2024 Legislative Wrap-Up

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Featured Articles, Legislative, News

The 2024 session of the WV Legislature has now come to a close. Here is a brief summary of the two bills we watched closely :

HB 4945

Going into this year’s session, CHEWV’s top priority was to maintain a separate legal category for private homeschooling as needed changes and updates were made to the Hope Scholarship program.  We worked for several months prior to the session educating legislators about the necessity and benefits of keeping privately-funded homeschooling in its own category. We are most grateful to the legislators who heard our concerns and crafted legislation that helped to maintain privately-funded homeschooling as a safety net for all families. HB 4595 made its way through the legislature with little fanfare and passed on the day prior to the end of the session.

HB 5108

Introduced by Delegate Kathie Crouse, HB 5108 would have removed the requirements for privately-funded homeschoolers to submit academic assessment results to the counties. Delegate Fluharty introduced an amendment that would have inserted a “Raylee’s Law” type of provision into the homeschool law. This stirred up a passionate floor debate, and it was uncertain whether the amendment would be voted up or down. Delegate Steele, a long time supporter of homeschooling families, attempted to work with Delegate Fluharty on a compromise that would narrow the scope of the amendment. With only short notice from the time the revised amendment language was made public until the day it would be voted on by the House, CHEWV and HSLDA issued an alert about the amendment, maintaining that the language was still too broad and could cause unjust problems for homeschool families.  After homeschoolers expressed their concerns, Delegate Kirby introduced an additional amendment to HB 5108 which made clear that the new requirements would only apply to those leaving public school, not to existing homeschool families. This amendment to the amendment passed. HB 5108 was then unanimously approved by the House.

The bill was sent to the Senate; in the waning days of the session, however, it was never brought to the floor for a vote.

The passage of the Fluharty amendment by the House of Delegates this year is a cautionary milestone, even though the bill wasn’t passed by the Senate and will not become law this year. It indicates the likelihood that a Raylee’s Law bill or amendment will be introduced next year and pass the House again. In the interim, CHEWV will be working to promote solutions that make a positive difference for rare cases like Raylee’s, while continuing to protect the basic constitutional rights of all homeschoolers.