“When it comes to domestic violence legislation, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and Senator Joe Biden (D-Del) owns an asphalt company.
“Biden’s latest domestic violence bill is the National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act, which amends Biden’s Violence Against Women Act to create an extensive network of volunteer attorneys to help abused women. The attorneys would provide free legal help in forging divorce or separation agreements and in winning child custody…
“S.1515 will do some good in aiding abused low-income women. The problem is that the bill will also greatly exacerbate the already widespread problem of false domestic violence claims being used to strip decent, loving fathers of custody of their children. There is no mechanism within the bill to distinguish between false accusations and legitimate ones.”
Rush Limbaugh discussed S1515 on his show last week after a men’s activist called in and told him about it. The bill will enlist 100,000 volunteer attorneys to help purportedly abused women win custody of their children from their alleged abusers. I criticized the bill in my co-authored column Biden’s Misguided S1515 Will Exacerbate Domestic Violence System’s Problems (Philadelphia Daily News, 12/7/07).
The National Organization for Women has a campaign in support of the bill, and the bill is also supported by the American Bar Association and the Family Violence Prevention Fund. The bill can be seen here. Biden’s pitch for the bill from his defunct presidential campaign can be seen here.
Shared parenting advocate Ron Grignol (pictured), who in 2005 ran for the Virginia state legislature and made shared parenting one of the key issues of his campaign, recently sent out an update on the bill. Grignol writes:
“The bill S1515 has a price tag of 55.5 million over 5 years. I checked the language of the bill and calculated 55.5 million.
“I was talking to a Senate Judiciary Committee staffer yesterday about VAWA and she told me that Senator Coburn (R-OK) raised objections on the price tag. She said even Biden didn’t believe it was 55.5 million until he was shown that this was in fact the case.
“Coburn started a debate but the bill passed out of committee. It looks like the bill passed with a voice vote which is what committee members do when they don’t want their vote to be recorded. However, the bill still has a long way to go to become law.”