'Steven Watkins' HB 1604 DISSOLUTION-VISITATION ABUSE
This Bill needs to be STOPPED immediately, before it goes any further.
If anyone is willing, I suggest that "WE" organize the group and request a "HEARING" by May 23rd or at the lastest, the 1st week of June (before they go out on recess June 30, 2011) with the main sponsors of this Bill.
I have a very good relationship with serveral of the Bill Sponsors and would NOT have a problem getting them to set up a hearing for us, and/or allow us to testify during the House Judiciary-Civil Law Committee Hearings in Springfield.
Also, I can solicit the help of those who oppose this Bill (SOS Office contact), the ICADV and some other groups for help to expose this attack on Parents that are already under severe assualt by the "Family Courts."
They need to hear from our side at the level that counts.....the people who make up these damaging laws, without the proper information.
I will be free next week after........Monday, May 9, 2011 to work on this, if this is something the group would like to do. Let me know asap!
Steven Watkins' Bill passed by Illinois House Committee
THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER
By ANDY BROWNFIELD
Posted Mar 02, 2011 @ 11:00 PM
Last update Mar 03, 2011 @ 06:00 AM
The “Steven Watkins Bill,” which would toughen the penalties for divorced parents, who violate visitation agreements, passed an Illinois House Committee on Wednesday.
House Bill 1604 would allow judges to jail scofflaw parents, increase fines against them and revoke their professional and drivers’ licenses.
It stems from the murder of Steven Watkins, who was slain when he went to pick up his daughter, Sidney for a court-ordered visit in Ashland.
Shirley Skinner, the grandmother of Jennifer Watkins, was convicted of killing Steven Watkins.
Watkins’ estranged wife, Jennifer, has since resisted efforts, including a court order, to allow Sidney to visit Steven Watkins’ parents.
A warrant was issued Tuesday for Jennifer Watkins’ arrest, although her whereabouts is unknown.
Proponents of the bill, including Steven Watkins’ mother Penny, said the measure is necessary to ensure noncustodial parents are granted their court-ordered visitation rights.
“He (Steven) had several times ran up against opposition from the mother of the child,” Penny Watkins testified before the House Judiciary-Civil Law Committee.
“She (Sidney) was sick, she didn’t feel good, she had wet her pants – several different excuses. Steven would go to the local police. … (They said), ‘We’ll go with you, but if the mother refuses to give you the child, that’s all we can do.’”
Supporters said the measure would bring visitation interference penalties in line with those for child support violations.
A spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office opposed enforcing visitation orders by revoking drivers’ licenses.
The bill “would set a precedent to expanding our office to becoming an arm of the court to enforce any type of civil ruling.” said Nathan Maddox, inspector general with the Secretary of State.
Jim Covington, representing the Illinois State Bar Association, agreed.
“Visitation abuse is already a crime under our statutes,” Covington said.
Another group opposes the bill for a different reason.
“What happens more often than not is that battered women in particular get charged with and accused of visitation abuse when they’re really trying to protect their child,” said Vickie Smith, executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“We fully understand all of the dynamics in the Watkins case …, but we don’t think criminalizing visitation is the answer.”
Andy Brownfield can be reached at (217)-782-3095.
Seems that Ms. Smith would have us believe these cases are about protecting children from abusive parents. Now that is interesting, seeing as we are talking about cases that have already been adjudicated. In other words, we are talking about protecting the rights of the non-custodial parent after the divorce case has been heard. After the time for claims of spousal or child abuse to have been made. If the non-custodial parent was an abuser, it would have been brought up at trial and the abusive parent would have more than likely either been denied custody, visitation, or the visitation would have been ordered as supervised. The claim that this bill would protect abusive parents is ludicrous.
This bill would, if passed into law, make it a crime to knowingly interfere with the rights of a non-custodial parent to see his or her children.
The last time I looked, it takes very little for a Driver's License to be suspended. And unless the police are specifically targeting the individual, it is easy to drive on a suspended license. Just obey the law and don't give the officers a reason to stop you, and you can drive a car without a license. (I am not suggesting anyone do that, I am just pointing out that most police officers have much better things to do with their time than stop cars for no reason to check for a suspended license or lapsed insurance.)
We all know that most marriage dissolution's are not amicable. People get married for passion, and are usually divorced in the same manner. There are many cases where the custodial parent (usually, but not always, the mother) is so incensed and vengeful that the non-custodial parent is vilified to their child, and is prevented from seeing the parent. The child is fed a line of bull, told the non-custodial parent does not want or love them, and grows up with feelings of abandonment and resentment and self-loathing that will stunt their emotional and psychological growth. Grandmothers and Grandfathers, Aunts and Uncles, almost everyone runs to the cause, since the child is their blood. Basically, this becomes a "Hatfields and McCoys" syndrome that will often result in violence of some sort being perpetrated against one of the exes or the child.
The Steven Watkins bill does not seek to protect abusive parents or spouses. What it is about is protecting the rights of a non-custodial parent to continue to parent their child.