Parental Rights in Missouri

Missouri Parental Rights News

Busy in the State House and in the U.S. Senate

February 7, 2017

In This Issue: Report: Busy in the State House and in the U.S. Senate By the Numbers: State and National Legislation Go Deeper: Two-Thirds Vote to Pass the Parental Rights Amendment ••••••••••••••••••••••••• Report: Busy in the State House and in the U.S. Senate has been busy in the state house and in the U.S.…

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Missouri State Law and Parental Rights

At Risk

Missouri does not have a state statute that explicitly defines and protects parental rights as fundamental rights.

Legislative Efforts 2017: Rep. Kurt Bahr pre-filed HB 354, a parental rights legislation, in December of 2016; it was read for the first time on January 4th. On March 8, it passed out of the House Judiciary Committee 9-1 and is now in the Rules Committee. Thank you for your continued support!

Legislative Efforts 2016: HB1755, a statute to protect parental rights at the state level, was pre-filed by Rep. Kurt Bahr on Dec.11. The bill  passed the House Civil and Criminal Proceedings Committee (Feb. 24) and the House Judiciary Committee (Mar. 9), but did not pass the entire House.

Legislative Efforts 2015: HB557 was introduced by Rep. Kurt Bahr passed the House Civil & Criminal Proceedings Committee (8-0) and the House Judiciary Committee (7-3) on its way to passage by the full House with a bipartisan majority (120-33) on April 16. It passed the Senate Judiciary Committee (6-0, 1 absent) on Apr. 29 but again failed to get a floor vote in that chamber. Sen. Wieland introduced companion bill SB 562 on Mar. 2.

Legislative Efforts 2014: HB 1488, a bill to preserve fundamental parental rights in statutory law, was introduced by Rep. Bahr and Sen. Ed Emery. It passed the House for the second straight term, but again failed to pass the Senate.

Legislative Efforts 2013: Rep. Kurt Bahr and Sen. Ed Emory introduced a parental rights statute, HB513. It passed the House (122-22) and the Senate committee, but the session ended before a senate floor vote could be taken.

Missouri Courts and Parental Rights

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At High Risk!

The Missouri Supreme Court has interpreted Troxel to mean that parental rights are not entitled to protection under the strict scrutiny standard.

  • Cannon v. Cannon, 280 S.W.3d 79, 86 (Mo. 2009) (in a marriage dissolution proceeding regarding child custody, the court described Troxel as holding that "while a parent's interest in his or her children is entitled to 'heightened protection,' it is not entitled to 'strict scrutiny'".
  • Weigand v. Edwards, 296 S.W.3d 453, 458 (Mo. 2009) (applying a balancing-of-interest test to a statute governing modification of custody because "the Supreme Court utilized a balancing-of-interests standard in the context of a grandparent visitation statute" and "decided to leave the determination of the propriety of particular statutes to a case-by-case analysis").