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We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Section 1: Congress
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Section 2: Th
e House of Representatives
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers;and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Section 3: The Senate
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.
No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Section 4: Elections
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
Section 5:Powers and Duties of Congress
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members,and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
Section 6: Rights and Disabilities of Members
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
Section 7:Legislative Process
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law.
But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
Section 8:Powers of Congress
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings;-And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Section 9: Powers Denied Congress
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
Powers Denied to the States
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.
He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. Th
e President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.
The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;–between a State and Citizens of another State;–between Citizens of different States;–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment; shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.
The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; — The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; — The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice
And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.– The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.
The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.
Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.
The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct:
A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.
Grace Reader, 21 hrs ago
Read original article here.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the pandemic continues to drag on, a former case worker says the already widely publicized foster care crisis in Texas is only getting worse.
“We have so many children in care, it might be due to the pandemic, there’s a lot of stress on families,” Mayra Butler, a former case worker in District 7, which houses Austin, said. Butler is now the chief executive officer for Homes in Harmony . “We have seen a rise in which there’s more drug usage on the biological parents.”
In July, national officials announced that overdose deaths went up in 2020 by roughly 30%. A record 93,000 people died of an overdose in the United States last year.
Butler also says they’ve seen a spike of kids coming into the foster care system as schools have reopened over the past couple of months.
In the state of Texas, as is the case in almost all states, teachers and school employees are considered mandatory reporters, which means they are legally required to report suspicions of abuse and neglect . They can be charged for not doing so.
“Now that the children are coming back and reporting to teachers of things that might have happened to them of abuse, neglect…so now they’re starting to share with teachers and so that’s where the rise comes in and there’s an overload of children in the DFPS offices,” Butler said.
Even though DFPS says the total number of reports of abuse or neglect have not been significantly higher this year than they have previously around this time, there has been a shift in who is making those reports.
In 2018, more than 66,100 reports of neglect or abuse were made by schools in Texas , that was followed by more than 56,600 made by law enforcement. The numbers were similar in 2019.
In 2020, though, reports made by law enforcement outpaced reports made by schools. There were roughly 20,000 less reports made statewide by school officials.
Foster care failures in Texas, the latest
According to a report released last month by a group of independent court monitors overseeing a federal lawsuit against the state, 501 children spent at least one night in an unlicensed placement in the first half of this year alone.
Some children spent more than 100 consecutive nights without a “proper” placement. The report found that 86% of these children were teenagers, and many of them require intense or specialized care, due to serious mental health needs or past trauma, that they likely weren’t receiving.
The report also noted Texas has lost more than 1,600 foster beds since January 2020. DFPS officials have continually pointed to this loss of foster beds and treatment center closures as their reason for lacking placements for high-needs children.
“There is a dire need for a lot of foster homes, all over the state of Texas,” Butler said.
‘We do need our community to be more involved’
Seeing the desperate need for foster families in Texas, Butler, and a foster family that Butler knows from case work, opened their own foster and adoption agency out of Laredo. It also serves District 7, which houses Austin. They were officially contracted with the state in April of this year.
What they really need right now, Butler says, is for people to step up and open their homes to these kids.
“There is a great need. We do have constant emergency placements needed and children that are waiting in the office to be placed, especially teenagers,” Butler said.‘
“If you can provide a home that is safe, if you can provide love that is genuine, and just want to help a child in need, you’re highly qualified,” Butler said.
You can find the foster parent application for Homes in Harmony here .
Did you know?
For every 1000 children born in the United States, 7 of them will suffer some kind of birth injury?
A birth injury, occurs during the birth of a child, or just after birth, and many times is the result of a medical mistake that is made.
To clarify, a birth injury is different than a birth defect.
A birth defect is an abnormality that forms in utero during the development of a fetus while still in the womb and is not the result of a medical mistake.
A birth injury can often be prevented. When it’s not, someone is, or should be, held accountable.
Cerebral Palsy is caused by damage to the brain, and often times as the result of birth injuries.
Birth injuries are, in many instances, are caused by mistakes that can amount to medical malpractice. Those mistakes that are found to be preventable, should be compensated for.
The damages can have a lasting impact on the child’s life.
The costs are enormous. The emotional toll on the parents and caregivers should not be a burden carried alone. There are places offering support and resources available to those who need it.
There are other families who understand what is happening to your child because they have a child It is happening to as well.
The Cerebral Palsy Guide is a wonderful resource available.
You are not alone.
Do you think a mistake was made when your child was born?
Click here to be connected to many resources available for families like yours.
You will find everything from educational materials, financial assistance, legal resources as well as support from others who have also been affected by Cerebral Palsy.
When the time is right and you do reach out, tell them your friends at It’s Almost Tuesday sent you and they will lead you in the right direction.
There is hope and healing. You and your child deserve it. After all, hope is necessary, and help is available.
I remember exactly what I was doing on 9/11.
I remember exactly what I was doing on 9/11.
Do you remember where you were that fateful day?
It’s very surreal to remember.
My son is in his mid 20s now; but at the time, he was a very normal little boy, 6 years old, in the 1st grade. He was enrolled at a private school in Clearwater, Florida.
We were living the all American life of 5 day workweeks, football Sundays, men on the bbq, kids playing in the neighborhood, women drinking wine and making family memories.
I remember, life was good. Very good.
At the time, my husband was a network engineer with a very good full time Job, and I worked part time as a paralegal in a solo attorney’s office. Although I only had one boss, we worked in a shared building, so I had a few coworkers, about ten people total, 3 of which were attorneys.
I only worked part time so I could afford to pay for my son’s school and I could still have the afternoons off to pick him up and help him do his homework. I wanted to be a hands-on Mom. I have always been a believer in stay at home moms and family dinners. Family dinners were always important to me.
I remember how I believed in the system. I remember how I thought cases were judged on merit, the system was just and it worked and I believed everything I read and saw on TV without question.
I had not yet been tainted by the hard reality of the system and it’s flaws and corruption. I was not yet cynical. I was the definition of sheeple.
I arrived at work each day at about 830am and left about 2:30pm. September 11, 2001 was no different. Until it was.
