House approves amended re-homing bill

Posted: March 31, 2015 at 10:48 pm

The Arkansas House of Representatives gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that would make re-homing adopted children illegal.

Legislators approved two amendments from the senate for House Bill 1676, sponsored by Rep. David Meeks, R-Conway, with 89-0 for the first amendment and 88-0 for the second amendment.

The amendments added a co-sponsor from the Senate and added language that would make an international adoption recognized in the foreign country.

The second amendment would also ensure that a police officer acting in an official capacity would not be in violation of the law, such as a police officer posing online as someone willing to accept an adopted minor.

The legislation would make re-homing adopted children a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

The bill also encourages adoptive parents who are struggling with those children to return them to the state.

A companion bill filed by Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, has already been sent to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

HB1648 would require the state Department of Human Services to set post-adoptive rules to make clear what options are available to parents who are struggling with an adopted child and make it illegal for adoptive parents to collect state subsidies if the adopted child has been given to someone else.

These bills were filed after the publication of an Arkansas Times story detailed Rep. Justin Harris' re-homing of two adopted daughters in 2013 to a man who sexual abused the oldest girl.

Harris said at a previous news conference that he and his wife Marsha tried to return the girls, ages 3 and 5 at the time, to DHS because they were too difficult to raise.

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House approves amended re-homing bill

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