May 21, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The legislative session in Missouri is over and this year, unlike last year, the National Parents Organization was unable to pass its shared parenting bill, HB 1667. That wasn’t because HB 1667 wasn’t popular with legislators, it was. Indeed, it passed both its House committee and the House of Representatives itself. It was then approved by the Senate Committee on Seniors, Families and Children. And we were reliably told that it had majority backing of the full Senate.
But it never reached the Senate floor. Why? Because in the final days of the session, a lone senator, Jill Schupp, threatened to filibuster until HB 1667 couldn’t be voted on. That’s right, against a majority of House members and a majority of Senate members, Jill Schupp decided to play the role of governor and veto the bill.
Of course she did nothing illegal. The rules of the Missouri Senate allow her to do what she did. The rules of ethics, good sense and sound policy required her to do otherwise, but apparently Senator Schupp isn’t motivated that way. After all, as our point person in the Show Me State pointed out, large majorities of Americans have repeatedly said they favor equal parenting following divorce. And shared parenting has been demonstrated time and again to be the best arrangement for children when their parents split up.
Apparently most of the members of the Missouri House and Senate grasp those two concepts. But it only takes one senator to substitute her version of good policy for that of all those other elected officials.
And that’s just what she did.
NPO’s Linda Reutzel tells me that Schupp represents a wealthy district and is tight with the domestic violence lobby. Reutzel contacted Schupp’s office and was told by an aid that the senator “doesn’t agree with the concept” of shared parenting. She also refused repeated efforts by Reutzel to meet with her to hear NPO’s point of view on HB 1667.
I don’t know if Senator Schupp realizes it or not, but the National Parents Organization isn’t going away. We’ll be back next year with another shared parenting bill that will again be favored by majorities in both houses of the Legislature. Will Senator Schupp change her ways and do what’s best for the children and parents of her state? Or will she again substitute her understanding of the facts of child well-being for those of hundreds of experts worldwide and the majority of people generally?
For that matter, will she still be a senator?
Wherever she is, I know where NPO will be. We’ll be right back there walking the halls of the capitol rounding up votes for children’s welfare and parents’ rights.