Senator EARL GARRISON
TOURISM AND WILDLIFE Co-Chairman
Senate District 9
MUSKOGEE and WAGONER Counties
For Immediate Release: May 21, 2008
Sen. Earl Garrison
Senate Approves Grandparent Visitation Rights Legislation
The Oklahoma State Senate unanimously approved legislation Wednesday
updating a state statute which protects visitation rights for grandparents.
House Bill 2469 is authored by State Senator Earl
Garrison, D-Muskogee, and Rep. Wade Rousselot, D-Okay. The bill
now goes to Gov. Brad Henry for his approval.
The measure provides that a grandparent may have visitation rights
with a grandchild if the grandchild’s mother dies from complications
related to the birth of a child.
HB 2469 also provides that a grandparent may have visitation rights
with a grandchild when one of the grandchild’s parents has
a felony conviction and been incarcerated in the Oklahoma Department
of Corrections and the grandparent had a preexisting relationship
with the child before the parent’s incarceration.
Senator Garrison says the bill closes a legal loophole that could
have denied visitation rights for some Oklahoma grandparents.
“I am strong proponent of grandparent’s rights,”
Garrison said. “If there is an opportunity to keep grandparents
involved and is in the best interest of a child’s life, then
I think that is a worthwhile goal to pursue. This legislation is
a positive step in the right direction for improving the rights
Robin Hurley of Edmond is one grandparent who is praising the
passage of this bill. Her daughter Veronika died 30 minutes before
giving birth to her daughter Rylee. She was later denied visitation
rights to her granddaughter.
Mrs. Hurley said she decided to pursue legislative action to try
to help other families in her situation.
“I think the passage of this bill is awesome, not just for
myself, but for other families who have been in this situation,”
Mrs. Hurley said. “It’s not fair to the families to
keep the grandparents out of a child’s life who has already
suffered a tremendous loss.’
Rep. Rousselot concurred with Senator Garrison.
“In the 2007 legislative session, we passed a major piece
of legislation enabling grandparents to have visitation with their
grandchild,” Rousselot said. “Since that time, there
have been some legal loopholes which have allowed visitation court
cases to be overturned and not in favor of the grandparents. This
legislative session, we have reviewed the issue and tried to plug
some of those loopholes. We certainly always want to respect the
rights of parents, but we also feel that grandparents who have a
good relationship with their grandchild should also have visitation
For more information contact:
Sen. Garrison's Office: (405) 521-5533