Advocates for grandparents’ rights prepare for committee hearing

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A group of parents, grandparents and doctors gathered outside of the Alabama state capitol today in preparation to throw their support behind the grandparents’ visitation bill which is set to go before the House Judiciary Committee.

SB334 from Rep. Mike Jones (R-Andalusia) would allow grandparents, whose visitation rights have been revoked by family members, to prove by “clear and convincing” evidence that they have a relationship with the child in question. If that relationship is proven, a procedure would be established to reconnect grandparents and grandchildren.

The group is an informal organization known as “Grandparents ROC (Rights of Children),” which has advocated for the rights of grandparents and children for the past two years.

Dee Booker, who founded the organization, told a woeful tale of her own experience in losing access to her grandchildren.

Booker said that her son was in the military and, after his death, his ex-wife cut off all access to Booker’s granddaughter.

“The day I buried my son was the last time I saw my granddaughter,” Booker said.

It was then that Booker began rallying for grandparent’s and children’ rights.

“Alabama pretty much has no rights at all for grandparents and children,” Booker said. “We felt like we had to do something to see our grandkids.”

Booker noted that she has watched similar legislation fail over the last two years, but hopes momentum is on her side this year.

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