I remember, just before 9am, my husband called me and said “did you hear the news?”
I was confused.
“What news?” I asked.
“A plane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. Turn on the radio, it’s all they’re talking about.”
“ok I will” and with that, we hung up. I was curious but not really alarmed. After all, planes crash, it happens. Of course this was after only the first plane hit, not both.
I got up from my desk in my office that was painted dark green, positioned first down a short hallway, tucked back between the front lobby and the lunch room.
I remember walking up front to the receptionists desk where I found about half of my coworkers huddled around a static-sounding old clock radio. I remember the looks of disbelief on their faces.
“I just heard about a plane crash…?” I began to say..
They shushed me, quickly and obviously telling me to be quiet and listen.
Sure enough I heard it, the plane had hit the first tower. How awful, I remember thinking. About that time two of the attorneys we worked for pulled into the parking lot, so we scattered.
Still, only one plane had hit at that point.
I remember that I did notice my boss took a little extra time leaving his vehicle to come inside. I had begun my days’ work, at that point it was still business as usual.
I worked for an elderly man from Israel. He was a devoutly Jewish man, who was a brilliant Harvard trained attorney. Our area of practice was mostly personal injury with some civil trial litigation and family law. He was in his early 80s at the time and a very kind man, with allot of wisdom to share. I was his only employee besides the shared receptionist. She also worked for a real estate title attorney housed in the same building.
I was in my 20’s, young and just married, raising my young son.
I worked there for 8 years and I was dutiful and loyal. All fuss aside that morning, I had work to do, and the morning must continue despite the external excitements on the news.
Still, when my boss walked in I exclaimed, “did you hear about New York? A plane crashed. ?”
He said very calmly, Yes, but it was two planes….We are under attack.”
I remember thinking ‘what does he mean by that? Who’s under attack?’ I didn’t have a radio at my desk and this was before smart phones.
The static sounding radio was inaudible all the way from the front to my desk, so it wasn’t until lunchtime that I knew more about what happened that morning.
I remember the last two hours of my workday were painfully slow. I only knew a piece of what had happened, and I couldn’t stop thinking about what my boss had said.
“America is under attack..? By who? & How,?”
The fearful anticipation of getting to a radio was chewing at me. I was scared from not knowing what was going on and having allot of friends who are from New York.
That afternoon I picked up my son and we stopped at a bar and grill near my house to see my best friend who worked there. She was from Albany. New York.
When I walked in the restaurant, every TV was tuned in to the news and everyone in the place was watching. Some seemed to be in shock. Tears rolled down many faces. No jukebox was playing, No laughter or the cracking of balls on the billiards table like normal afternoons.
I remember how silent everyone was that day- all the patrons staring at the TV and the repeating voices of the news anchors talking about the first and second plane hitting the two towers, and a third plane hitting the Pentagon and the towers falling and people jumping to their deaths to keep from burning alive. I remember the fourth plane that the passengers took down in a martyrdom act of selfless bravery.
I remember when I saw the images of horror for the first time. Images of the towers collapsing, the Pentagon with a large hole blown in it and smoke smoldering from the fires that incinerated the plane that crashed into it and the debris field of the crash by Camp David where the passengers thwarted that flight from going to DC. The pictures of the hijacker’s and Osama Bin Laden… The most wanted man who was responsible for planning the attack.
I, too, began to cry, and watched intently.
Over the next few days and weeks that was all I could think about. That was all that anyone talked about. It became a war on terror. We were out for justice and revenge and hunting Bin Laden and Al Queda, the terrorist group that carried out the attacks.
CNN was always on my TV at home.
I bought an American flag for my house and hung it over my garage. I had a bumper sticker with a flag on it for my car. A flag for my car window. I was supporting the troops. I was supporting our President.
I wanted to share in the voice of the patriotic support for my country and honor the first responders and New York Police and Firemen who ran to their death trying to save people on September 11th.
I didn’t know about building 7 yet.
I didn’t consider that there existed political powers that could be using the attack to further their own agendas.
I thought Clinton was a good President who balanced the budget. I didn’t care if he had an affair, because so long as the budget was balanced, and the state of the union was strong, he was doing a good job.
I didn’t particularly care for President Bush, but I didn’t need to like him. After all, I was young and didn’t follow politics that much. I didn’t think I needed to. My life was going great.
I believed we were in good hands as us citizens. The government cared about us, right? We were, after all, a country built on integrity and freedom, right? Home of the brave? A democracy, not tyranny. Not here in the United States, right?
At the time there was no swamp to drain. Yet.
I knew nothing about the evils of the world. The mass surveillance, NSA or the New World Order. I had no idea there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the attack.
I didn’t really care at the time about Afghanistan. I never had supported the idea of war before that, but after 9/11, that changed. I was scared and angry, but even moreso I was proud to be an American.
I was fully in support of the u.s. troops who would hunt down and find Bin Laden and make him pay for the September 11th attacks. Who wouldn’t be?
20 years later I can’t believe how much my views have changed.
The harsh reality of life since then has regrettably changed everything i remembered of that day. … Of that time. Everything I knew about life. … was a lie.
I watched ‘Turning Point: 9/11 And The War On Terror’ , be the new documentary series on Netflix. Although I suspect much of it is probably tailored more towards the mainstream narrative, being Netflix and all. Though it was still very enlightening to see how that Biden has recently pulled troops from Afghanistan and the takeover by the Taliban has begun.
Now I see more of what’s probably happening, or what did happen, and, well, maybe what could happen…I think…and all I can think now is I wish I only knew life in the things as I remember them. Through the naive eyes of a time of innocence. As a young American girl with hopes for her future and her family’s future. Haplessly working for the weekend and partying when the Tampa Bay Bucs made it to the Superbowl.
I remember a time before all the big tech owned and controlled everything and the spying eyes of the internet and the shadow government were not okay but unstoppable so nobody tried. I remember a time before the political agendas became so ridiculously far to the left and to the right. Basically, far from anything true or on our side, or even reasonable. Before the three ring circus it is today. I remember when journalism required a college degree not just a smartphone and opinions.
