- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama lawmakers have voted to allow grandparents to petition the courts for visitation rights with their grandchildren.

State senators approved the bill Tuesday on a 20-9 vote. It now goes to Gov. Robert Bentley for his signature.

Courts have twice struck down earlier versions of the Grandparents Visitation Act. The Court of Civil Appeals last year said the law violated the rights of parents to decide things for their children.

Rep. Mike Jones said, unlike previous laws, the new bill sets out tougher standards that grandparents must meet to be eligible for visitation. Grandparents must be able to show they had a meaningful relationship with the child.

Opposed senators said parents might have valid reasons for keeping their children away from the grandparents.

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