Massachusetts Legislature Votes to Ban Pet-rentals, but Fails to Act on Shared Parenting
Boston, MA--A shared parenting bill, supported by Fathers & Families and more than 40 legislators, has been stuck in committee for months. Within a few days, the legislative session will be over and this bill will wait to be filed again this fall. This is no surprise. Over the past couple weeks, members of Fathers & Families and other advocates for kids, shared parenting and fathers have been attending Governor Deval Patrick"s series of "Town Meetings' across the state, asking the Governor to do more to get the bill "unstuck' in the Legislature. The Governor has--when pressed at these meetings and other forums--stated his support "in principle' for a legal presumption of shared parenting. But he has remained completely passive, putting the onus on the legislature. We also note that each of these "Town Meetings' has typically been attended by at least five local legislators. Surely they are not deaf. What caught our attention this week is what the state legislature did see fit to act on in their waning days: The House passed bills that would ban pet-rental companies, and protect women who breast-feed in public. Let"s be perfectly clear: we"re not against pets. Our kids love them. And, the medical evidence on the benefits of breast-feeding is clear. But surely, isn"t the right of kids to both parents as important - dare we say more important - given the societal impact? In the case of the pet-rental bill, it was filed largely in response to one company - "Flex Petz' that has yet to open a Massachusetts branch. According to the bill"s sponsor, "It"s a kind of business model that fosters disposable pets.' What kind of civics lesson is this for kids? Disposable pets are a no-no. How about "disposable dads'?