by John Carey, CHEWV’s Legislative Liaison
The 60 Day Regular Legislative Session begins on January 9th. Here are some links to keep you in the loop as the session progresses, as well as a secret weapon that only a loving parent can employ.
Contact Info for Legislators
It is imperative that homeschool families know who their legislators are and how to contact them. It may come as a surprise, but experience has shown that if a Delegate is contacted by as few as ten constituents, they will reconsider their position on any issue. Since Senators cover a larger district, typically twenty-five contacts are viewed as significant.
Use this link to access capitol phone numbers and email addresses for all thirty-four state Senators and all one hundred Delegates.
Typically, two thousand pieces of legislation are introduced each regular session; CHEWV and HSLDA will be evaluating all two thousand pieces to keep you abreast of any threats to homeschooling. Legislative threats may come in the form of a direct attack on homeschooling or as an attack on religious liberty and parental rights, the two pillars that support the right to homeschool.
Use this link to read legislation and observe its progress.
Seeing Through the Fog
Legislation may sometimes be written in a way that obscures its true purpose. A key goal of CHEWV and HSLDA is to monitor and to analyze legislation to discern its purpose and effects, whether intentional or unintentional. Knowing the true purpose and potential consequences of a bill will enable you to educate your state legislator and convince them to support your position.
Here is an example from last session: https://www.heritagecwv.org/active-legislation/hs-parental-rights/
The Secret Weapon
Little breaks down barriers of communication more powerfully than a parent whose primary reason for speaking is that they love their children as their Lord commands. This is the homeschool community’s secret weapon: parents unwilling to compromise in doing what is best, right, and true when it comes to those who have been entrusted to their care.
In my two decades of lobbying at the State Capitol as CHEWV’s representative, I have seen this secret weapon employed repeatedly by hundreds of individuals. It takes a legislator from the stages of merely hearing what we have to say to the place where they stop, take the time to listen, and finally choose to support our position.
This secret weapon can only be exercised by those who are dependent on their God through prayer and the reading of His word. This message can only truly be heard by legislators when parents speak firmly yet respectfully to those who will listen. It is one way that those who trust God find themselves working together with Him to accomplish His purposes.
It is one the teachers’ unions do not possess. In fact, few groups at the State Capitol besides homeschool parents wield this powerful tool to preserve freedom. So as this session progresses, use the resources provided to help you understand the issues and then to communicate with your legislators as the need arises. But most of all, keep first things first and work together with God to bring success – a success energized through prayer and rooted in our love for God and our children.
“4 Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”