VaHomeschoolers Legislative Report: January 24, 2011

by Celeste Land, The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers, Government Affairs

Sports Access Bill Referred to Joint Subcommittee for Further Review

Sports access bill HB 2395 (Rob Bell, R-Charlottesville) was debated in the House Education Committee on Monday, January 24. As expected, speeches and statements in support or opposition were made by the usual parties, including various delegates, our VaHomeschoolers lobbyist Scott Price, concerned parents, the Virginia High School League (VHSL), the Virginia Education Association (VEA), representatives of state principal and superintendent organizations, etc.

Following the debate, Committee Chairman Delegate Bob Tata (R-Virginia Beach) surprised everyone by announcing that instead of a vote, the bill would be sent to a special joint subcommittee who will research the issue this summer and return in 2012 with a recommendation. The subcommittee will consist of members of both political parties from the House Education Committee and Senate Education and Health Committee. They will research how sports access has worked in other states and how various concerns have been addressed.

The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers will be working with this new subcommittee as they research this issue, and will keep our membership informed of any new developments on this issue. VaHomeschoolers would like to thank Delegate Rob Bell and Delegate David Nutter for their support of sports access legislation this year.

Note: The full text of any legislation in this report may be viewed at the Legislative Information System website.

Learn More About Homeschool Sports Access

VaHomeschoolers recognizes that sports access is a complicated and controversial issue. We supported HB 2395 and other similar bills because our membership supports sports access in our annual surveys.

Public school access programs can potentially lead to greater regulation of homeschoolers, which is why VaHomeschoolers always monitors access legislation and policies closely for potential problems or areas of concern. However, not all access programs necessarily result in greater regulation of homeschoolers.

We will be watching the progress of the joint subcommittee closely to ensure that no language is attached to this or other legislation which would negatively impact homeschooling freedoms.

In response to recent questions and concerns from both sides, VaHomeschoolers has posted some frequently asked questions about homeschool sports access to our website. This information will allow our members to make well-informed decisions on this controversial issue.

To Learn More or Take Action

Persons wishing to express an opinion on legislation should contact their own delegate or senator as appropriate. For complete text of any bills, see “Legislative Information” on the General Assembly’s web page or contact VaHomeschoolers for more information.

The General Assembly‚Äôs Constituent Viewpoint office provides a toll-free, intrastate telephone message center (during session) to take calls from citizens of the Commonwealth wishing to express an opinion on legislation. Callers will be asked to provide their name, address, and the issue on which they are expressing their opinion. The message will be transmitted to the constituent’s appropriate legislators. If a caller seeks additional information concerning legislation or wishes to speak directly with a legislator, the operator will provide the telephone number. The hours of operation are from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The number for the toll-free opinion line is (800) 889-0229. Callers in the Richmond area may dial 698-1990.

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