From the HSLDA E-lert Service:
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Date:
From:
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4/25/2002 11:33:45 AM
Christopher J. Klicka, Esq., Senior Counsel of HSLDA
Florida--Government Nanny Bill is Back, Calls Urgently Needed

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 25, 2002

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

The Government Nanny bill is back and we are still reeling from the
news. In a backdoor move, the Government Nanny bill was attached to
S.B. 1844 (an economic development bill) at the eleventh hour and
passed by both the senate and the house. Many house members, who had
earlier rejected the Government Nanny bill when it stood alone, voted
for S.B. 1844, unaware that the Government Nanny bill was added on at
the last minute.

It is now on the Governor's desk. Last year, home schoolers almost
single-handedly convinced Governor Jeb Bush to veto the Government
Nanny bill. We can do it again if we act fast.

S.B. 1844 creates a new big government program called "Learning
Gateway," which will "provide systematic hospital visits or home
visits by trained staff to new mothers." If this bill becomes law, it
will lay the foundation for transforming Florida into a "government
nanny state" by greatly increasing the power of the government over
children and reducing parents' rights.


REQUESTED ACTION

IMMEDIATELY call the office of Governor Jeb Bush at 850-488-7146 and
deliver this message:

"Concerned parents want Governor Bush to veto S.B. 1844. This bill
creates a big government program that will invade family privacy,
usurp the role of parents, and waste taxpayer money. This bill goes
against everything the governor stands for."

You do not need to identify yourself as a home schooler.

Opposition calls must come in between April 25 and May 2. The
Governor can sign or veto this bill at any time.

Although phone calls are the most effective form of getting your
message to Governor Bush, you may also want to e-mail him at
jeb@MYFL.com.

BACKGROUND

S.B. 1844 is an economic development bill that has nothing to do with
early education. Yet Senate Majority leader John McKay slipped his
Government Nanny bill (formerly S.B. 88) into S.B. 1844.

Therefore, S.B. 1844 is now the vehicle to create a new government
program called Learning Gateway and will involve "developing
strategies for offering hospital visits or home visits by trained
staff to new mothers."

The purpose of Learning Gateway is to screen children from birth to
age 9 for "biological, environmental, and behavioral risks," and
"learning problems." Furthermore, Learning Gateway providers will
conduct "intake with families," conduct "needs/strength-based
assessments of families," and "make referrals for needed services"
and "developmental monitoring."

This will all be done in collaboration with the Florida Department of
Children and Family Services and numerous other big government
agencies and programs.

Some additional reasons Home School Legal Defense Association opposes
the S.B. 1844:

1) S.B. 1844 mandates automatic referrals of high-risk newborns to
the local Learning Gateway through the Office of Vital Statistics.
Who determines what is considered high risk? There is no parental
consent required for this referral. What happens if the parent
chooses not to follow up on this referral?

2) S.B. 1844 directs that screening processes be developed and tested
to address social/emotional/behavioral indicators which could be a
sign of future problems. Will the Florida Department of Children and
Families take the child away if the parent chooses to follow his own
doctor's advice instead of the government's?

3) S.B. 1844 requires that an electronic data system be developed to
track children who are screened, assessed, and referred for services.
Will mom and dad be able to remove the child from the government
programs if the initial screening is done without parent's consent?

4) S.B. 1844 creates a huge, expensive bureaucracy, with the intent
of expanding the program statewide. The pilot project is $6 million
the first year for only three counties---what will it cost taxpayers
to fund this program for the whole state?

Please urge Governor Bush to veto this bill.

Thank you for standing with us for liberty.

Sincerely,

Christopher Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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