An Urgent Call to Action... 
                     ...and a Unique Opportunity for You!


January 28, 2014




There is a very important action item that needs your attention now--plus, one unique opportunity for you, as a homeschooler, to make this a hands-on study of the legislative process for your student.


Oppose This Threat to Religious Exemption 

Last week, many of you responded to our appeal to make calls to the Rules Committee members asking them to oppose HJ 92, a request for a study of religious exemption. Thank you! Your phone calls are making a difference.


Although the Rules Committee failed to meet last week, the committee chairman has put HJ 92 on the agenda for this Thursday at 4 p.m. If your legislator is on the Rules Committee, now is the time to ask him to vote "no" on a study of religious exemption. HEAV is opposed to this resolution because it is a move toward limiting our hard-won homeschool freedoms. See HEAV's request for action below for more information.


Come to Day at the Capitol

Next week, you're invited to join us for Day at the Capitol, on Tuesday, February 4. One of the reasons we schedule Day at the Capitol during the legislative session is so parents and students can actively participate in the legislative process, not just read about it in a textbook. This year, you have a unique opportunity--just by your presence--to help protect religious freedom for homeschooling families. I hope you will plan to visit your legislators and let them know that you appreciate their work.


We also have a new guest speaker for Day at the Capitol. Scott Woodruff, HSLDA's Virginia attorney, will briefly speak to our group concerning the importance of religious freedom.


Register for Day at the Capitol NOW! We have limited space available.


Below you will find an action item regarding HJ 92 and the status of other important legislation--tax credits, sports access, and standardized achievement test changes. All of these bills could change the way you homeschool.



Yvonne Bunn

HEAV Director of Legislative Affairs

Religious Exemption Study - HJ 92

Now is your opportunity to stand with us for homeschool freedoms! Click here for simple and clear reasons to oppose HJ 92 when you call or e-mail your legislator.


Find out if your legislator is one of the committee members on the Rules Committee. The House Rules Committee will take the first votes on the proposed religious exemption study. Click here for a list of committee members and their contact information.


This study will open the door to a review of the religious exemption statute as well as possible recommendations from the Department of Education as to how the religious exemption statute should be changed.  


ACTION: If your legislator is listed as a member of the Rules Committee, contact him today!


Homeschool Tax Credits - HB 239

At HEAV's request, Delegate David Ramadan (R-Dulles) introduced tax-credit legislation to relieve the cost of homeschool expenses. The bill will allow a tax credit for the cost of homeschool-related materials and services for parents who have complied with the home-instruction statute. The credit will equal the amount actually paid or $500 per child, whichever is less; however, the credit cannot exceed $2,000 per taxable year. The bill will be heard Wednesday, January 29, in Finance Subcommittee #2.


Sports Access - HB 63

Delegate Rob Bell's (R-Charlottesville) sports-access bill, known as the Tebow bill, passed the House Education Committee (13-Y, 8-N). Limited debate was heard because of a full agenda and a familiarity with the arguments from previous years. Ken Tilley, of the Virginia High School League, opposed the bill, as did the Virginia Education Association and the PTA. A sixth-grade homeschooler from Manassas spoke with passion as she described her desire to participate in gymnastics.  


The full House will now debate and vote on the legislation. If it passes the House, it will then begin the same process on the Senate side--subcommittee, committee, and full Senate vote. If you support sports access for homeschoolers, call your delegate immediately. You can find contact information here.


Standardized Achievement Tests - HB 447

HEAV and Homeschool Legal Defense Association requested Delegate Randall Minchew (R-Leesburg) to delete the section in HB 447 regarding homeschool achievement tests. We believe the new language will require homeschool parents to use the most recently normed standardized achievement tests for yearly assessments. Delegate Minchew did not realize this section of the SOL assessment bill would negatively affect homeschoolers. He has graciously agreed to remove the language.


There are ten bills related to reforming the SOL testing structure. The House Education Committee plans to combine these bills into one master bill. Delegate Minchew indicated to HEAV lobbyist Bob Shanks that he will definitely work toward removing the requirement for homeschoolers to use only newly normed standardized achievement tests.


Please continue to pray for our legislative team-lobbyist Bob Shanks, bill researcher Caroline Barnes, HEAV president Anne Miller, and me.