PARENTAL RIGHTS ACTION
Although both parental rights bills have passed the House and Senate, both have been amended. The language in SB 908 specifically protects your fundamental right to direct the education of your child. Although the bill passed the Senate with this language intact, we expect it to face a challenge in the House Courts of Justice Committee.
SB 908, the stronger bill, says, "A parent has a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of the parent's child."
Last week, the House Courts of Justice Committee did not accept this language in the House version of parental rights, HB 1642. Now the companion version of parental rights, HB 1642, is weaker than the Senate version, SB 908.
HB 1642, the weaker bill, now says, "A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of the parent's child."
Because it is important to specifically mention "educational rights," we are joining with Homeschool Legal Defense Association, the Family Foundation, and ParentalRights.org in asking you to call your delegate if he or she is a member of the House Courts of Justice Committee, and ask him or her to "Vote 'yes' on SB 908 without any amendments."
SB 908 will protect parental rights in Virginia as fundamental rights, not "ordinary" rights. A right that is not fundamental will allow the government or court to infringe on the right as long as it has a rational reason to do so.
If you're not sure who your delegate is, you can find your legislator's name here.
House Courts of Justice Committee Members:
Delegate David B. Albo
Delegate Terry G. Kilgore
Delegate Robert B. Bell
Delegate Benjamin L. Cline
Delegate Salvatore R. Iaquinto
Delegate C. Todd Gilbert
Delegate Jackson H. Miller
Delegate G. Manoli Loupassi
Delegate Ronald A. Villanueva
Delegate Gregory D. Habeeb
Delegate Peter F. Farrell
Delegate J. Randall Minchew
Delegate Rick L. Morris
Delegate Joseph P. Johnson, Jr.
Delegate Vivian E. Watts
Delegate David J. Toscano
Delegate Charniele L. Herring
Delegate Jennifer L. McClellan
HB 1442, access to interscholastic activities--also known as the "Tebow Bill"--passed the full House 56-Y, 43-N. It is now in the Senate and has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee. It failed to be reported from this committee by one vote last year.
It is expected to be on the Senate Health and Education Committee agenda this Thursday, February 14 at 8:00 a.m.
If you support homeschool access to public school activities (interscholastic sports, forensics, theater, speech, debate, publications, and other activities regulated by the Virginia High School League), call your senator on the Senate Health and Education Committee before Thursday morning. Committee members are listed here.
You may also attend the hearing or testify in Senate Room B. If you need more details, contact Delegate Rob Bell's office at (804) 698-1058.