2013 General Assembly Session Begins –
January 18, 2013
The 2013 General Assembly Session began on Wednesday, January 9, with an influx of bills from legislators in both the House and Senate. This short, 45-day legislative session will move quickly; however, there is still a substantial opportunity for negative bills to affect homeschool families. This is why HEAV’s legislative team has been reviewing legislation since early November, why we continue to read bills as they are published, and why we have a lobbyist at the capital as our “eyes and ears.”
Two important bills we are tracking will be heard next week.
The first hearing for the parental rights bill (SB 908) will be this Monday (January 21) at 8 a.m. in Senate Room B.
Call your senator NOW and ask him to vote “yes” on SB 908.
Tell him, “The right of parents to make decisions about their children should be protected as a fundamental right.” Click here for the HSLDA e-lert that includes a list of senators to contact on the Courts of Justice Committee.
For those interested in sports access, the “Tebow Bill” will be coming before the House Students and Early Education Subcommittee for a vote at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 24. This will take place in the Fifth Floor East Conference Room in the General Assembly Building in Richmond.
We’ll do our best to keep you informed about changing legislation as soon as possible. Things move quickly and bills are scheduled to be heard in committee with only 24-hour notice. Look for future Legislative Updates in case immediate action is needed!
Meet our legislative team below and see the bills that are relevant to homeschoolers. I’ve also included legislative tracking links that will make it easier for you to follow bills of interest.
Director of Homeschool Support & Legislative Affairs
HEAV’S Legislative Team
For the fourth year, veteran homeschool father and businessman Bob Shanks of Richmond is representing our homeschool interests at the General Assembly. Bob is long-time advocate of homeschool freedoms and an articulate speaker with experience in sales and marketing. He has been a licensed instructor at the Real Estate Academy teaching real estate law, regulations, and ethics, and is also an instructor with TeenPact. He and his wife, Kathryn, homeschooled their four now-adult children.
Caroline Barnes is a veteran homeschool mom and political activist. She continues to faithfully serve as HEAV’s bill researcher. This former HEAV board member received The Family Foundation’s Tidewater Citizen of the Year Award, ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, and later became chairwoman of the Portsmouth Republican Party. Caroline is a retired Navy Nurse Corps commander. In 2000, she was elected to the Portsmouth School Board. Her sharp eye and humorous comments get us through the monotony of reading thousands of bills.
HEAV president Anne Miller assists in analyzing proposed legislation. Her valuable experience contributes to good legislative decisions. Anne and Yvonne Bunn, HEAV’s director of legislative affairs, have worked together for more than 20 years; they will continue to discuss strategy and track the progress of bills with HEAV’s legislative team.
Legislation To Watch
So far, the bills we are tracking do not directly change the homeschool statute. We’re keeping a watchful eye on the following bills as they could impact homeschoolers: sports access, virtual schools, HPV immunizations for boys, work permits, and parental rights.
HB1442 Public school interscholastic programs; participation of students receiving home instruction. (Delegate Robert Bell)
HB 1490 In-state tuition; deferred action for childhood arrivals. Our lobbyist will ask patron to include homeschool students in in-state tuition rates. (Delegate Kaye Kory)
HB 1614 Human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV); required for all children (meaning boys, also). Exemptions are still available. (Delegate Patrick Hope)
HB 1555 Virginia State Virtual School; established as statewide school division, report. This bill creates a virtual school division that finances and controls virtual schools, and removes virtual programs from individual school district control. (Delegate Richard Bell)
HB 1642 Rights of parents; fundamental right to direct upbringing, etc., shall not be infringed. (Delegate Brenda Pogge)
SB 908 Rights of parents (Senator Bryce Reeves)
HJ 574 First resolution; fundamental rights of parents. (Delegate Brenda Pogge)
If you would like to know when House and Senate committees meet, go to the LIS meetings calendar.
To look up a bill by number, go to the LIS bill database.
To browse the status of bills by issue, go to the Virginia Public Access Project’s Issue Matic.
To watch a live stream of the House of Delegates in session, go to the General Assembly’s online House video feed.
To watch a live stream of the Senate in session, go to the General Assembly’s online Senate video feed.
Committee meetings are not streamed.
To look up contact information for a specific legislator, go to the LIS member directory.
To look up detailed information on legislator demographics, personal finances and campaign history, go to VPAP’s General Assembly database.
For running updates from all the members on Twitter, check out the Richmond Sunlight’s member tweet feed.
Virginia House of Delegates official Twitter handle: @VaHouse
Virginia House of Delegates voting floor: @VaHouseFloor
Virginia Senate official Twitter handle: @VaSenate
Virginia Senate voting floor: @VaSenateFloor
(Thank you WatchDog.org for this helpful information.)