who were considering amendments to SB178 and learned that nothing had been proposed yet. I also spoke to some who had offered amendments on SB140. I learned that the Senate version of the Grandparent Visitation Bill had been revived and was set for a hearing in the Family and Children Committee for Monday. Thus, I knew I would now have to fully study those 30 pages and get meetings set for the first thing Monday with both sides of this issue.

I met with another advocate from the Fort Wayne area who was put in contact with me by Senator Travis Holdman. We spoke with his local legislators, Senator David Long and Representative Phyllis Pond, before he had to get back to work. I remained and worked the halls for awhile longer while catching up on my on-line work. I was thrilled to see that Jeff Berkovitz of the Domestic Relations Committee had sent an e-mail saying that the DRC meeting for Friday had been canceled because of a quorum issue. Although I had already assembled a 17 page presentation for the committee I was more than happy to take the day off.

I left the State House just in time to hit the afternoon rush and went to the nearest Revol store for a new phone. That encounter lasted a short time and I made my way to the location I usually use where I was quoted 1/3 the price for the same phone. So I upgraded for $20 by getting the 'on-line special' price which I couldn't do on-line and was told by their customer service that I could go to a store and get. It was a bit of a hassle but I also got a car charger thrown in at no charge. The gal that works there honoured the price I was told. She had played real football for Lebanon High School which we talked about that the first time I went in the store when I happened to be wearing my LHS coach's coat.

I managed to make it home for a 20 minute respite before going to Lebanon Middle School for a meeting about the 5% reduction in funding from the State. I spoke with administrators about what legislative efforts would be helpful in the future. As I would be seeing members of the Education Committee during the week anyway it shouldn't be any trouble to mention these concerns to some of them.

Friday started with a day off of awakening around 7:00. I listened to tunes and cleaned my room for two hours. Once completed there was visible floor space and I can actually lay in my sleeping space without being on clothes and paperwork. I exercised my chubby little body for two hours before heading to the office at 2:00. By 6:00 I was back home sleeping although that wasn't my intention. I was awakened by the second phone call which came around 7:30. I haven't adjusted my mind to awaken to the new ringtone yet.

I gathered my dinner and headed out to my little buddies place in the country for some relaxation. I brought three bags of clothing that another girl who is my height now had outgrown. I ate my dinner and then she and her mom went through the clothing. We all headed to bed rather early. Out of Sight with Clooney and Lopez was the evening movie that cast me into a slumber.

Saturday morning started with my usual pancake breakfast. This is no minor achievement either. I make a blend of four spices, honey and fruit in the mix that has to sit for awhile before cooking. I then had various fruit toppings to go on them. For Valentines Day they were heart shaped with blueberry filling since I forgot to bring the strawberries which I would have cut into naturally heart shaped slices.

I did some shopping that afternoon and in the evening did some running before starting my studying of Grandparent Visitation law. Sunday started with my usual stretching and workout except I didn't run because I wasn't near my treadmill. I prepared banana pancakes and then just relaxed for awhile. In the afternoon I headed home to play futsal at the Boys and Girls Club in Lebanon. Futsal is similar to indoor soccer but the walls are not used.

That completed this past week of my life as a lobbyist. I never expected going into this that I would need to be there everyday. I was under the impression that I would submit and idea, someone would write a bill, there would be a hearing I would need to attend that and then the legislators would vote.

The reality is that I may have to write the bill. I may need to find a Senator or Representative to introduce it. Then I have to start working on the members of the committee to get them to understand the purpose, intent and effect of the bill. Testifying at the hearing may be the easy part. If someone wants to amend the bill I may have to discuss that or help write it if asked. Hearing times can be changed with little notice. Members may go into caucus and want to discuss the bill before doing so. There are 150 legislators that may be voting on a bill. Personally speaking to each one of them is not a must but is very helpful. Personally thanking each one who voted in favour was much appreciated. This is not something that can be done on a part time basis.

I can't be in two places at once as I am sometimes needed but it is great to be getting some help. If you care to ever come experience this for a day please contact me.


Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates

©2010 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What it takes to get the laws changed

Each year the Indiana General Assembly is presented with about 1000 bills on average. Most of these will never get a hearing. I have previously written about the legislative process but not as much as what goes on behind the scenes to get a new law or to amend an old one.

What I am writing about today is for the reader who wants this change but isn't a professional lobbyist. Anyone can help bring about change to our laws. I want to convey to you a series of small steps that it takes rather than a single large undertaking.

The first and most important step is to learn who the decision makers are. Start first with your local legislators. Know who your senator and representative are. Read about them on their webpages. Get to know about them and what you have in common. To be more effective you want to develop a relationship with your legislators rather than be an anonymous name at the closing of an e-mail.

