MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - This week, the Alabama Senate passed a bill that would give grandparents visitation rights to their grandchildren. The bill passed the Alabama House of Representatives in April. It now heads to the Governor for his signature.
Representative Harry Shiver of Bay Minette sponsored the legislation, HB 348.
Richard Deblase of Mobile is one of the biggest supporters of the legislation, which is nicknamed the "Grandparent's Bill." For him, the issue is personal.
"We need to protect our grandchildren as much as possible. If this can help one child, it's worth it," said Deblase in a previous interview.
Prosecutors said in 2010, Deblase's grandchildren, Natalie and Jonathan Chase Deblase, were killed by their father and stepmother, John Deblase and Heather Keaton.
Before they were killed, Deblase said he always asked to see his grandchildren, but he was never allowed.
Deblase said he will never know whether he would have been able to intervene before the deaths, but he does believe that the current bill will help other grandparents in similar situations.
"This will at least enable the person to see the condition the grandchildren are under and possibly be able to help them," he said. "If you don't know, you can't help."
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