[r63] Rep. Messmer Readies for 2010 Legislative Session

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Wednesday, January 6, 2010

STATEHOUSE - Yesterday, Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) signed on as a co-author to House Bill 1055 to improve visitation rights for grandparents and great-grandparents.

While laws are currently in place giving grandparents some rights with regards to visiting grandchildren, HB 1055 includes great-grandparents in those rights. A large portion of the bill focuses on visitation rights for grandparents and great-grandparents if visits are denied or restricted by the parents of the child unreasonably. The idea for the bill came from a constituent issue.

"We want to look out for the best interests of the child," said Rep. Messmer. "If a grandparent or great-grandparent's presence is important in the child's life, as it often is, we want to make that possible."

The proposed legislation instructs courts on how to determine what would be in the best interests of the child. Factors such as the age and gender of the child and the mental and physical health of the relatives involved must all be taken into consideration.

Rep. Messmer has also filed HB 1043 to grant access to mental health records for patients. The legislation outlines the process patients must go through to obtain these records.

You can track both pieces of legislation at www.in.gov/legislative. If you have question about these bills, please call 1-800-382-9841 or send an email toh63@in.gov.