VaHomeschoolers Legislative Report – January 17, 2013

Hearing Scheduled for HB 1442 on Thursday, 1/24

VaHomeschoolers promised to update you as soon as we had any more information on this year’s sports access bills, and now we have some news to share. Delegate Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville) has informed us that his bill, HB 1442, is scheduled for a subcommittee hearing next Thursday, January 24, at 7:30 a.m. in the 5th Floor, East Conference Room of the General Assembly Building, at 910 Capitol Street in Richmond.

What does this mean? It means that homeschoolers who would like to see this issue get resolved this year should take action now. Legislators need to know that homeschoolers care about this bill.  Last year they told us they heard from more people who opposed it than those who supported it. They need to hear from many more of us – and our friends, family members and neighbors, too.

This is especially important if your delegate is a member of the Students and Early Education Subcommittee of the House Education Committee, as these are the legislators who will be voting next week. If your delegate is listed below, your calls and emails right now are particularly important (just click the name to get their contact information):

Richard Bell (R-Staunton)
Daun Hester (D-Norfolk)
Mark Keam (D-Vienna)
Steven Landes (R-Weyers Cave)
Joseph Morrissey (R-Highland Springs)
Roxann Robinson (R-Chesterfield)
Christopher Stolle (R-Virginia Beach)
Joseph Yost (R-Blacksburg)

What You Can Do

1.  Send an email. Now is the time to place calls and send emails. Remember, legislators are most interested in hearing from their own constituents. Identify your legislators on the General Assembly website, then send an email to both your delegate and your senator by clicking the button that appears (your message will go to both of them). Ask them to “Please vote yes on HB 1442 and SB 812” when they come before them. If you would like to, let them know why the issue of homeschool sports access matters to you.

2.  Make a phone call. Take a few minutes to call the General Assembly “Constituent Viewpoint” number at 1-800-889-0229. You will be asked for your name, address, and the issue on which you are expressing your opinion (be sure to specifically refer to HB 1442 and SB 812). Your message will be transmitted to your legislators. (You can also request the number to speak with your legislator’s office directly.)

3.  Plan a trip to Richmond. It’s early in the morning and it’s a long drive for many of us, but when legislators see families care enough to come, and hear what homeschooled students have to say in testimony, they are more likely to consider the bill.  Please consider making the trip and encouraging friends to come, too.  (If the bill succeeds next week there will be more hearings that are just as important.)  Plan to arrive early, and consider helping your child to write and/or rehearse a very short statement explaining why this bill matters to him or her personally.  Please note that there is no parking at the General Assembly Buiding itself.  Leave plenty of extra time to find public parking. 

4.  Share this information. Please send this email to friends and family and ask them to support these bills. Ask them to contact their legislators to express support for HB 1442 and SB 812. It only takes a moment, but it will make a big impact.

5.  Share our website!  VaHomeschoolers has put together a great deal of information about homeschool sports access on our new website.  Let people know that they can learn about what the bills really say, why they are worthy of support, what other states are doing, and much more by visiting our new Homeschool Sports Access page.  No one has done more to research this issue than we have, and we want as many people as possible to recognize where they should come to get informed.

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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