You may lament the idea of lobbyists but lobbyists play an important role in the legislative process and legislators are dependent upon their knowledge. Do not mistake this for lobbyists being the ones who decide what becomes law. Legislators do want to hear from their constituents.

As I started by saying, most bills won't get a hearing. Hearing a bill is determined by the next set of decision makers. These are the committee chairs who assign bills to be heard by their committee. Here is the list of committees. By clicking on the committee you can see who the chair is, who the members are and what legislation has been assigned to that committee.

During this session the chair of a committee said his next meeting would be the last for this session. A very important piece of legislation was not on the calendar for that final hearing. The author of the bill asked if I could attempt to get it scheduled. I went to the committee chair, whom I have a good relationship with, and explained the need for the bill, the lack of opposition and the brief amount of the committee's time it would take to hear. He then added it to the schedule. Without this intervention the bill may have died before it was ever considered. There is nothing to prevent you from explaining to a committee chair the need for a bill and asking that he or she set it for hearing.

Once a bill goes for final reading before the full chamber in which the bill originated a sponsor for the bill needs to be found for the other chamber. This is not something that a common constituent would generally be involved in but it does not mean that one cannot try. This year I was called upon to find a House sponsor for a bill as it was coming on for final reading in the Senate that day. Generally it is not as last minute as this. If you see a bill in the House that you know your Senator would support you could suggest that he or she consider contacting the House sponsor about being a sponsor for it in the Senate.

If your legislator has a community meeting attend that. Bring up the issues that concern you. Engage your legislators in a discussion about what their plans are to address the situation. Although I draft my own bills and present them to the appropriate legislators you need nothing more than an idea. The Legislative Services Agency has attorneys who take requests from legislators and write the bills.

Ultimately you must convince your representative or Senator to vote for the bill. Getting it heard in committee, passing committee and even passing the originating chamber with a sponsor for the other chamber still leaves the members of that chamber in control. A majority of them need to vote in favour before it goes to the governor. A letter to your legislator will be of great help at this point. Here are some tips on effective letter writing.

A letter to your legislators could be the first thing you do when learning of a bill you support. This could get the attention of a legislator who will do much of the remaining work on his or her own. If you have the opportunity to be near the State House it is a worthy investment to stop in for a personal meeting with your legislators. Simply put, nothing can replace the impact of a personal meeting.

Finally, if your legislator votes in favour of your particular bill be sure to thank him or her, in person if possible.


Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates

©2010 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Two successes in the Indiana Senate concerning paternity

SB0140 - Adoption matters
Provides that a man who is barred from establishing paternity under the adoption statutes is prohibited from establishing paternity by filing a paternity action as next friend of the child or requesting a prosecuting attorney to file a paternity action. Prohibits a person who has executed a written consent to the adoption of a child by a certain person from executing a second or subsequent written consent to the adoption of the child by another person, unless certain conditions apply. Removes provision that allows a father who receives a notice of adoption after the birth of the child to contest the adoption by filing a paternity action. Removes provision under which the consent of a putative father to the adoption of a child is irrevocably implied if the putative father, after receiving a notice of adoption after the birth of the child, fails to file a paternity action. Provides that the putative father registry provisions do not apply if, on or before the date the child's mother executes a consent to the child's adoption, the child's mother discloses the name and address of the putative father to the attorney or agency that is arranging the child's adoption. Provides that a putative father's motion to contest an adoption must be filed in the court in which the adoption is pending. Prohibits a court from granting an adoption if a petitioner for adoption has been convicted of an attempt to commit certain felonies. Authorizes a child placing agency and an attorney to advertise certain adoption information only if licensed under Indiana law. Provides that the crime of unauthorized adoption facilitation does not apply to child placing agencies licensed under Indiana law or attorneys licensed to practice law in Indiana.(Current law provides that the crime of unauthorized adoption facilitation does not apply to child placing agencies licensed under any state's law or attorneys licensed to practice law in any state.)
This bill was introduced by Senator Zakas at the request of Indianapolis adoption attorney Steve Kirsh. After discussion with Mr Kirsh, who wrote this bill, we decided to withdraw our efforts to pass SB0070 and instead support SB0140. We were formerly under the misconception that this bill would remove a protection for a putative father seeking to object to a petition for adoption of his child. This bill eliminates confusion in the statutes which the Indiana Supreme Court suggested the General Assembly address. This bill provides that a putative father seeking to object to a petition for adoption of his child only needs to file an objection with the adoption court. This bill also adds more improvements to the adoption laws. Senator Boots, the sponsor of SB0070, added his support to this bill as a sponsor. We appreciate the efforts of Senator Zakas in advocating for this needed improvement to Indiana's adoption laws and Senator Boots for his efforts to remedy the problem with the statutes.

