In a nearly unanimous vote of 18 to 1, HB 1663 regarding home education requirements, advances to the entire House of Representatives with an Ought to Pass with Amendment (OTP/A) recommendation from the House Education Committee. The video of the committee’s first exec session on March 7 is available here starting at 4:27:00. The second one on March 8 is available here and discussion on HB 1663 begins at mark 5:47:21.
The successful amendment has clearer and simpler language than the bill as introduced and addresses nearly all of the same issues. Part 1 and 2 from the bill as introduced were not changed. The rest is found in the amendment, #1028h.
- Requires all districts to adopt an Equal Access policy.
- Simplifies termination to mirror the initial notification language.
- Removes language that could imply home-ed programs need approval by Participating Agencies.
- Removes inconsistencies regarding who to notify and when.
- Removes unequitable academic achievement requirements.
- Adds explicit protection for home-educated children with special education differences.
Read about the public hearing for HB 1663 here. The article includes a link to the video recording and testimony submitted on behalf of GSHE.
Next Step: Full House Vote
HB 1663 is expected to have a vote in the House of Representatives when they meet the week of March 14. We will confirm when the House Calendar is published later this week.
The bill will be on the Consent Calendar, meaning it will be voted on as a block with other bills that received strong votes out of committee. However, any bill may be pulled for an individual vote.
We encourage families to email their own state reps to support unfunded homeschoolers, requesting an affirmative vote on HB 1663.
Because reps will be handling numerous bills, we recommend the email subject line clearly indicate the bill number, HB 1663, and explicitly say that it is about unfunded homeschoolers so as not to confuse it with other legislation. Just a couple sentences is sufficient, clearly indicate your position on the bill as amended, and mention you are a constituent. Send an email no later than Tuesday, March 15, to help ensure your state reps see it before the House session.
Only if the bill is passed will it advance to the Senate in late spring in what is called “cross over.” This is when the House and Senate essentially trade surviving bills. If we are successful, the Senate Education Committee will schedule a public hearing, just like what occurred in the House Education Committee, and the whole process is repeated.
Tips and Resources
We created resources to help families effectively prepare communications to their legislators and it is available here.
We encourage GSHE homeschooling members to join our Facebook group, GSHE Action, where we focus exclusively on news, legislation, and issues that impact homeschool freedom.
It is very important that homeschoolers stay informed and make a commitment to be engaged. What does that mean? That means following along in GSHE Action where we will give you all the inside information and tips to support and defend homeschool freedom. It means you will need to send multiple emails to committee members, maybe call them, and try to attend public hearings. The State House has remote sign-in and viewing, but testimony must be in-person.
The key to success is YOU. Don't be passive here, hoping someone else will send a brief email or make that call. This will impact your children for years to come and you need to make it happen. GSHE will help, but we can't do it for you.
In anticipation of the legislative season, GSHE created tools to help families to TAKE ACTION and GET INVOLVED.
Our Make a Difference page includes several ways to easily get involved and not only engage in Concord, but help your neighbors and friends learn more about homeschooling.
We also created a handy reference page with legislators' contact information for the House and Senate education committees. It is easy to reach out to them on matters you care about.
Finally, we created an overview of the legislative process so you can follow along with how Concord works.
GSHE is a registered 501c4, all-volunteer home education support group. This allows us to take a position on legislation that impacts our community and accept donations.
By Michelle Levell