Parental Rights Pass in Virginia!
Your calls made a difference! Thank you for standing with us to protect the rights of Virginia's families. Special thanks go first to Mike Farris for having the vision to protect parental rights as fundamental rights, and then to ParentalRights.org and HSLDA for initiating this important legislation, and also to the Family Foundation that worked in support of these bills.
Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-James City County) and Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Fredericksburg) are to be commended for developing a legislative strategy that kept both bills moving forward in the face of amendments and opposition.
Some legislators argued that the court system is already set up to decide what is in the best interest of a child by assigning a guardian ad litem to speak for the child. Delegate Pogge and Senator Reeves stood firm for parents' rights, stating that this legislation would not change any laws, including child abuse laws. It would simply protect a parent's rights against the possibility that the court system might change its mind about parents' rights being fundamental rights.
The General Assembly is no longer silent on this issue. The House voted 69-yes, 26-no and the Senate voted 24-yes, 16-no in support of parental rights. Pending the Governor's signature, they will tell the courts that parents' rights should be protected at the highest level--as fundamental rights--rather than "ordinary" rights that can be disregarded for almost any reason. Both bills include the following language:
1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 1-240.1 as follows:
� 1-240.1. Rights of parents.
A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent's child.
Sports Access Fails
HB 1442, sponsored by Delegate Rob Bell (R- Charlottesville), passed the House with amendments, but failed again to pass the Senate Health and Education Committee by one vote.
Adamant testimony from the same opposing organizations--the Virginia High School League, the Virginia School Boards Association, and the Virginia PTA--again prevailed. Even with testimony from many articulate homeschooling students and parents, the same senators who opposed the bill last year were not persuaded to change their votes.
HEAV Establishes Home Education Month
HEAV requested Senate Education Committee Chairman Senator Steve Martin (R-Chesterfield) introduce a Joint Resolution proclaiming the month of February "Home Education Month in Virginia." SJ 357 passed without opposition.
Senate Joint Resolution No. 357 states, "It is resolved by the Senate, the House of Delegates concurring, that the General Assembly designate February, in 2013 and in each succeeding year, as Home Education Month in Virginia."
HEAV'S 30 Years of Service Recognized
In a surprise move, Senator Martin's office not only drafted the resolution for "Home Education Month in Virginia," but also drafted and introduced a Joint Resolution recognizing HEAV's 30th Anniversary!
Senate Joint Resolution No. 365 commends HEAV for 30 years of service to Virginia's homeschooling families. His resolution recognizes the growth of home instruction and milestones in HEAV's history--from a small group of homeschooling mothers who organized to lobby in the General Assembly, to a statewide organization that responds to hundreds of thousands of phone calls and emails each year and hosts an annual conference with more than 12,000 attendees.
We are deeply grateful to Senator Martin for his recognition of these major milestones in the history of HEAV.