I am pleased to say that this bill passed by a vote of 49-1. I spoke with Representative Linda Lawson after this bill passed out of committee with a unanimous vote and asked her to consider sponsoring it. She is the sponsor for this bill in the House. Representatives VanDenburgh and Foley are co-sponsors. I am also seeking to have some others add their support.
SB0178 - Custody and parenting time matters
Provides that if a paternity affidavit is executed, the mother and the man who is identified as the father share joint legal custody of the child, the mother has primary physical custody of the child, and the man who is identified as the father has parenting time in accordance with the parenting time guidelines unless another determination is made by a court.(Current law provides that a mother has sole custody unless another custody determination is made by a court.) Provides that a noncustodial parent is entitled to reasonable parenting time rights unless a court finds by clear and convincing evidence that parenting time might endanger the child's physical health or significantly impair the child's emotional development. (This changes the standard of proof under the current law.)
This bill was amended upon second reading on 01 February 2010. The most significant change was the language requiring "clear and convincing evidence" of possible child endangerment before parenting time could be restricted was removed. The amendment provides that the parents may now select joint legal custody through a check-off box with additional signatures on the paternity affidavit.

This was our major project for the year. We started pushing for this legislation during the interim session when the Indiana Child Custody and Support Advisory Committee met. We continued working on this bill as it made it's way through the Civil and Criminal Committee chaired by Senator Steele who authored the bill. We lobbied heavily in favour of this bill and asked that all Senators support it. We personally met with nearly half of the Senators to answer any questions and receive feedback. Senator Steele has put significant effort into this bill. We also appreciate the contributions of Senator Lanane, Taylor and the many others who provided feedback.  Senators Mishler, Taylor and Lanane added their support as sponsors of this bill. Additional information may be found here. I am pleased to say that this bill passed by a vote of 49-1.

Representative Shelli VanDenburgh is the current House sponsor for this bill. Her legislative aide is working on setting a time that Robert Monday and I may meet with her. Representative Koch is a co-sponsor. I have also met with other Representatives today to ask that they look at the bill and consider being co-sponsors. Just as I did with the Senate I will also be contacting each Representative to answer any questions or receive any feedback.

Please contact your Representative and ask that he or she support SB0140 and SB078 because both are child-friendly legislation. I am confident that both of these bills will then soon become law. The finishing touch will be when Mitch Daniels signs them.


Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates

©2010 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

And you wonder why some people think women are only after support money

This case certainly supports the stereotype.

Cheryl Kay TERPSTRA, Appellant-Petitioner,
Dale TERPSTRA, Appellee-Defendant.
No. 45A04-9107-CV-244.

"Cheryl Kay Terpstra (Mother) appeals from a judgment for Dale Terpstra (Father), modifying a child support order following their marriage dissolution.
We affirm."

Next time you hear a father complaining about having to pay too much child support and that the children's mother is nothing but a greedy $%#@& it probably won't be Dale Terpstra saying it.

"Mother contends insufficient evidence exists to support the finding Father would have the children 50% of the time. She posits while the modified custody agreement provides Father will have the children 50% of the time, he will actually have the children only 28% of the available overnight time."

The ICSG provide the number of overnights as a presumptive basis of the costs associated with providing support for the children. However, courts are not bound by strict adherence to the Guidelines. "Trial courts must avoid the pitfall of blind adherence to the computation for support without giving careful consideration to the variables which require a flexible application of the guidelines." Talarico v. Smithson (1991), Ind. App., 579 N.E.2d 671, 673." Essentially the mother has the children 72% of overnights but only 50% of the total time. Her arguement that it costs her more to provide sleeping accommodations than other support is without merit and was unpersuasive to the court, rightfully so.

"The modification order stipulated the parties have joint legal and physical custody of their three minor children. Father testified the children would be with him approximately 50% of the time. He presented a calendar which highlighted all the days he would have custody of the children. By Father's calculations, he would have custody of the children over 50% of the days available. He argues during this time food, household goods, clothing, transportation, health care, and recreational expenses will be purchased and consumed."

"In the agreed modification, the trial court stated '[s]ince father has the minor children approximately 50% of the time, the court finds that a deviation from the guidelines is appropriate....' "

Interestingly this was an agreed modification. I guess she started reading the Guidelines in only the manner most favourable to her and then decided to appeal. By the time they reached the end of this appeal it appears the justices may have been a bit annoyed with the complete frivolousness of it which was not based upon any standing in law.

It is important to note in the following paragraph that she has not contributed to the support of the children as agreed.

