by Josh Bryant
One of the issues we work on every year is adoption legislation. Last year, we were able to get a great bill through that prohibits individuals from soliciting pregnant women to place their child up for adoption in exchange for anything prohibited by law. It also characterizes an act of forcing a woman to place her child up for adoption as human trafficking. There is still a lot of work left to do.
There still need to be systemic changes to our adoption laws in Arkansas. The process is broken and must be fixed. We need to tighten up the jurisdictional components of the law to make sure Arkansas actually has a reason to hear a case. Furthermore, we need to find a way to ensure that neither adoptive parents nor biological parents are harmed by a conflict of interests. We need to talk about the recognition of open adoptions. We need to talk about cleaning up the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children up to be much clearer.
Recently, Representatives Kelly and Penzo filed an Interim Study Proposal so that we can discuss these issues with legislators until the General Assembly reconvenes in 2021. Our goal is to have comprehensive adoption reform legislation ready to file the day the Bureau of Legislative Research allows (usually in mid-November). We are having discussions with stakeholders and inviting others to join the discussion if they so choose. We look forward to the passage of comprehensive adoption reform legislation in Arkansas!
If you have a problem that could have a legislative solution, give us a call. We are always available to discuss your needs and determine whether we can help draft legislation to solve your problems. We can also help get that legislation in front of the right people who can get it on the agenda for debate in Little Rock. Time is short, however. We need to start having discussions now in order to help ensure a smooth process in January 2021.
Josh Bryant is an attorney, entrepreneur, pastor, and visionary with a heart to see churches, businesses, and families more secure, more effective, and more efficient in fulfilling their mission and bringing glory to God.