A time when kids were kids and parents didn’t have to worry about masks and pandemics and vaccinations and more, I remember believing in things, in life. In lies.
Before the Patriot Act took our freedoms quietly out from under our noses without us even noticing, I remember the feeling of feeling safe. Of feeling content and looking forward to Friday, dreading Monday.
I remember being proud to be an American on that day September 11,2001, that day that changed me, it changed everything.
What do you remember? Please show your support by sharing this and other posts on it’s Almost Tuesday with your friends and family. Join our mailing list and leave your comments below. Where were you on September 11th? Tell us you story.< /p>
Read original article here about the decision to limit or stop an unvaccinated mother’s access to her child.
Watch the news report video here.
It’s Almost Tuesday is concerned about this news story for a couple reasons. First of all it’s extremely unnerving to see the issues of vaccines for the coronavirus entering into the family law court system. Since the pandemic began, lockdowns and job losses have triggered a frenzy for a fast solution to a huge problem. ie vaccines.
However, despite what the media will tell you, as of today, the 1st of September, 2021, no vaccine for COVID-19 has been FDA approved except for emergency authorization use. As such, no government agency or official can mandate the vaccine for any reason.
So to read that a parent’s rights have been altered, suspended, or in any way terminated, solely because of the vaccination status of the parent, is illegal, unconstitutional, and an overreach and abuse of power. The decision to reverse that unconstitutional order by the judge is proper and is the only thing right about this story.
Still, we wonder if the order would have been reversed if the mother had not reached out to the media?
We also wonder if this was done to gauge the public’s reaction? Is this something we will see happen as more vaccination mandates are rolled out?
August 30, 2021 02:59 PM
“I think that it’s wrong,”
Rebecca Firlit, who had not been able to see her 11-year-old son in person since Aug. 10, previously said of the decision
A Chicago mother who hoped to regain shared custody of her 11-year-old son following a judge’s recent ruling has been successful.
During an Aug. 10 child support hearing with her ex-husband, “one of the first things” the judge asked Rebecca Firlit about was her vaccination status, the mother told told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Firlit, who was surprised by the question, told the outlet that she’s “had adverse reactions to vaccines in the past and was advised not to get vaccinated by my doctor.”
Her ex-husband, from whom she has been divorced for seven years, has been vaccinated.
Afterwards, she recalled asking the judge how the question related to the hearing, which was supposed to be “about expenses and child support” and said she was told, “I am the judge, and I make the decisions for your case.”
The judge then ruled that until Firlit got vaccinated, she would not be allowed to see her son — a decision that appeared to be the first time a parent has been denied custody for not being vaccinated, according to The Washington Post.
A court spokesperson says they cannot comment on pending or impending cases, but according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, the judge on Monday vacated his original order “based on the absence of a pleading or hearing on serious endangerment.”
“I miss my son more than anything. It’s been very difficult,” the Chicago mother, who had appealed the initial decision, previously said in an interview with FOX 32 News.
“It had nothing to do with what we were talking about,” she added of the ruling. “[The judge] was placing his views on me. And taking my son away from me.”
Her attorney also argued that the judge’s decision exceeded “his jurisdiction,” per the Fox station.
An attorney representing the Chicago woman’s ex-husband said that while they did not expect the question to be asked, they supported the initial ruling.
“There are children who have died because of COVID,” Jeffery M. Leving told Fox 32 News. “I think every child should be safe. And I agree that the mother should be vaccinated.”
Although being apart from her son is difficult, Firlit hopes to be reunited with him soon.
“I feel like this will resonate with people because this is how things will go if we don’t speak up. Dividing families, taking children from their parents, we have to speak out to make sure this is not the new thing,” she told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Unfortunately, I had to be the first person that this happened to, but parents aren’t going to stand for that.”
I am going to divert off the usual from topic of it’s Almost Tuesday for a moment because I would like to share a love story that will amaze you, and make you all a true believer in fate.
It was 2005, and almost a year after losing my son, I had returned to Florida, fighting jurisdiction of the Texas courts, and began settling into a new place. I had a review coming up with Texas Dept of Family & Protective Services for an administrative review, in and ask I boarded a greyhound bus with my files packed in my bag, to go back to Texas and meet with the caseworker face to face.
It was one of my last chances to overturn the decision to take my rights from my son, so this trip was super important to me.
I left Clearwater Florida on my way back to Dallas TX, and in Mississippi, I met a guy at the vending machines during a stop. He was traveling from Florida as well, going to fort worth. We began to talk and sat with each other the rest of the way. We got along very well, and even had a few umm spicy moments …
He remembers my knee high socks and remembers me pointing to a billboard in east Texas out of the window and saying “that’s my brother”(a very successful attorney in Longview Texas, he has billboards up everywhere).
He remembers thinking I was nuts when I said that was my brother.
When I got off the bus I never looked back. I got his number but never called. I didn’t even remember his name. So how do I know what he remembers about me?
Well in 2014 I was lost, driving in Halton City TX,a suburb of fort worth, when I saw a guy on a bicycle, and thought he was very good looking so I offered him a ride. We have been together ever since, and in fact, we just got married in may of 2021.
It wasn’t until around 2019 that we were talking one night and began to share secrets. He started telling me about this girl he met on the greyhound bus once, and made out with her. I said no way you are stealing my story!!
It turns out that five years into my relationship we realized that 15 years before we had met and made out on the bus and left never looking back.
Can anyone calculate what the odds are that something like that would happen?
It goes even deeper.
My husband was in a boys home as a child. He was in the VERY SAME boys home as my Abuser/ex, and KNEW HIM as a child!!
What are the odds?
At age 50, I remarried and am deeply in love and KNOW that fate is real!!
Tell me your thoughts and stories… Has anyone else experienced something like that?
Godspeed to you all…
Aging out of foster care has to be one of the most difficult and scary times for foster teens. This is a time that sees many whose fear leads them to attempt or commit suicide before they age out.
I’m extremely happy to see an initiative to address those going through this delicate process. I’m interested in seeing how those who receive the help fare as time passes. Of course money is only one of many complex needs these teens face in their transition into becoming an adult.
Please comment with your thoughts.
