The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXIII
No. 5
Cover
September/October
2007

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MARYLAND

Legislative Summary

Maryland Senate Bill 116, the brightest hope for homeschooling families in obtaining fair and equal access to federally funded special education services, came agonizingly close to enactment before time ran out in the 2007 legislature.

Home School Legal Defense Association Of Counsel Scott Somerville gave the bill a powerful boost when he cleared up misconceptions about it in his testimony before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. After the committee added a minor amendment to the bill, making it crystal clear that only federal money would be spent on the program, committee members voted favorably by a comfortable margin.

The full Senate then voted unanimously in favor of the bill. As the bill passed to the House for action, however, time ran out. The session ended before the House Ways and Means Committee could finish its work.

We have contacted the bill’s sponsor, Senator James Brochin, asking him to introduce the bill again in the 2008 session. It is not uncommon for a bill to make several trips to the legislature before becoming law. The fact that this bill came so close to enactment in its first year is a testament to the work of many homeschooling families who called their legislators, urging them to support it.

States all over the nation are letting citizens decide the vital issue of how marriage should be defined. However, Maryland’s Senate Bill 564, which would give voters the opportunity to amend the Maryland Constitution to define marriage, failed to even make it out of committee. Maryland citizens should demand the right to make this decision for themselves.

HSLDA opposed a number of bills that would have increased the age of compulsory attendance, and homeschooling families vigorously opposed the efforts to expand government control over young people. Thankfully, all of the bills failed to become law.

With the legislature closed, we can be grateful to God for protecting us from bills that would have eroded liberty, and we can pray that next year will bring a legislative breakthrough for homeschooled students who need special education services. Thank you for your continued support of HSLDA, and thank you for helping make a difference in this year’s legislation.

— by Scott A. Woodruff