Guardian Ad Litem Reform

Citizens working to protect children and stop the destruction of the family by Family Court injustice.

Posts Tagged ‘legislative scrutiny’

Missouri Legislature Votes Unanimously, Almost, To Approve GAL Standards, Sight Unseen

Posted by CultureVigilante on May 17, 2011

On May 9th, SB237, the bill that adopted new guardian ad litem standards, was declared Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed by the Missouri House of Representatives. Ordinarily, this would not be of any significance, but in an era where law makers are trying to convince the constituency that they are more transparent and better stewards of the people’s ordinances, the vote on this issue reflected quite the opposite intention. The House voted 146 – 0 and the Senate voted 31 – 1 to pass. 13 House members were absent and 2 were absent in the Senate.

The controversy attached to this bill is the Supreme Court refused to relinquish the standards to citizens and media, and no one in the legislature had an opportunity to read them prior to approval.

With unanimous votes in the House and nearly so in the Senate to adopt standards, sight unseen by everyone in Capitol, one legislator stood alone in his vote. Jim Lembke was the dissenting voice in the Senate. Senator Lembke is a Republican who represents the people of the 1st district in St. Louis County. He was unable to be reached for comment by the time this post was published.

During Senate and House hearings, legislators heard citizen testimony in which they were asked to table the legislation until they had a chance to obtain copies of the new standards or to add verbiage to the bill which would require the Court to release the standards before a vote would be taken. The were also asked to consider adopting legislation, as many other states have, that would bring transparency to the courts and the GAL system  No such actions were taken. Children and families of Missouri now await the consequences of standards that were developed outside the scope of public or legislative scrutiny.

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