FRANKFORT — One adoption-related bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, while another was removed from consideration by the sponsor.
A measure sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, R-Stanford, would keep information on foster parents confidential during involuntary termination of parental rights cases involving birth parents.
Meade says, for one reason or another, confidentiality is not currently the case.
“The information on foster parents is being released, which is in some instances creating a dangerous situation and is putting a lot of foster parents on edge," he said. "In this bill, the language is that a foster parent may be a part of that case, and if they are, then their information must remain confidential.”
Meade says it also requires foster parents to be notified within five days of any filing for involuntary termination of parental rights.
The measure, House Bill 167, was unanimously approved and now heads to the Senate floor.
The legislation that was pulled from consideration would reduce the time a putative father may register to be a party for an adoption or involuntary termination of parental rights from 21 days to 72 hours after birth.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton, announced the measure, Senate Bill 121, would be pulled. He explained why to reporters after the meeting.
“I didn’t have the votes,” he said. “I had almost all the votes I needed, but not quite all the votes I needed. I needed seven, and I didn’t quite have seven. I have to keep doing a better job on the members, asking them what their questions are. If I don’t have the votes, I’m not going to waste the committee’s time hearing a bill that’s going to be lost.”
However, Westerfield says he is not giving up. “Try to educate them on why it’s important, why I think it’s helpful for adoptive parents like me and Amanda, and why it’s reasonable to expect a little bit of effort for these potential fathers.”
He said one of the objections is a woman knows for nine months she’s going to give birth, but a putative father may not.
“I know where they’re going from, but they know they had sex,” he said. “It’s not something that just happens by accident, and if they have an interest in being a dad, then we should expect a modicum of effort. Just go to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services website and put your name on the putative father registry.”
In other action, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved:
• House Bill 132, adding personal identification cards to the master list of potential jurors for a county.
• House Bill 135, which adds to the definition of sexual contact, any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person done with the intent to harm, threaten, intimidate, abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, arouse, coerce, or gratify [for the purpose of gratifying] the sexual desire of either party.