Which states will be the first to pass a modern family law overhaul?
The White House and congressional Republicans on Thursday unveiled legislation aimed at overhauling the nation’s family law system.
The legislation is part of a broader push to improve the lives of families and children in the wake of the devastating opioid crisis that swept through communities across the country, with advocates calling the legislation a “solution to the opioid epidemic.”
The bill would create a new “family justice commission” with broad powers to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other sexual abuse and domestic violence and to enforce laws that protect victims, according to a White House release.
The bill also would expand family justice protections for people with disabilities and expand protections for families in public housing and on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The White House has also been pushing the Congress to pass legislation that would grant legal protections to people with PTSD, but has been reluctant to name names because of the political fallout from the opioid crisis.
It is unclear how many states would become the first in 2017 to pass the new law.
The bill does not define “family law,” but advocates say it would include the traditional family structure, which was based on married couples in an arranged marriage.
The traditional family is more defined by marriage, according a Congressional Research Service report.
States have been under pressure from some in the Trump administration to pass new family law changes in the face of rising domestic violence violence and sexual assault rates, which experts say are directly related to the increase in opioid addiction.
Critics of the bill say the Trump White House is trying to use the family law debate to score political points ahead of next year’s midterm elections.