The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers was proudly represented yesterday by not only its lobbyist, Scott Price, but by many articulate homeschooled students who spoke in support of HB 63. In spite of their heartfelt and intelligent testimony, the Senate Education and Health Committee still voted 9 to 6 to pass by indefinitely the bill, which means the bill died.
Going into yesterday’s hearing, Del. Rob Bell (R-Albemarle), the patron of HB 63 and VaHomeschoolers knew it was going to be difficult to get the votes we needed. Del. Bell presented some new testimony, sharing with the committee members that all but one of the school divisions they represented allowed part time enrollment. This means that those school divisions already saw value in building community with homeschoolers and do not believe it has to be an all or nothing choice as opponents of this bill have often said. He also shared the latest findings from the VCU’s Commonwealth Education Poll that showed this year even more of the public support the idea of homeschoolers having access to high school sports programs (72% this year compared to 64% last year). Read the full VCU Commonwealth Education Poll report here. Unfortunately, those Senators opposed to the bill were not open to hearing that this is an option that does work and is wanted by a majority. VaHomeschoolers is grateful to Del. Rob Bell for once again being an outstanding patron of the sports access bill.
News on other bills VaHomeschoolers has been following
Del. David Ramadan’s (R-South Riding) homeschool tax credit bill, HB 239, and Del. David LaRock’s (R-Loudoun) homeschool and private school tax credit bill, HB 950, were both left in Finance, meaning they were not voted upon and subsequently died.
The other bill relevant to homeschoolers this session was HB 221, patroned by Del Richard Bell (R-Staunton), which provided funding guidance in regards to student residential facilities. The bill in its original form had troublesome language for homeschoolers but was amended by the patron so that homeschoolers were no longer impacted. The bill later died in Appropriations.
These were the last bills of interest to homeschoolers this General Assembly session.
Thank you to our Legislative Team
For the past two months volunteers have nightly monitored the proposed legislation of this General Assembly session. Thanks to their efforts, we discovered two bills that would have harmed homeschoolers and we were able to defeat one and amend the other. We appreciate their service in helping to protect all homeschoolers in Virginia. VaHomeschoolers would also like to thank Jim Angel, our media representative, for speaking to multiple reporters this year on the issue of sports access and religious exemption.
Should you have questions or comments on these bills or any others, please feel free to write govtaffairs.