Rep. Erin Grall is taking another stab at establishing a parental bill of rights.
The bill (HB 241) seeks to safeguard “rights of parents” with respect to their minor child for education, health care, and criminal justice, and prohibits the state or any other government entities from infringing on the rights established in the bill.
Under the bill, if the state or other government entity should infringe on the parent’s rights the infringement would be reviewed with “strict scrutiny.”
This Session, Grall’s parental rights bill has made it through two of three committee stops. Wednesday it was approved by the House Judiciary Committee along a party line vote.
The bill outlines the rights of a parent to direct their child’s education, with regard to beliefs about morality, sex, religion and immunizations.
The bill also establishes parental consent requirements for, among other things, the collection of certain identifying information for a minor child, like DNA.
The bill requires parental notification if a “state actor” suspects a minor is the victim of a crime, with an exception for offenses reported to law enforcement or the Department of Children and Families.
The bill also requires health care providers to obtain a minor’s parental consent before administering care, with penalties for violations in some instances.
Detractors said the bill is anti-LGBTQ. A representative for Equality Florida said the bill could allow schools to out LGBTQ youth to parents, creating unsafe environments for the students.
The Florida Coalition for Trans Liberation said the bill would result in children being outed to unsupportive parents.
“As some people sit here and talk about this bill, I wonder what bill they’re reading,” Grall said. “It is really about helping parents navigate the bureaucracy that our children get tied up in.”
Democratic committee members all voted against the bill.
“We have to look at it from a broader perspective,” Rep. Alexander Damon said. “I’m not going to support the bill today because I know the significant challenges that so many young people deal with.”
Children also spoke at the meeting, some proponents of the bill.
“It can be frustrating at times being a minor and knowing that there are certain things that my parents will not allow me to do, but I know that I will look back and instead of promoting that fact that I was allowed to participate, I will praise God and thank my parents for protecting me,” one said
Other children spoke in opposition of the bill, including one who said, “it would force every kid in the whole state of Florida, if they come out as gay or lesbian or trans at school, they would be outed at school, and their parents notified.”
Senate companion legislation (SB 582) is in the Education Committee, its second of two committee stops.