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April 27, 2005

House Bill 2733: Home Education Equity Bill

Authors:
Representatives Dave Hunt (D) and Gordon Anderson (R), Senators Jason Atkinson (R) and Joanne Verger (D).

Summary:
Since the Oregon Legislature Adjourned Sine Die on August 5, 2005 this bill is dead. We will continue to work with Oregon Christian Home Education Association Network (OCEANetwork), and Oregon Home Education Network (OHEN) to help bring greater freedom to homeschool families in Oregon.

We need your calls to the House Subcommittee on Civil Law to support House Bill 2912. House Bill 2912 would have prohibited the state from burdening a person's free exercise of religion unless the state can prove that they have a compelling interest.

HSLDA has worked around the country to pass state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, such as House Bill 2912. RFRA's help protect homeschoolers and other individual's when they choose to exercise their religious beliefs. Currently, a quarter of the states have passed legislation similar to H.B. 2912.

H.B. 2912 is scheduled to be heard in the House Subcommittee on Civil Law on Wednesday, April 27, 2005.

Status:

03/09/2005Introduction and first reading. Referred to Speaker's desk.
03/16/2005Referred to House Judiciary Committee.
03/18/2005Assigned to Subcommittee On Civil Law.
04/27/2005Public Hearing held.
04/27/2005Work Session held.
04/27/2005Returned to full Committee.
The Legislature Adjourned Sine Die on August 5, 2005 so bill is now dead

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA strongly supported this bill.

Action Requested:
None at this time.

Background:
On June 25, 1997, by a 6-3 majority, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in The City of Boerne v. Flores that the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was unconstitutional. By doing this, the Court gave the lowest level of protection to religious liberty--one of the foundational freedoms of homeschooling. Under this minimal standard, the State can override a homeschooler's or other citizen's right to freely exercise his religious beliefs merely by proving that its regulation is "reasonable." Since nearly all state regulations can be determined to be "reasonable," Christians will lose.

Since the devastating U.S. Supreme Court Boerne decision, state and federal courts across the country have diminished religious freedom in many ways. For example:

The long-standing practice of pastor-laity confidentiality has been repeatedly violated;

- A Catholic hospital was denied accreditation for refusing to teach abortion techniques;

- There have been conflicts with zoning ordinances, such as the forced termination of a church ministry to the homeless because it was located on the second floor of a building with no elevator; and

- A church was prohibited from feeding more than 50 people per day.

Passage of House Bill 2912 will raise the standard of protection for religious freedom in Oregon for individuals, homeschool parents, churches, and all who desire to freely exercise their religious beliefs.

If passed, the Oregon RFRA will restore the high standard of protection for religious liberty previously guaranteed in the federal RFRA and earlier Supreme Court decisions. Under the Oregon RFRA, if an individual's religious belief is in conflict with a state regulation, the state will have to prove, with evidence, that its regulation is essential to fulfill a compelling state interest and is the least restrictive means of doing so. If the state fails to carry the burden, the regulation must give way to the individual's religious freedom. Restoring this protection for religious freedom will simply "even the playing field."

For a more detailed information on Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, visit our website at: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=2299.

Don't let one decision by the U.S. Supreme Court denigrate this priceless inalienable right. Urge your state representative now to restore protection for religious liberty in Oregon by supporting the Oregon RFRA.

 Other Resources

Apr-29-2005 — Oregon--Update - Continue to Call to Support Religious Freedom Bill

Apr-26-2005 — Oregon--Calls Needed Immediately to Support Religious Freedom Bill

HSLDA Religious Freedom Issue Center

Home Education Week

Bill Text  

Bill History