Homeschoolers Hold Curfew at Bay
Thanks in great part to our members' overwhelming response to Home School Legal Defense Association's May 9 alert, California's first statewide daytime loitering/curfew bill ran into a roadblock in the assembly appropriations committee.
On May 28th, the assembly appropriations committee convened to consider whether to send A.B. 1151 to the full assembly with the recommendation of "Do pass." The author of the bill argued that it was not really a daytime curfew. He admitted that there was strong opposition to the bill, but felt that the concerns of the opposition could be worked out on the assembly floor. In the committee vote, only three of the 21 members voted "yes" for the proposed curfew. Seeing that the bill was not going to be passed out of committee, the author asked that A.B. 1151 be held as a two-year bill. Unless there is a decision to suspend the rules, there should not be any further action on A.B. 1151 until 1998.
Many California legislators reversed their positions on this bill as a result of the contacts from concerned parents—homeschoolers who rallied to the battle lines to protect their families' freedoms. This event demonstrates the enormous potential of the home school movement's grassroots influence. It is the only leverage the home school movement has to oppose and support legislation.
Although A.B. 1151 has been forestalled, the 1997 battles are not over. Roy Hanson of Family Protection Ministries reminds us that, in spite of this success, it is still possible for similar loitering, truancy, or curfew language to be amended into another bill, and it has also been rumored that Governor Pete Wilson may attempt to place this issue on the ballot as an initiative to fight juvenile crime. Family Protection Ministries and HSLDA will continue to monitor closely any attempts at the state level to enact a daytime loitering/curfew for California.
Monrovia Curfew Challenged
One of the witnesses called to testify by the bill's author was the Monrovia Police Chief. Not only does Monrovia have a daytime curfew, but this city is evangelistic in its attempts to get daytime curfews passed in other municipalities and throughout the state of California. HSLDA is representing several plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Monrovia's daytime curfew, asking the California Superior Court to find the ordinance unconstitutional on numerous grounds. (See cover story)
As the May 9 legislative alert pointed out, daytime curfews contain many constitutional problems and erode the protections our Founding Fathers envisioned for us. For homeschoolers, the practical problem with daytime curfews is that they, in effect, force homeschoolers to comply with public school day and hour requirements, even though California education code contains no such requirements for private education. California homeschoolers need to be ready to faithfully protect their freedoms just as they have done in the past.