STAND. COM. REP. NO.2756
RE: S.B. No. 2039
Honorable Robert Bunda
President of the Senate
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred S.B. No. 2039, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO VISITATION,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to allow a sibling to file an action in family court requesting reasonable visitation, if the sibling is of full legal age and capacity, or if not, then by the sibling's spouse, parent, custodian, or guardian.
Testimony in support of this measure was received from the Department of Human Services, Volunteer Legal Services (VLS), Hawaii Foster Youth Coalition, Blueprint for Change, and Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition. Testimony in opposition was received from the Attorney General. Commentary was submitted by the Judiciary and Hawaii Family Forum.
Your Committee finds that it is important that siblings maintain continuing relationships with one another after they are removed from their parents' custody to allow them to better adjust to their new circumstances. Your Committee believes that it is in the best interest of the child to maintain that relationship, if appropriate and necessary, by court order awarding siblings reasonable visitation rights.
Your Committee views this measure as being in response to and in keeping with, the current trend of separation of siblings due to broken relationships and societal mobility. It is not the intent of your Committee to wreak havoc with existing cohesive family relationships nor to discourage adoption.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Clarifying the requirements for reasonable visitation rights to add siblings, including any individual who was a sibling prior to the termination of parental rights or prior to adoption, on the recommendation of the VLS;
(2) Deleting the definition of "child", on the recommendation of the VLS, because it is a term of art and could cause complications in the implementation of this measure;
(3) Deleting duplicative language referring to the deceased parents of the child; and
(4) Clarifying that the visitation rights are in the best interest of the child who is the subject of the visitation petition.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2039, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2039, S.D. 2.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,
BRIAN KANNO, Chair