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House Bill (“HB”) 295 imposes the requirement of criminal background checks on employees and volunteers at recreation and “youth skill” camps. The bill is a potential problem for homeschoolers because of the overly broad definition of “youth skill camps” that could include homeschool groups.
The Senate Health, Education & Human Services committee amended the bill to define “Youth Skill Camps” as “a nonprofit or for-profit program that lasts 8 hours total or more in a year for the purpose of teaching a skill to minors. Such camps include, but are not limited to, the teaching of sports, the arts, and scientific inquiry.”
Oppose unless amended to exempt homeschool related groups. HSLDA suggests that the bill be amended to include language similar to:
A "youth skill camp" does not include a group formed by or relating to home education programs.
|1/3/2013||(House)||Introduced and Referred to Resources, Recreation and Development Committee|
|2/21/2013||(House)||Committee Reports Ought to Pass|
|3/6/2013||(House)||House Votes Ought to Pass and Refers to Ways and Means Committee|
|3/20/2013||(House)||Committee Reports Ought to Pass|
|3/27/2013||(House)||House Votes Ought to Pass|
|3/28/2013||(Senate)||Introduced and Referred to Health, Education & Human Services Committee|
|5/15/2013||(Senate)||Committee Reports Ought to Pass|
|5/23/2013||(Senate)||Senate Votes Ought to Pass and Refers to Finance Rule Committee|
|5/30/2013||(Senate)||Committee Reports Ought to Pass|
|6/6/2013||(Senate)||Senate Votes Ought to Pass|
|6/26/2013||(House)||House adopts Conference Committee Report|
|6/26/2013||(Senate)||Senate adopts Conference Committee Report|
|7/25/2013||(Governor)||Signed by Governor|
Common sense tells us that camps are programs that usually happen over the summer, and confined to a specific location and bounded by a certain amount of time. This should not, and apparently according to the house sponsor is not intended to, include homeschool groups. HSLDA recognizes the legitimate intent and purpose of the legislation to protect the safety of children, however it is also important to limit unintended and negative consequences as is the case here. In our world of ever-increasing government bureaucracy, we cannot rely on a single legislator’s intent. We must make sure that our freedoms are explicitly protected in the law.
Regrettably, HSLDA has been informed by the bill’s sponsor, Representative Donald Lebrun, that it is not possible to add clarifying language this year. HB 295 will therefore most likely pass as amended by the Senate. However, Representative Lebrun has agreed to work with the homeschool community to address this issue in next year’s legislative session.
HSLDA’s position is that it should be obvious that this bill was not intended to include homeschool groups. Even though the bill is somewhat vague and overly broad in its definition, groups formed by homeschooling parents to provide educational and enrichment activities should not be required to obtain a license to operate nor should parents be required to undergo background checks.
HSLDA will be following up on this issue and working to insure that homeschoolers interests are safeguarded.
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