VaHomeschoolers Legislative Report – February 6, 2012

by Amy Wilson, VaHomeschoolers Director of Government Affairs

Fate of Homeschool Sports Access Bill in Question
Please Contact Your Delegate!

**Please consider sharing this important message with your local homeschooling groups**

HB 947, which would allow homeschooled students an opportunity to try out for sports and other programs at their local public high schools, is poised in an historic position. For the first time in more than half a decade of effort to enact legislation of this type, this bill faces a real possibility of approval in the Virginia House of Delegates and an opportunity to move on to the Senate. Unfortunately, a last-minute, high-pressure campaign against the bill may stand in its way.

Status of HB 947

HB 947 was approved by the House Education Committee by a vote of 9-6 last Wednesday, February 1, and was read for the first time on the House floor the following day. On both Friday and today, Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville), the bill’s patron, has asked that HB 947 be “passed by” for the day in order to postpone discussion and voting until he feels it has sufficient support to ensure its success.

The Opposition is Strong

While this bill has met with more success this year than ever in the past, its enactment into law is not a “sure thing.” The Virginia High School League and others who oppose sports access for homeschooled students are working very hard to reach Virginia’s legislators with their message.

The Virginia PTA, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, the Virginia School Boards Association and the Virginia Education Association all oppose the bill, and, together with VHSL, they are working to mobilize parents, students, teachers, coaches, superintendents and school board members across the state to urge legislators to vote against it.

Please Take Action Now

Every delegate in Virginia is getting heavy pressure, drummed up by the Virginia High School League, to oppose this bill. Even conservative Republicans in rural districts, where homeschooled students stand to benefit significantly from the opportunity this bill represents, are not necessarily expected to support it.

Unless your delegate has specifically pledged to support HB 947, please assume that he or she may not, and ask him or her to do so right now. Virginia’s homeschooling community has worked hard to advance the cause of homeschool sports access, with faithful support from Del. Bell, and we would all like to see this effort to bear fruit.

Del. Bell has asked that every individual who supports this bill please contact their delegates immediately to ask them to vote in favor.

If you support this bill, please take the following steps now:

  • Identify your delegate and get contact information using the General Assembly’s Who’s My Legislator page.
  • Call or email your delegate this evening or first thing tomorrow morning, before 8 am if you can. You don’t need to be eloquent or make a long statement — the delegate’s administrative assistants will simply make a tally of how many constituents are for and how many are against the bill.
  • Pass on this information to others in Virginia who may support this bill, whether they homeschool or not — friends, neighbors, coaches and relatives all can call their legislators. VaHomeschoolers has prepared a list of reasons to support HB 947 if they have questions.

Contact VaHomeschoolers

If you have any questions or concerns about this legislation, or any other legislative issue, please contact Amy Wilson, VaHomeschoolers Director of Government Affairs.

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The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers is a non-profit public charity with 501(c)(3) status; your donation is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. A financial statement is available from the Virginia Division of Consumer Affairs upon request.

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