The Regular Legislative Session begins on January 8th this year. If this year is anything like the others, about 2000 bills will have been introduced, and about 200 of those will have become law. CHEWV will regularly keep you informed with legislative alerts as the session progresses. Our goal is to enable you to become part of the conversation taking place at the Capitol.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” Indeed, while we have a system of government based on a written constitution and a Bill of Rights that are supposed to protect our freedoms, these documents can’t achieve their utmost effect in the real world if they are not properly represented to state legislators. There is always a problem that must be solved, and there is always a “common sense” reason to increase regulation. If enough constituents do not participate in legislative proceedings by contracting their legislators, our freedom to homeschool risks encroaching regulations. How can constituents ensure that their ideas gain consideration?
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, around twenty-five contacts will be viewed as significant.
Typically, two thousand pieces of legislation are introduced each regular session; CHEWV and HSLDA will be evaluating all two thousand to ensure you are aware 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.
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.