Thank you and Godspeed.
Many thanks to ELIZABETH AMON for this article.
In a historic move to support young adults raised by the government, a monthly check of up to $1,000 — with no restrictions and no strings attached — will be sent to thousands of California foster youth once they leave the state’s custody, guaranteeing them the first statewide universal basic income.
California’s state Senate and Assembly unanimously passed the $35 million program on Thursday, which was then approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday.
Responding to the news in a text message, Vieyra, 25, celebrated the state leaders’ decision.
She said the benefit “has now become the one helping hand youths are in search of when feeling lost or alone after exiting the foster care system.”
Legislative analysts estimate that the taxpayer-funded program will serve between 2,400 to 2,500 young people like Vieyra who exit the foster care system each year.
“It’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have for these young people,” said Priya Mistry, the director of community initiatives at the San Jose-based nonprofit Pivotal, which supports foster youth with education and employment support. Mistry said the money will make a profound difference, allowing young people to “actually have a place to live, pay rent, bills, and money for a cell phone — which is critical.”
The amount former foster youth receive will be determined by local governments and organizations, but will likely be $1,000 a month, aiding these young adults who struggle far more than others their age with homelessness, educational delays and incarceration.
In May 2020, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved a universal basic income pilot plan, with no-strings-attached payments to help keep former foster youth’s lives stable in turbulent times.
The plan provided a lucky group of former foster youth, ages 21 to 24, with $1,000 monthly payments for up to a year. It was the first time the nascent idea of universal basic income has been granted specifically to foster youth.
“We’re already doing it, and it’s been successful so far,” said Sparky Harlan, the CEO of the Bill Wilson Center, which provides services to more than 5,000 children, youth, young adults and families in Santa Clara County.
The local government decision came in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, as unemployment rates in California approached a devastating 24%.
The Santa Clara County supervisor who spearheaded the effort, Dave Cortese, later became a state senator and this year, introduced Senate Bill 739, which was combined with the governor’s universal basic income proposal.
Gov. Newsom announced in May a statewide universal basic income program, building off of efforts in Stockton, Oakland, and other cities. These programs have been gaining momentum with plans previously announced in New Orleans, Louisiana; Los Angeles and Oakland, California; Tacoma, Washington; and Gainesville, Florida; according to the Associated Press.
Sen. Dave Cortese announcing the Santa Clara County foster youth UBI program. Photo courtesy of the office of Dave Cortese.
Under California’s state law, local governments and organizations will determine the size of the monthly payments, which can range from $500 to $1,000 per person each month. Pregnant people will also be prioritized for benefits, as well as other low-income Californians, according to the most recent state budget summary.
Former foster youth April Barcus told The Imprint in March that even before the pandemic wrecked low-income people’s finances, California’s housing costs kept many of her peers from building savings and a sense of security.
“Even if you work a minimum wage job full-time, it’s not enough,” Barcus said. “You’re always working, and you’re always behind.”
Barcus is among the thousands of young people emerging from foster care who will soon be able to rely on a steady income.
The law had bipartisan support and passed 36-0 in the Senate and 64-0 in the Assembly, according to the AP. However, Vince Fong, a Republican Assembly member from Bakersfield, told the news service that guaranteed income programs “undermine incentives to work and increase dependence on government.”
“We should be pushing policies that encourage the value of work,” said Fong, who abstained from Thursday’s vote. “Guaranteed income doesn’t provide the job training and skills needed for upward mobility.”
But many of these young people are working, and the money provides “a cushion, so they aren’t on the edge of homelessness,” director Harlan said. And given the added burdens of the pandemic, many people need that help to pay for car insurance or repairs, as well as upgrading technology so they can join Zoom meetings or participate in online learning.
The concept of a UBI payment for former foster youth recently received the strong endorsement of University of Chicago social work professor Mark Courtney, a leading researcher on young people aging out of the child welfare system. In a Feb. 5 opinion piece published by the nonprofit news outlet The Appeal, Courtney advocated for guaranteed direct cash assistance to help young adults “bridge the gap” from foster care to independence.
Courtney makes this case after spending decades surveying thousands of young adults across the country on the hardships they face after leaving the system.
“The government functions as their parent,” wrote Courtney and co-author Shanta Trivedi, a fellow at Georgetown University Law Center, “and then swiftly extinguishes financial support, depriving foster kids of the safety net that so many of their peers increasingly find necessary.”
Parents have a constitutional right to raise their children free from governmental interference.
Defendants also have rights under the condition, and now, Texas has passed laws reflecting those rights.
This is HUGE! If these laws had been enacted in 2004 when my son had been kidnapped, things might have been quite different for us.
Relating to the procedures and grounds for terminating the parent-child relationship, for taking possession of a child, and for certain hearings in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship involving the Department of Family and Protective Services.
Relating to the procedures and grounds for terminating the parent-child relationship, for taking possession of a child, and for certain hearings in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship involving the Department of Family and Protective Services.
Courts Courts–Civil Procedure Family FAMILY & PROTECTIVE SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF Family–Child Protection Family–Parent & Child
James Frank (R)*, Bryan Hughes (R)*, Candy Noble (R)*, Gene Wu (D)*, Keith Bell (R), Greg Bonnen (R), Briscoe Cain (R), Jeff Cason (R), Harold Dutton (D), Ryan Guillen (D), Bob Hall (R), Juan Hinojosa (D), Eddie Lucio (D), Mayes Middleton (R), Ina Minjarez (D), Scott Sanford (R), Valoree Swanson (R), Steve Toth (R), Cody Vasut (R), Royce West (D), James White (R), Erin Zwiener (D),
Effective on 9/1/21 (on 05/15/2021)
H.B. No. 567
AN ACT relating to the procedures and grounds for terminating the parent-child relationship, for taking possession of a child, and for certain hearings in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship involving the Department of Family and Protective Services.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
Section 107.003(b), off the Texas Family Code, is amended to read as follows:
(b) In addition to the duties required by Subsection (a), an attorney ad litem appointed for a child in a proceeding under Chapter 262, [or] 263, or 264 shall:
(1) review the medical care provided to the child;
(2) in a developmentally appropriate manner, seek to elicit the child’s opinion on the medical care provided;
(3) for a child at least 16 years of age:
(A) advise the child of the child’s right to
request the court to authorize the child to consent to the child’s own medical care under Section 266.010; and
(B) ascertain whether the child has received the following documents:
(i) a certified copy of the child’s birth
(ii) a social security card or a replacement social security card;
(iii) a driver’s license or personal
dentification certificate under Chapter 521, Transportation Code;
(iv) any other personal document the
Department of Family and Protective Services determines appropriate; and
(4) seek to elicit in a developmentally appropriate manner the name of any adult, particularly an adult residing in the child’s community, who could be a relative or designated caregiver for the child and immediately provide the names of those individuals to the Department of Family and Protective Services.
