For Immediate Release:
April 11, 2017 (Austin, TX) – When The Quorum Report published a sensational story about death threats to lobbyist Amy Bresnen (which she attributed to the Father’s Rights Movement and Americans For Parental Equality), we requested copies of the referenced communications from the Texas DPS.
It took three separate requests before we were finally given access to the recording and documents which shed light on why Rep. James White has backed away from the equal parenting bill he filed on behalf of some constituents and all children of Texas.
In the voicemail recording, an unnamed man voiced his displeasure to Amy Bresnen about the way she represents her husband’s client – The Texas Family Law Foundation – which supports continued discrimination in divorce proceedings involving children. This man used a few cuss words, but he did not threaten bodily harm or death to the Bresnens. He simply suggested that they meet so that the Bresnens could explain to him how it is in the best interest of his child to only see him four days a month.
We also obtained screenshots that the Bresnens took of comments on the AFPE and TFRM Facebook pages relating to violence against the Bresnens. As we mentioned in our statement to The Quorum Report, we do not condone these types of comments or this method of advocacy, and we have made announcements that we will remove these types of comments if we see them in the future.
It is unclear whether Amy Bresnen reported the voicemail to the media first or to the DPS. The fact that it took several requests before we finally received the evidence suggests that DPS was not the first call she made.
Although the Bresnens reported the voicemail and those empty threats to the Texas DPS, this is no reason to stop HB 453 from having a hearing. The citizens of Texas have spoken and we want a hearing. We want Representatives James White and Harold Dutton to show some INTEGRITY and do what is right even though it may not be popular with the lobbyists and special interest groups. Death threats didn’t stop Tinderhold, Kolkhorst, or Isaac from pursuing their bills.
Rep. Tony Tinderholt, (R-Arlington) received death threats after filing his bill to criminalize abortion. Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) is said to have received death threats because she dared to carry SB 6, the Texas Privacy Act. Apparently, Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) has also received death threats because he stood with families concerned about the Dripping Springs ISD’s policy allowing a 9-year-old boy with gender dysphoria to share the bathroom with 9-year-old girls – without notice to parents.
And Sen. Kolkhorst was not so fearful that she shied away from carrying the Privacy Act on behalf of girls and women at public schools and universities. Whether Rep. Jason Isaac will cave to death threats rather than support Dripping Springs families remains to be seen.
Rep. James White, who was never threatened, apparently HAS backed away from his bill on behalf of children, because the Bresnens received a non-threatening voicemail and some disgruntled victims of family court made some unwise statements about them on Facebook. Although White has completed all the necessary steps and requested a hearing on his bill, the Chairman of the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee, Rep. Harold Dutton, has not placed it on the agenda for a hearing.
Several calls have been made to Representative Dutton’s office requesting a hearing on HB 453, but the answer has been the same, “Representative White needs to request a hearing.” We obtained a letter from Representative White to Representative Dutton through an open records request. In the letter dated February 21, 2017, Representative White states, “I respectfully request that you would set House Bill 453, relating to equal parenting orders in suits affecting the parent-child relationship, for a hearing with the Juvenile Justice & Family Issues Committee. I have included the materials in accordance with your memo.”
It appears that Representative White has done all that he needs to do to have a hearing. Yet, Representative Dutton has not placed it on the agenda for a hearing because he alleges that Representative White has not requested a hearing. Both of these offices cannot simultaneously be telling the truth. They are both pointing the finger at each other while the bill slowly dies in committee. There is still time for the bill to get a hearing but at this point in the session, there is no time for it to make it to the floor for a full house vote.
Using a strategy employed successfully by many lawyers in divorce involving children, the Bresnens are claiming that they are victims in order to get their way at the Capitol. Enough is enough. It is time for true equality in family courts. Representative White, Representative Dutton, we want a hearing on HB 453. Stop playing games with the lives of our children.
Americans For Parental Equality