Legislative Update: January 30, 2013

Sports Access Update: House Success, Senate Hearing Expected

HB 1442, Del. Rob Bell’s (R-Albemarle) homeschool sports access bill, reported favorably from the House Education Committee this Monday, January 28. That means it passed, with a vote of 13-8!  It was “read” for the first time on the floor of the House of Delegates yesterday, and we expect it will receive its second reading today, followed by a third reading and floor vote tomorrow.  Then it will cross over to the Senate next week to begin the second part of its legislative journey.

Last year’s bill passed in the House by a vote of 59-39, and we hope for similar levels of support this year. It’s important to call or email your delegate (if you have not already) to ask him or her to “Vote Yes on HB 1442.” Please do this today or first thing tomorrow morning.

The Senate version of the bill, SB 812, introduced by Sen. Tom Garrett (R-Lynchburg), is expected to be stricken by its patron in committee tomorrow. This means that it will not be debated or voted upon, since HB 1442 seems clearly to be headed for the Senate, where we expect it will be heard in committee sometime in the next two weeks.

Showdown in the Senate

he next hurdle for HB 1442, after the House floor, is the Senate Education and Health Committee, where last year’s sports access bill failed by a single vote. Sen. Garrett and Del. Bell are hoping to pick up one more vote in the 15-member committee this year.  Seven senators voted in favor of last year’s bill and are expected to, or have already pledged to, do the same this year (in fact, Sen. Garrett serves on this committee, and he is one of those seven). We hope that one more senator will vote yes and allow this bill to proceed to the floor of the Senate.

Listed below are the committee members. If any of these is your senator, it is especially important that you contact him or her to express your support for HB 1442. (If your senator is not on the committee, we are still requesting that you contact him or her to ask for a YES vote if the bill reaches the full Senate.)

Voted NO in 2012

Sen. George Barker (D-Alexandria)
Sen. Harry Blevins (R-Chesapeake)
Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston)
Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton)
Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth)
Sen. John Miller (D-Newport News)
Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk)
Sen. Richard Saslaw (D-Springfield)

Voted YES in 2012

(Chairman) Sen. Stephen Martin (R-Chesterfield)
Sen. Richard Black (R-Leesburg)
Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson)
Sen. Thomas Garrett (R-Lynchburg)
Sen. Jeffrey McWaters (R-Virginia Beach)
Sen. Stephen Newman (R-Forest)
Sen. Ralph Smith (R-Roanoke)

What You Can Do to Help

  1. Call or email your senator and your delegate. If you have not yet done so, now is the time. Identify your legislators and contact them right away. Ask them to “Vote YES on HB 1442″
  2. Ask others to call and email their legislators. It only takes a few minutes. Their message can be simple: “Please vote YES on HB 1442” Support from non-homeschooling friends, neighbors and family members is actually very helpful, too.
  3. Prepare to come to Richmond if possible. The Senate Education and Health Committee meets on Thursday mornings at 8 a.m. We need supporters in the room when HB 1442 is heard in this committee.  to show the committee members that this issue matters to Virginians. As soon as we have information on the exact date (likely to be 2/7 or 2/14), we will share it with you.

To Learn More

Visit our new Homeschool Sports Access web page! Read our position statement on the bills, peruse our press releases, find out how sports access works for homeschoolers in other states, and learn more about what VaHomeschoolers is doing to help create access for Virginia’s homeschooling students to public school sports and activities.

Contact VaHomeschoolers

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

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