On the second day of the 2018 Session, the Senate version of the Tebow Bill (SB130) passed unanimously in the WV Senate Education Committee. Added amendments simply clarified the original purpose. An amendment from Senator Beach, which would have converted the bill into a pilot study, was defeated. In response, Senator Trump spoke passionately in support of the bill saying it corrected an “injustice” against homeschooled students. After passing in the Senate Education Committee, the bill was sent to the Senate Finance Committee where it still resides.
Mr. Carey, CHEWV’s Legislative Liaison, then learned Senate leadership did not plan to advance the Senate Tebow Bill (SB130) until the House version of the Tebow Bill (HB4007) advanced in the House Education Committee. This was an informal agreement between the two Houses.
On January 24th, HB4007 was considered in the House Education Committee where several amendments were offered. Two were added, one which required a homeschool student to score in the 5th stanine or above for the right to play sports. A third proposed amendment, which failed, would have destroyed the bill by leaving it up to each county board to determine the eligibility rules and requirements governing sports participation. To everyone’s surprise, when the bill came to a final vote it was defeated with 16 Nays to 9 Yeas. A bill, which was largely identical to the bill which had passed last year with flying colors through both Houses and made it to the Governor’s desk where it was vetoed, was defeated overwhelmingly this year by both Democrats and Republicans in the House Education Committee.
Now the Senate must decide whether to advance their version of the Tebow Bill (SB130). Will they choose to do so with such a slap-down in the House Education Committee? Today it is hard to know. What about the Promise Bill (SB319) and the Driver’s License Bill (SB364)? How can we trust that these bills won’t suffer a similar fate at the hands of legislators in House Education?
Looking to God for help, we must first and foremost pray for His wisdom, guidance and favor. He is our Shield and Defender, just as in past battles CHEWV has faced. Overwhelming numbers of homeschooling parents must also communicate with legislators.
This twofold approach is the sure path to the victories we seek. Nothing can be taken for granted this year at the State Capitol. We will have to be ready to speak up for the legislation which matters to us most. To that end, CHEWV will soon provide talking points and contact information so that, together, we can take a stand in support of our freedoms.