SECTION 2. Sections 107.004(d), (d-2), (d-3), and (e),
Family Code, are amended to read as follows: (d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), an attorney ad litem appointed for a child in a proceeding under Chapter 262, [or] 263, or 264 shall: (1) meet before each court hearing with: (A) the child, if the child is at least four years of age; or (B) the individual with whom the child ordinarily resides, including the child’s parent, conservator, guardian, caretaker, or custodian, if the child is younger than four years of age; and
(2) if the child or individual is not present at the court hearing, file a written statement with the court indicating that the attorney ad litem complied with Subdivision (1). (d-2) An attorney ad litem appointed to represent a child in the managing conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services or a child who is the subject of a proceeding under Chapter 264 shall, before each scheduled hearing under Chapter 263 or 264, determine whether the child’s educational needs and goals have been identified and addressed. (d-3) An attorney ad litem appointed to represent a child in the managing conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services or a child who is the subject of a proceeding under Chapter 264 shall periodically continue to review the child’s safety and well-being, including any effects of trauma to the child, and take appropriate action, including requesting a review hearing when necessary to address an issue of concern.
(e) An attorney ad litem appointed for a child in a proceeding under Chapter 262, [or] 263, or 264 is not required to comply with Subsection (d) before a hearing if the court finds at that hearing that the attorney ad litem has shown good cause why the attorney ad litem’s compliance with that subsection is not feasible or in the best interest of the child. Additionally, a court may, on a showing of good cause, authorize an attorney ad litem to comply with Subsection (d) by conferring with the child or other individual, as appropriate, by telephone or video conference. SECTION 3. Section 161.001(c),
Family Code, is amended to read as follows: (c) Evidence of one or more of the following does not constitute clear and convincing evidence sufficient for a court to [A court may not] make a finding under Subsection (b) and order termination of the parent-child relationship [based on evidence that the parent]:
(1) the parent homeschooled the child; (2) the parent is economically disadvantaged;
(3) the parent has been charged with a nonviolent misdemeanor offense other than: (A) an offense under Title 5, Penal Code; (B) an offense under Title 6, Penal Code; or (C) an offense that involves family violence, as defined by Section 71.004 of this code; (4) the parent provided or administered low-THC cannabis to a child for whom the low-THC cannabis was prescribed under Chapter 169, Occupations Code; [or]
(5) the parent declined immunization for the child for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief; or (6) the parent allowed the child to engage in independent activities that are appropriate and typical for the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, developmental abilities, or culture. SECTION 4. Section 161.101, Family Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 161.101.
PETITION ALLEGATIONS; PETITION AND MOTION REQUIREMENTS. .
(a) A petition for the termination of the parent-child relationship is sufficient without the necessity of specifying the underlying facts if the petition alleges in the statutory language the ground for the termination and that termination is in the best interest of the child. (b) A petition or motion filed by the Department of Family and Protective Services in a suit for termination of the parent-child relationship is subject to Chapter 10, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, and Rule 13, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
SECTION 5. Section 261.001(4),
Family Code, is amended to read as follows: (4) “Neglect” means an act or failure to act by a person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare evidencing the person’s blatant disregard for the consequences of the act or failure to act that results in harm to the child or that creates an immediate danger to the child’s physical health or safety and:
(A) includes: (i) the leaving of a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to an immediate danger [a substantial risk] of physical or mental harm, without arranging for necessary care for the child, and the demonstration of an intent not to return by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator of the child; (ii) the following acts or omissions by a person: (a) placing a child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities and that results in bodily injury or an immediate danger [a substantial risk] of [immediate] harm to the child; (b) failing to seek, obtain, or follow through with medical care for a child, with the failure resulting in or presenting an immediate danger [a substantial risk] of death, disfigurement, or bodily injury or with the failure resulting in an observable and material impairment to the growth, development, or functioning of the child; (c) the failure to provide a child with food, clothing, or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child, excluding failure caused primarily by financial inability unless relief services had been offered andrefused; (d) placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to an immediate danger [a substantial risk] of sexualconduct harmful to the child; or (e) placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to acts or omissions that constitute abuse under Subdivision (1)(E), (F), (G), (H), or (K) committed against another child; (iii) the failure by the person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare to permit the child to return to the child’s home without arranging for the necessary care for the child after the child has been absent from the home for any reason, including having been in residential placement or having run away; or (iv) a negligent act or omission by an employee, volunteer, or other individual working under the auspices of a facility or program, including failure to comply with an individual treatment plan, plan of care, or individualized service plan, that causes or may cause substantial emotional harm or physical injury to, or the death of, a child served by the facility or program as further described by rule or policy; and (B) does not include: (i) the refusal by a person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare to permit the child to remain in or return to the child’s home resulting in the placement of the child in the conservatorship of the department if: (a) [(i)] the child has a severe emotional disturbance; (b) [(ii)] the person’s refusal is based solely on the person’s inability to obtain mental health services necessary to protect the safety and well-being of the child; and (c) [(iii)] the person has exhausted all reasonable means available to the person to obtain the mental health services described by Sub-subparagraph (b); or (ii) allowing the child to engage in independent activities that are appropriate and typical for the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, developmental abilities, or culture [Subparagraph (ii)]. SECTION 6. Section 262.116(a),
Family Code, is amended to read as follows:
(a) The Department of Family and Protective Services may not take possession of a child under this subchapter based on evidence that the parent:
(1) homeschooled the child; (2) is economically disadvantaged; (3) has been charged with a nonviolent misdemeanor offense other than:
(A) an offense under Title 5, Penal Code; (B) an offense under Title 6, Penal Code; or
(C) an offense that involves family violence, as defined by Section 71.004 of this code; (4) provided or administered low-THC cannabis to a child for whom the low-THC cannabis was prescribed under Chapter 169, Occupations Code; [or] (5) declined immunization for the child for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief; (6) allowed the child to engage in independent activities that are appropriate and typical for the child’s level of maturity, physical condition, developmental abilities, or culture; or (7) tested positive for marihuana, unless the department has evidence that the parent’s use of marihuana has caused significant impairment to the child’s physical or mental health or emotional development.
