FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Scott Conklin
Conklin supports bill to prevent child abductions
HARRISBURG, April 5 – Centre County state Rep. Scott Conklin said he voted for legislation (H.B. 2136) that aims to prevent a child from being abducted by a parent.
"What we're doing is giving the courts more guidance and authority on this issue," Conklin said.
The House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill. Conklin said he introduced similar legislation (H.B. 762) earlier this legislative session.
Under the approved bill, courts could consider 13 factors to determine if there is a risk for abduction. Those factors include a previous attempt or threat to abduct a child, an attempt to obtain a child’s birth certificate, school, or medical records, sudden applications for passports or visas and strong family, financial, or cultural ties to a foreign country.
If a court determines a parent poses a risk of abduction, it would be able to restrict the child's travel when he or she is with the parent, restrict access to the child by that parent and require the at-risk parent to surrender any passport or visa held for the child.
Courts can also take emergency action and have law enforcement take custody of a child to prevent abduction. In those cases, a hearing would have to be held as soon as possible.
"There's a misnomer when it comes to child abduction," Conklin said. "Many cases involve someone a child is closest to, a mother or father. We can remedy that trend with this legislation."
In 2006, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws met and drafted the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act to assist states in preventing these abductions. Eleven states have enacted the legislation, and it has been introduced in four states, including Pennsylvania, this year.
The legislation now goes before the state Senate.