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June 23, 2014

Parental Rights Bill Passes

Tj Schmidt answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Oklahoma. He and his wife homeschool their children. Read more >>

On May 9, 2014, Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill 1384, enacting a strong parental rights statute in Oklahoma. This new statute puts into state law the principle that the “liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their children is a fundamental right.”

The new statute prohibits the state from infringing upon parents’ rights unless the state can demonstrate that there is a compelling governmental interest as applied to the child. In order to override the parent’s right the governmental interest must be of the highest order. In addition, the restriction of the parental right must be narrowly tailored, and the state interest must be impossible to fulfill by some less restrictive means.

Specific Protection

The language used in the statue follows a number of U.S. Supreme Court cases and is closely modeled after a statute in Arizona. The statute also protects the following:

  • The right to direct the moral or religious training of your minor child.
  • The right to make healthcare decisions for your minor child.
  • The right to access and review all medical records of your minor child (unless prohibited by law).
  • The right to consent in writing before a biometric scan of your minor child is made.
  • The right to consent in writing before any record of your child’s blood or DNA is created.
  • The right to consent in writing before the state makes a video/voice recording of your child (certain limited exceptions).
  • The right to be notified promptly when any state employee/entity suspects that a criminal offense has been committed against your child by someone other than you.
  • There is also language in the statute that stating that parents have inalienable rights more comprehensive than those listed in the bill, and that it does not prescribe all rights of parents.

It was a great pleasure working with the legislators and those on the ground to get this bill passed. It would not have been possible without the invaluable work of Tracey Montgomery with

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