Senate Bill 1371 — Guardianship in cases of military service

Senate Bill 1371 — Guardianship in cases of military service

by
Lindsay Atkinson
March 3, 2020
Lindsay Atkinson
March 3, 2020

Bill description: SB 1371 would clarify that the extended absence of a parent for the purpose of military service does not establish abandonment of a child.

Rating: +2

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? 

The U.S. Constitution calls for Americans to organize a militia to defend the country. As part of this organization, citizens can either voluntarily join or they can be selected for service (through conscription). As of 2017, approximately 40% of military service members had children.

It was by no means the intent of those who wrote the U.S. Constitution that citizens would lose custody of their children if they chose to serve their country. SB 1371 upholds the intent of military service by establishing that when a parent leaves a child under the temporary guardianship of another person, to serve in the military, it is not an act of “neglect, abuse, abandonment, or failure to provide a stable home environment.” And, when the parent(s) serving in the military returns from the service, the temporary guardianship of the child ends. 

(+1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non- violent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes? 

Since SB 1371 ensures that leaving a child behind (under the guardianship of another) does not equate to “neglect, abuse, abandonment, or failure to provide a stable home environment,” military service members will not be criminally penalized. They won’t be subject to penalties for child neglect or abuse since they did not commit neglect or abuse. Most importantly, they won’t lose custody of their child. 

(+1)

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