Delegate Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville) has informed us that his bill, HB 63 (public school sports access for homeschoolers), is scheduled for a subcommittee hearing this Wednesday, January 22 on the first floor, House Room D of the General Assembly Building, at 910 Capitol Street in Richmond. This subcommittee meets upon adjournment of the full House Education Committee, which commences at 8:30 a.m. We have no way of knowing how long the full committee will meet, but, as it is early in the session, do not expect it to be particularly long. For those attending, we recommend arriving by 9 a.m to assure you do not miss the hearing.
The House Education Chair, Del. Steve Landes, has said he would like to have all testimony occur in the subcommittees this year. 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. They have repeatedly told us they hear from more people who oppose it than those who support it. They need to hear from many more of us – and our friends, family members and neighbors, too. And it means this could be your only chance to testify before any members of the House of Delegates.
This is especially important if your delegate is a member of the Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee of the House Education Committee, as these are the legislators who will be voting this 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)
Bob Brink (D-Arlington)
Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg)
Peter Farrell (R-Henrico)
Daun Hester (D-Norfolk)
Jim LeMunyon (R-Oak Hill)
Scott Ligamfelter (R-Woodbridge)
Joseph Morrissey (R-Highland Springs)
Brenda Pogge (R-Williamsburg)
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 your delegate by clicking the button that appears. Ask them to “Please vote yes on HB 63” when it comes 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 63). 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. 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. If you are planning to attend, please email GovtAffairs so that should anything change at the last minute we can let you know. 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 63. 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.