"Mother's argument ignores the totality of the circumstances in this case. The record reveals because during their marriage Mother and Father agreed to send their children to a Christian school, the original dissolution decree required Mother to pay a portion of that cost. She has never done so. Father paid all tuition and fees to send the oldest child to school and the second oldest to preschool. Father also paid health insurance premiums for the children as well as money directly to the children's dentist and pediatrician. Additionally, Father is responsible for all transportation for the children between the parties' households. He seeks no child support contribution from Mother while the children are with him under the modified order despite increased household expenses."

"Absent an abuse of discretion, we cannot substitute our judgment for that of the trial court. [W]e cannot say the trial court's award is clearly against the logic and effect of the total facts and circumstances before it. The trial court did not abuse its discretion."
CONOVER - CHEZEM and BAKER, JJ., concur.

Mother also had some other arguments that fell flat on their face. Here is one of those.

"Mother contends the trial court erred when it failed to account for Father's imputed income relating to the automobile provided him through his insurance business.

Father testified he has two vehicles, a business vehicle and a personal vehicle. He runs approximately $250 worth of business expenses for the car used for business through his subchapter S corporation."

I am surprised she didn't argue that the office space he leases for his business could actually be used as living accommodations and ask that this duplicated expenses also be imputed as income. The vehicle was not provided to him as an employment benefit to be used in place of him having and maintaining his own vehicle. The court correctly did not count this as a personal benefit and impute it as income.

Cheryl Kay Terpstra is certainly a loser of a parent who makes even the most caring and supporting mothers look like nothing but greedy baby-makers who see fathers as an ATM. Hopefully her character, dominated by laziness and greed, did not have a significant influence on the children.

All parents should be mindful that the purpose of the Indiana Child Support Guidelines is to provide for the support of the children by BOTH parents. There are times when it will be appropriate to raise or lower a child support payment order which may result in a hardship for either or both parents.

Child support payments are not to be a windfall for the receiving parent nor are they to be punitive towards the paying parent. There are remedies within the judicial system to accommodate parents who feel that the children are not being supported. Proper pleading should be used to address these concerns.

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Make a suggestion for me to write about.

Parents who would like to achieve the best outcome for their children in a contested child custody case should visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me. Attorneys may request a free consultation to learn how I can maximize their advocacy for their clients.

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©2008, 2010 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Why I oppose "term limits"

Be it through lack on insight and intelligence or simply the reactionary nature of people the masses often seek a solution retrospectively rather than prospectively. That is, most people choose to face a problem after it has happened rather than take the effort to prevent the problem. Think of the people who change their lifestyle after having a heart attack.

This is not unlike politics and law. Every misapplication of a law or all the interpretations provided by higher courts can be predicted and avoided through proper wording of the law. What usually happens though is that those who craft the laws seek only to have the language accomplish their goal. Such is our child solicitation law that makes it a felony for any parent to advise his or her child under the age of 16 to wait and have sex after marriage. Sure it accomplished the admirable and intended goal of making it illegal for a person to ask a child to have sex with him or her at some time in the future, when the child is of age to consent, but it went too far. The law applies to everyone not just those seeking sexual satisfaction from a child.

So where is the link to term limits? Legislators, like judges, are not experts in every area of the law. I write child custody laws because that is my area of expertise. I advise legislators on the application, effect and possible unintended consequences of language in child custody bills. I am aware of how the Indiana Court of Appeals of Supreme Court has opined on the statutes. Some of the statutes I know verbatim. This is the area of law in which I specialize and it didn't happen quickly.

Recently, I spent nearly an hour on a teleconference with legislators and a staff attorney taking questions and advising them about the language to be used in a child custody bill. This included a Senator who authored the bill and another who had some concerns about the language. I have had numerous meetings with both senators in the past. Yet still, it took detailed explanations to get the exact language we needed.

Sometimes it takes nearly a full term to bring a legislator from the position of not considering supporting a bill to the point of wanting to sign on as a co-sponsor. The Indiana General Assembly has 150 members. In addition there are the auxiliary figures who play an influential role in drafting legislation and building support. I do not have the time to meet with and explain the long and detailed history of child custody law to each of them every few years.

To make the wisest or best decisions legislators need to be fully informed and aware of the consequences of the legislation they are asked to vote on. It would not be practical or logical to remove those legislators who I have spent years educating or others who have gained the necessary knowledge and experience in a particular area and who are now best positioned to make those decisions from the process.

I see term limits as another knee-jerk reaction to the uninformed, unintelligent and lazy electorate who fails to meet their obligation to elect the best qualified candidates and instead insist on remaining uninformed, unintelligent and lazy.

Term limits are already in place. It is called an election. Get informed and use it.


Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates

©2010 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.