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Senator Schoenbeck,

Thank you for pointing out (to the committee) that this is not a shared parenting bill as amended.

In regard to Max Gors Comments, "who will get the kids", a common sense and constitutionally sound response is, "both parents already have full custody of their children" - they both have custody and it must remain until there is a compelling reason to go otherwise. "they both get the kids like they always have" - they now have separate homes.

I sincerely hope that you and the other members will be at your Cracker Barrels this weekend.

I hope that you and the other committee members will decide to defend the right of children to have full access to parents unless there is a compelling reason not to do so, and the right of all parents rights to fully parent their children after divorce. This should not be the political and self-serving issue it has become.
My children are ready for a shared parenting law. My daughter had tears in her eyes last night when I told her I might have to go back to Pierre next week and wouldn't be able to spend time with them after school as I usually do. South Dakota is ready for a shared parenting law. Perhaps most attorneys and the Judicial system aren't ready for it. But it is the Legislature and Governor who make the laws in our state, as they represent the voice of the ordinary, common person in South Dakota, including children, their mother and myself. I have over three hundred signatures of ordinary and common people in South Dakota and counting.

Every one of these committee members, represent not only their district but our district as well. Granted, it is an emotional issue but please do not disregard our passion - these are our children. It is an emotional issue which is a result of the passion and love for our children - my children. I have and will continue to go the extra mile for my children despite "the system". Some parents do not have a passion for their children, which is unfortunate, but most who are advocating for this bill do. One has to experience the "system" to fully understand where we are coming from and the problems this "system" is causing. Would there be so many people involved in this issue if the "system" was working?
If you see fathers or mothers as self-serving, then you can't see them as the nurturers they are. There will always be those whose motive isn't pure (not only in this area but many others) and that is part of the reason for our organization. To teach them what is most important - their children. Yet, how can we show them a better way when our State does not. My motive is pure as are many others. It is an extremely important issue for our children. Our voice is loud and clear.

It is unfortunate that Committee members cannot see how important mothers AND dads are to children, but then again, they are not working with children (and parents) as Senator Kooistra and I have. I should think they would know, if they are parents and could imagine the tragedy that occurs if both parents are not maximally involved in their child's lives. Yet the stereotypes remain.

How many more prisons are we going to build in the future in South Dakota for those adults who don't have both parents actively in their lives as children?

Our Lord has a great hand in this and I walk by faith.

I appreciate the diligent effort of the committee and yourself. I respectfully request that this become a shared parenting bill.

Thank you,
Steve Mathis

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