House Bill 301: New Hampshire Homeschool Freedom Act

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Last Updated: June 30, 2011
House Bill 301: New Hampshire Homeschool Freedom Act
Sponsors:
Representatives James Parison, Paul Mirski, Charles Sova and Senators Sharon Carson and Raymond White
Summary:

HB 301 dramatically improves New Hampshire's homeschool law, New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated 193-A (“RSA 193-A”). It creates a simpler homeschool law that recognizes parents' fundamental rights, provides for straightforward one-time notification and explicitly protects homeschoolers’ privacy. The bill removes required assessments and all Department of Education (DOE) involvement in home education. In light of the DOE’s removal, the bill creates a careful legislative framework to protect parents from unwanted encounters with DCYF, family courts, truancy officers and school officials. Unlike some other proposals, the bill also removes the state’s authority to challenge parents with educational neglect, terminate a home education program or force children to attend a school.

HB 301 affords homeschooling parents the highest levels of due process protections. With a sponsor’s amendment, Representative Parison has taken necessary action to remove certain language mistakenly retained during the bill drafting process. This mistaken language created a second, misdemeanor level, offense if parents were found guilty of “purposely failing” to educate their children. The amendment removes this language allowing the state to charge parents only with a violation when there is probable cause and with a burden of proof that is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

For more detailed information on the bill and why we support it:
Read HSLDA's memo >>

Read Rep. Parison's perspective on HB301 >>

Read draft amendments to HB301 >>

Draft amendments to HB 301 (Version 2) >>

Read Mike Donnelly's spoken testimony on HB301 >>

Listen to Mike Donnelly’s testimony on HB301 >> (time stamp at 18:35)

HSLDA's Position:
Support.

HSLDA is supporting HB 301, sponsored by Representative Jim Parison, a homeschooling father of six and longtime New Hampshire homeschooler. If passed, New Hampshire would join 24 other states in providing for this kind of minimal state interaction. HB 301 will improve the homeschooling climate in New Hampshire by eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy including recordkeeping, annual notification and annual assessment requirements.

HB 301 creates a careful legislative framework to protect you from unwanted encounters with social workers, truancy officers and other state officials. Under HB 301 homeschoolers would complete a simple one-time notification with a participating agency for each child. HB 301 removes the Department of Education (DOE) from involvement in homeschooling, which means no more complicated or “extra” rules. HB 301 removes the state’s authority to challenge parents with educational neglect, terminate a home education program or force children to attend a school. Representative Parison has created a sponsor’s amendment to fix drafting errors and incorporate other changes recommended by homeschooling advocates. These enhancements make HB 301 the most carefully crafted proposal to protect and enhance freedom for New Hampshire homeschoolers.

Action Requested:
None at this time
Status:

1/20/2011     (House)     Introduced and referred to Education Committee
2/02/2011     (House)     Public Hearing: February 8, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. in Representative's Hall
2/08/2011     (House)     A subcommittee has been given two weeks to study the different home school bills and prepare one bill to recommend to the floor.
2/09/2011     (House)     Subcommittee Work Session: February 15, 2011, at 8:00 a.m. in Legislative Office Building (LOB) 207
2/09/2011     (House)     Subcommittee Work Session: February 17, 2011, at 8:00 a.m. in Legislative Office Building (LOB) 207
2/10/2011     (House)     Executive Session: February 24, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. in LOB 207
2/24/2011     (House)     Retained by the Education Committee

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History

Representative Parison is a homeschooling father of six, a member of the CheNH board and has served for six years as CheNH’s president. He has been at the “tip of the spear” fighting for New Hampshire homeschoolers these past four years. Representative Parison has consulted with state homeschool organizations and leaders, members of the Home Education Advisory Council, homeschooling parents and supportive state representatives, including his co-sponsors representatives Paul Mirski and Charles Sova, and senators Raymond White and Senator Sharon Carson.

Read Rep. Parison's perspective on HB301 >>

For more detailed information on the bill and why we support it:
Read HSLDA's memo >>

Read draft amendments to HB301 >>

Draft amendments to HB 301 (Version 2) >>

Read Mike Donnelly's spoken testimony on HB301 >>

Listen to Mike Donnelly’s testimony on HB301 >> (time stamp at 18:35)