Parental consent bill passes on last day

Published 12:05 am Saturday, April 5, 2014

One of the bills Rep. Mike Jones shepherded through the legislature passed Thursday, the last day of the 2014 legislative session.

The bill, HB 494, tightens restrictions on minors receiving consent for abortions. Among other things, the bills asks parents granting permission for their daughter to have an abortion to do something they have done countless times before – hand the provider a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

It’s a bill Jones had not planned to sponsor this year, but was asked to handle after the session started.

“When I was approached, I told them I would handle it because it’s a complicated bill,” he said, adding that he wanted to make sure it was constitutional and would stand up to existing Supreme Court law.

It passed the House weeks ago, but the Senate only got to it last night, before they adjourned in the 7 o’clock hour.

Jones said many legislators from both parties agreed it’s a good bill.

The example he has used to illustrate the need for the bill is when a 40-year-old boyfriend takes his 14-year-old girlfriend to get an abortion and says, “I’m her daddy.”

Jones said he did lots of research in constructing the bill and got input from the state’s juvenile court judges.

“I got great feedback, and it helped a lot,” he said. “It is a more clear process.”

The bill also sets up a step-by-step process by which a minor can go to juvenile court and request permission for a court order, under special circumstances, to not require parental consent.

The bill passed 25-5 in the Senate just before they adjourned.

“I really do think it’s a great update to the bill,” he said. “It was sorely needed, and it’s going to help.”

Earlier in the session, Jones got a bill approved that provides statutory immunity to teachers and state workers for acts they carry out as part of their employment duties.

“That was a big deal for me personally,” he said.