Legislators decided to get tough Tuesday on custodial parents who deny court-ordered visitation to non-custodial parents.
They passed a bill that, in short, says if your ex-wife or ex-husband won't let you see your kids when he or she should, you can get a court to force the parent to do community service and/or go into counseling.The bill, which goes now to Gov. Norm Bangerter for his approval, also allows a court to order community service time and/or counseling for ex-spouses who refuse to pay child support.
"This is an excellent alternative," said Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan. "Now, a judge can order a custodial parent to jail if he or she won't let the ex-spouse visit the children. But most judges won't do that. Counseling or community service is a fine way to get compliance to the court order."
- While Rep. Bill Wright, R-Elberta, sees it as "socialistic welfare," the House nonetheless voted 67-4 in favor of putting $2 million into a state health insurance fund for those with ailments so severe they cannot purchase private health insurance coverage.
Thousands of Utahns cannot afford health insurance because of serious and unusually costly ailments. HB442 creates a state fund for those who cannot afford insurance.
"This bill gives them a right to insurance," said Rep. Kim Burningham, R-Bountiful. "They still pay for it and they will be paying 150 percent more for it."
But Wright said the state can't afford it and shouldn't be in the business of trying.
The bill now goes to the Senate.