House Bill 319
151st General Assembly (2021 - 2022)
House Administration 3/3/22
Committee Hearing takes place within twelve legislative days.
AN ACT PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE I OF THE DELAWARE CONSTITUTION RELATING TO PARENTAL RIGHTS.
There are presently at least 30 states that have a statute defining and protecting parental rights, or case law that interprets parental interests as a fundamental right. Delaware has neither. This proposal is the first leg of a constitutional amendment affirming that parents have a fundamental right to the care, custody and control of their children. The amendment contains two important protections with regard to government agencies asserting authority over children. The amendment would require government officials to prove that the proposed action was needed. If successful, government officials would be limited to taking the least intrusive means to accomplish their goal. This amendment would not shield neglectful or abusive parents, nor would it interfere with the obligation of government to protect the welfare of children. Since 2013, eight states have enacted laws defining and protecting parental rights. This measure shall be named the Parental Rights Protection Amendment.
A First Leg amendment must be approved by the next General Assembly to become part of the Constitution. A Second Leg amendment becomes part of the Constitution upon passage of both Chambers of the subsequent General Assembly.