SECTION 7. Section 262.201,
Family Code, is amended by amending Subsections (e), (g), (h), and (n) and adding Subsections (g-1) and (q) to read as follows:
(e) The court may, for good cause shown, postpone the full adversary hearing for not more than seven days from the date of the attorney’s appointment to provide the attorney time to respond to the petition and prepare for the hearing. The court may shorten or lengthen the extension granted under this subsection if the parent and the appointed attorney agree in writing. If the court postpones the full adversary hearing, the court shall extend a temporary order, temporary restraining order, or attachment issued by the court under Section 262.102(a) [or Section 262.1131]
for the protection of the child until the date of the rescheduled ful adversary hearing. (g) In a suit filed under Section 262.101 or 262.105, at the conclusion of the full adversary hearing, the court shall order the return of the child to the parent, managing conservator, possessory conservator, guardian, caretaker, or custodian entitled to possession from whom the child is removed unless the court finds sufficient evidence to satisfy a person of ordinary prudence and caution that: (1) there was a danger to the physical health or safety of the child, including a danger that the child would be a victim of trafficking under Section 20A.02 or 20A.03, Penal Code, which wa caused by an act or failure to act of the person entitled to possession and for the child to remain in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child; (2) the urgent need for protection required the immediate removal of the child and reasonable efforts, consistent with the circumstances and providing for the safety of the child, were made to eliminate or prevent the child’s removal; and (3) reasonable efforts have been made to enable the child to return home, but there is a substantial risk of a continuing danger if the child is returned home. (g-1) In a suit filed under Section 262.101 or 262.105, if the court does not order the return of the child under Subsection (g) and finds that another parent, managing conservator, possessory conservator, guardian, caretaker, or custodian entitled to possession did not cause the immediate danger to the physical health or safety of the child or was not the perpetrator of the neglect or abuse alleged in the suit, the court shall order possession of the child by that person unless the court find sufficient evidence to satisfy a person of ordinary prudence and caution that, specific to each person entitled to possession:
(1) the person cannot be located after the exercise of due diligence by the Department of Family and Protective Services, or the person is unable or unwilling to take possession of the child; or (2) reasonable efforts have been made to enable the person’s possession of the child, but possession by that person presents a continuing danger to the physical health or safety of the child caused by an act or failure to act of the person, including a danger that the child would be a victim of trafficking under Section 20A.02 or 20A.03, Penal Code. (h) In a suit filed under Section 262.101 or 262.105,
if the court finds sufficient evidence to make the applicable finding under Subsection (g) or (g-1) [satisfy a person of ordinary prudence and caution that there is a continuing danger to the physical health or safety of the child and for the child to remain in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child], the court shall issue an appropriate temporary order under Chapter 105. (n) If the [The] court does not order possession of [shall place] a child by a [removed from the child’s custodial parent with the child’s noncustodial] parent, managing conservator, possessory conservator, guardian, caretaker, or custodian entitled to possession under Subsection (g) or (g-1), the court shall place the child [or] with a relative of the child [if placement with the noncustodial parent is inappropriate,] unless the court finds that the placement with [the noncustodial parent or] a relative is not in the best interest of the child. (q) On receipt of a written request for possession of the child from a parent, managing conservator, possessory conservator, guardian, caretaker, or custodian entitled to possession of the child who was not located before the adversary hearing, the Department of Family and Protective Services shall notify the court and request a hearing to determine whether the parent, managingc conservator, possessory conservator, guardian, caretaker, or custodian is entitled to possession of the child under Subsection (g-1). SECTION 8. Section 263.002, Family Code, is amended by amending Subsection (c) and adding Subsection (d) to read as follows: (c) At each permanency hearing before the final order, the court shall review the placement of each child in the temporary managing conservatorship of the department who has not been returned to the child’s home. At the end of the hearing, the court shall order the department to return the child to the child’s parent or parents unless the court finds, with respect to each parent, that: (1) there is a continuing danger to the physical health or safety of the child; and (2) returning the child to the child’s parent or parents [The court shall make a finding on whether returning the child to the child’s home is safe and appropriate, whether the return is in the best interest of the child, and whether it] is contrary to the welfare of the child [for the child to return home]. (d) This section does not prohibit the court from rendering an order under Section 263.403.
SECTION 9. Section 263.401, Family Code, is amended by adding Subsection (b-3) to read as follows: (b-3) A court shall find under Subsection (b) that extraordinary circumstances necessitate the child remaining in the temporary managing conservatorship of the department if:
(1) a parent of a child has made a good faith effort to successfully complete the service plan but needs additional time; and
(2) on completion of the service plan the court intends to order the child returned to the parent.
SECTION 10. Subchapter E, Chapter 263, Family Code, is amended by adding Section 263.4011 to read as follows: Sec. 263.4011.
RENDERING FINAL ORDER; EXTENSION.
(a) On timely commencement of the trial on the merits under Section 263.401, the court shall render a final order not later thanhe90th day after the date the trial commences. (b) The 90-day period for rendering a final order under Subsection (a) is not tolled for any recess during the trial. (c) The court may extend the 90-day period under Subsection (a) for the period the court determines necessary if, after a hearing, the court finds good cause for the extension. If the court grants a good cause extension under this subsection, the court shall render a written order specifying: (1) the grounds on which the extension is granted; and (2) the length of the extension. (d) A party may file a mandamus proceeding if the court fails to render a final order within the time required by this section. SECTION 11.
