The Senate killed a House-passed bill Wednesday that would have allowed grandparents to petition for visitation rights in cases where parental rights had been terminated. HB418s3, which failed on a 13-13 vote, would have applied only to children who were adopted by relatives.
Lawmakers spoke against the bill, arguing that allowing grandparents to petition for visitation rights would discourage parents from adopting.
Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, said after parents adopt a child, they still have a journey ahead of them and grandparents may cause further challenges. "We need to nurture these adoptive parents. We want children adopted. This is our culture," she said.
The proposed law would have been a major policy shift, said Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross. He read a constituent email explaining the grief the bill might cause to adoptive parents.
Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, supported the bill because it is an option for grandparents that could benefit the child.
"I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all for these types of unusual situations. I hope this would be a positive thing," she said.
Senate sponsor Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, said he thought the bill strengthened and preserved families by giving grandparents access to their grandchildren.
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