HARRISBURG – Sen. Doug Mastriano of Adams, Cumberland, & York Counties formally announced the introduction of a state statute that explicitly defines and protects parental rights as fundamental rights. Senate Bill 996 will make it clear that the state government or any of its political subdivisions may not infringe upon the fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of their minor child. The statute would prevent parental rights from being eroded through hostile court actions in the future and prevent the courts from ruling parental rights as “ordinary” rights. When rights are considered “ordinary,” the government has more leeway in overriding the decisions of parents. Passage of the measure would join PA with 12 other states that currently recognize a parental rights statute. The bill is now before the Senate State Government Committee for consideration.