Section 263.403(a-1), Family Code, is amended to read as follows: (a-1) Unless the court has granted an extension under Section 263.401(b), the department or the parent may request the court to retain jurisdiction for an additional six months as necessary for a parent to complete the remaining requirements under [in] a service plan [and specified] in a transition monitored return under Subsection (a)(2)(B) [the temporary order that are mandatory for the child’s return].
SECTION 12. Section 264.203, Family Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 264.203. REQUIRED PARTICIPATION.
(a) The department may file a suit requesting [Except as provided by Subsection (d),] the court to render a temporary [on request of the department may] order requiring the parent, managing conservator, guardian, or other member of the [subject] child’s household to:
(1) participate in the services for which the department makes a referral or services the department provides or purchases for:
(A) alleviating the effects of the abuse or neglect that has occurred; [or]
(B) reducing a continuing danger to the physical health or safety of the child caused by an act or failure to act of he parent, mantaging conservator, guardian, or other member of the child’s household [the reasonable likelihood that the child may be abused or neglected in the immediate or foreseeable future]; or
(C) reducing a substantial risk of abuse or neglect caused by an act or failure to act of the parent, managing conservator, guardian, or member of the child’s household; and
(2) permit the child and any siblings of the child to receive the services. (b) A suit requesting an order under this section may be filed in a court with jurisdiction to hear the suit in the county in which the child is located [The department may request the court to order the parent, managing conservator, guardian, or other member f the child’s household too participate in the services whether the child resides in the home or has been removed from the home]. (c) Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, the suit is governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure applicable to the filing of an original lawsuit [If the person ordered to participate in the services fails to follow the court’s order, the court may impose appropriate sanctions in order to protect the in health and safety of the child, including the removal of the child as specified by Chapter 262]. (d) The petition shall be supported by a sworn affidavit by person based on personal knowledge and stating facts sufficient to support a finding that: (1) the child has been a victim of abuse or neglect or is at substantial risk of abuse or neglect; and
(2) there is a continuing danger to the physical health or safety of the child caused by an act or failure to act of the parent, managing conservator, guardian, or other member of the child’s household unless that person participates in services requested by the department [If the court does not order the person to participate, the court in writing shall specify the reasons for not ordering participation]. (e) In a suit filed under this section, the court may render a temporary restraining order as provided by Section 105.001.
(f) The court shall hold a hearing on the petition not later than the 14th day after the date the petition is filed unless the court finds good cause for extending that date for not more than 14 days.
(g) The court shall appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the interests of the child immediately after the filing but before the hearing to ensure adequate representation of the child. The attorney ad litem for the child shall have the powers and duties of an attorney ad litem for a child under Chapter 107. (h)
The court shall appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the interests of a parent for whom participation in services is being requested immediately after the filing but before the hearing to ensure adequate representation of the parent. The attorney ad litem for the parent shall have the powers and duties of an attorney ad litem for a parent under Section 107.0131. (i)
Before commencement of the hearing, the court shall inform each parent of: (1) the parent’s right to be represented by an attorney; and (2) for a parent who is indigent and appears in opposition to the motion, the parent’s right to a court-appointed attorney. (j) If a parent claims indigence, the court shall requir the parent to complete and file with the court an affidavit of indigence.
The court may consider additional evidence to determine
whether the parent is indigent, including evidence relating to the parent’s income, source of income, assets, property ownership, benefits paid in accordance with a federal, state, or local public
assistance program, outstanding obligations, and necessary
expenses and the number and ages of the parent’s dependents.
court determines the parent is indigent, the attorney ad litem appointed to represent the interests of the parent may continue the representation. If the court determines the parent is not
indigent, the court shall discharge the attorney ad litem from the
appointment after the hearing and shall order the parent to pay the cost of the attorney ad litem’s representation.
(k) The court may, for good cause shown, postpone any subsequent proceedings for not more than seven days after the date of the attorney ad litem’s discharge to allow the parent to hire an attorney or to provide the parent’s attorney time to prepare for the
(l) An order may be rendered under this section only after notice and hearing.
(m) At the conclusion of the hearing, the court shall deny the petition unless the court finds sufficient evidence to satisfy
a person of ordinary prudence and caution that:
(1) abuse or neglect has occurred or there is a substantial risk of abuse or neglect or continuing danger to the
physical health or safety of the child caused by an act or failure to act of the parent, managing conservator, guardian, or other member of the child’s household; and
(2) services are necessary to ensure the physical health or safety of the child.
(n) If the court renders an order granting the petition, the court shall:
(1) state its findings in the order;
(2) make appropriate temporary orders under Chapter 105 necessary to ensure the safety of the child; and
(3) order the participation in specific services narrowly tailored to address the findings made by the court under
(o) If the court finds that a parent, managing conservator,
guardian, or other member of the child’s household did not cause the
continuing danger to the physical health or safety of the child or
the substantial risk of abuse or neglect, or was not the perpetrator
of the abuse or neglect alleged, the court may not require that
person to participate in services ordered under Subsection (n).
(p) Not later than the 90th day after the date the court
renders an order under this section, the court shall hold a hearing
to review the status of each person required to participate in the
services and the child and the services provided, purchased, or
referred. The court shall set subsequent review hearings every 90
days to review the continued need for the order.
(q) An order rendered under this section expires on the 180th day after the date the order is signed unless the court
extends the order as provided by Subsection (r) or (s).
(r) The court may extend an order rendered under this section on a showing by the department of a continuing need for the order, after notice and hearing. Except as provided by Subsection
(s), the court may extend the order only one time for not more than
(s) The court may extend an order rendered under this
section for not more than an additional 180 days only if:
(1) the court finds that:
(A) the extension is necessary to allow the person required to participate in services under the plan of
service time to complete those services;
(B) the department made a good faith effort to
timely provide the services to the person;
(C) the person made a good faith effort to
complete the services; and
(D) the completion of the services is necessary
to ensure the physical health and safety of the child; and
(2) the extension is requested by the person or the person’s attorney.
(t) At any time, a person affected by the order may request the court to terminate the order. The court shall terminate the
order on finding the order is no longer needed.
