The Home School Court Report
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MAY / JUNE 2002
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In the hands of providence

From pickup trucks and shotgun racks to a new attitude

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"Government nanny" tries again

Last year, thousands of calls and emails from concerned home schoolers and other parents persuaded Governor Jeb Bush to veto Senate Bill 1018, the "Government Nanny" bill.

But the measure returned to both the House and the Senate this year. Just like the old bill, this year's legislation would create a new big government program called "Learning Gateway," which would "screen" children from birth to age 9 for "biological, environmental, and behavioral risks," and "learning problems," all in "collaboration" with the Florida Department of Children and Family Services and other big government agencies.

Thanks to an outpouring of opposition from home schoolers and other concerned parents, the Florida House of Representatives Council for Lifelong Learning voted to table its version of the "Government Nanny" bill, H.B. 1435.

Echoing objections expressed by the grassroots as well as HSLDA, the council published an analysis of why H.B. 1435 was voted down, on the Florida House website:

This bill is intrusive, weakens private parental decisionmaking, and is the antithesis of the principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility, and family empowerment.

While [H.B. 1435] adds language relating to parental consent, it also adds the authorization to obtain numerous educational and other confidential records without parental consent.

The bill provides for duplication of services already available. This bill may have constitutional problems. This bill conflicts with and duplicates recent legislative policy decisions and laws. This bill could lead to lawsuits against the state.

However, upset by the council's rejection of H.B. 1435, Senate Majority Leader John McKay pulled the Senate version of the Learning Gateway program--Senate Bills 86 and 88--from committee and rushed them directly to the floor by "special order."

The bills passed the Senate 36 to 0, and were sent back to the House. Concerned home schoolers again flooded the House with calls opposing the bill. When Florida's legislative session ended on March 22, S.B. 86 and 88 died in the House Council for Lifelong Learning. They will not be considered by the legislature again this year.

- Christopher J. Klicka