Wyoming House Bill 153 (HB153) cleared its first committee hurdle yesterday, January 23, by a vote of 9-0. The bill, which would preserve “the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children [as] a fundamental right,” was referred to the House Minerals, Business, and Economic Development Committee on January 19, probably due to a backlog of bills in other committees. Given the quick turn around and the successful vote, we are certainly not complaining.
Rep. Mark Jennings (R-30) is the first of 19 sponsors listed on the bill, which is already on the schedule for First Reading in the full House (“Committee of the Whole”). It is pretty far down the list, so while it could conceivably be voted on in that body today, tomorrow is perhaps more likely.
HB 153 would add to Wyoming law that “The state, or any agency or political subdivision of the state, shall not infringe the parental right as provided under this section without demonstrating that the interest of the government as applied to the person or child is a compelling state interest addressed by the least restrictive means.” This language would clearly establish “strict scrutiny” as the proper standard of review in parental rights cases — the same high standard of review called for in the proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
No action is called for at this time. We will keep you posted in case calls are warranted to move the bill at any point in the future.
Thank you for standing with us to protect children by protecting the rights of parents in Wyoming law!
Director of Communications & Research