The following provisions of the Family Code are
(1) Section 262.113;
(2) Section 262.1131; and
(3) Sections 262.201(b) and (j).
SECTION 14. Section 161.101,
Family Code, as amended by this Act, applies only to a petition or motion filed by the Department of Family and Protective Services on or after the
effective date of this Act.
A petition or motion filed by the
department before that date is governed by the law in effect on the
date the petition or motion was filed, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
The changes in law made by this Act apply only to a suit filed by the Department of Family and Protective Services on or after the effective date of this Act. A suit filed by the department before that date is governed by the law in effect on the date the suit was filed, and the former law is continued in effect
for that purpose.
SECTION 16. This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
______________________________ ______________________________ President of the Senate Speaker of the House I certify that H.B. No. 567 was passed by the House on April 1, 2021, by the following vote: Yeas 143, Nays 5, 1 present, not voting. ______________________________ Chief Clerk of the House I certify that H.B. No. 567 was passed by the Senate on April 28, 2021, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0. ______________________________ Secretary of the Senate APPROVED: _____________________ Date _____________________ Governor
Free Range Parenting…? In Texas?
Parents need not fear investigation for letting kids engage in “normal behaviors”.
Original Source article by Katherine Martinko
Published June 9, 2021 09:34AM EDTFact checked by Haley Mast
The state of Texas just passed a law (HB 567) that protects a child’s right to “reasonable independence.” This means children will be allowed to engage in normal childhood activities, like walking to school, sitting unattended in a car for short periods of time, or staying home alone, without their parents being accused of neglect and possibly getting investigated by the authorities.
Texas is the third state to pass such a law, after Utah and Oklahoma. Independent play advocates are thrilled because Texas has a population of 29.1 million people, which means when the populations of the other two states are considered, roughly one-tenth of Americans (34 million) are now protected by these laws. Hopefully, that’s a big enough chunk of the population to start changing the culture of helicopter-type parenting.
Lenore Skenazy, author of “Free Range Kids” and founder of the Let Grow non-profit, spoke to Treehugger about this monumental occasion. “Getting Texas is so fantastic,” she gushes over a Zoom call, pointing out to this Canadian writer that, combined with the other two states, 34 million people isn’t too far off Canada’s entire population of 38 million.
She went on to explain that we are dealing with a flawed system in which bystanders report unattended children because they want to be helpful, but then give it to authorities who don’t have a way not to investigate. They must start an investigation because a complaint has been lodged.
“We’d like that not to have to happen if the circumstances are simply that a kid was walking to school,” Skenazy explains. “What these laws do in terms of parenting is allow you to stop second-guessing yourself when you know what you have to do and what’s best for your kid. And sometimes what you have to do is not what you would love to do.”
Financial instability is a complicating factor in these investigations because often children are left alone out of necessity, not because a parent doesn’t know what they’re doing. To interpret certain things as neglect simply because of what it is on paper doesn’t take into account real life, and this law does.
Skenazy gives the example of a single mom running to catch a 7:15 a.m. bus to get to her job, but there’s only one per hour and the babysitter hasn’t shown up yet. The mom has to choose between losing her job or trusting her six-year-old to be alone for 20 minutes till the sitter arrives. Now, Texan parents in that situation no longer need to fear possible repercussions.
“The law recognizes that when you’re doing that, it’s not because you’re a neglectful parent, it’s because you don’t have the means to provide constant supervision, even when you want it.” And that, Skenazy explains, is because “people stretched thin don’t have the same resources that wealthier ones do to supervise their kids constantly.”
This flawed system affects countless families in the United States. Roughly 37% of all American children will be contacted by Child Protective Services (CPS) at some point in their lives. If you’re a Black family, that number rises to 53%. So laws like this one “provide a little more equity,” to quote Nevada senator Dallas Harris, who’s been trying to pass a similar law in her own state.
When asked what CPS thinks of the new law, Skenazy makes it clear that CPS does incredibly important work.
“We venerate CPS. The last thing we want is kids getting hurt. We don’t want to see any kid starved, beaten, or literally neglected,” Skenazy says. “So we feel that, by removing these excessive cases, CPS can do what we dearly want them to do, and what they do, which is to investigate serious cases of abuse and neglect.
“I hope that CPS does not think we are disparaging them. We are hoping to have a sea change in the culture whereby seeing a child unsupervised but fine doesn’t raise anyone’s hackles or open any kind of case,” she adds. “And I think that [CPS] would be glad because nobody wants to waste their time.”
Let Grow, the organization that Skenazy founded in response to the immense support she received after publishing “Free Range Kids,” is actively involved in passing these reasonable independence laws in several states. It pulls together stakeholder groups with representatives from CPS, parents, teachers, psychologists, district attorneys, public defenders, and lawmakers willing to sponsor a bill.
Often the laws take several tries to pass. Texas failed its first attempt two years ago, and South Carolina’s effort didn’t pass in the House before COVID shut it down, so it will have to wait another two years.
Nevada’s law, which was co-sponsored by a gay Black Democratic mom of one and a straight White Republican grandma of 20, didn’t pass this year, but Skenazy says she’s hopeful it will next year. About the Nevada law, she tells Treehugger that the Democrat sponsor joked,
“If you see both of us sponsoring a law, it’s either a really bad idea or a really good one! We think it’s a really good idea.”
Skenazy goes on to say that, in light of the Texas victory, she’s excited for kids, for parents, and for moms especially. “Sometimes I think of free range kids as being about trusting people, of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt,” instead of assuming everyone’s out to cause harm.
“Treating everyone as suspicious and possibly terrible is not only a depressing way to live, but it’s also statistically incorrect and it’s not rational to think the worst of everyone. You can have a much better life if you think better of people.”
Not to mention an easier life as a parent, if you don’t feel you have to monitor your child every minute of the day or fear being punished for allowing your child that freedom. We’d all be better off with these reasonable independence laws governing our states (and provinces).
And we’ll probably be hearing more about them. As Skenazy says, “When you think about, one-tenth of America… That can’t be a crazy idea because it’s sort of mainstream.”