From the HSLDA E-lert Service:
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Date:
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5/3/2002 5:08:47 PM
Christopher J. Klicka, Esq., Senior Counsel of HSLDA
Florida--Calls Urgently Needed to Defeat Government Nanny Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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May 3, 2002

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Some of you have received responses from the Governor's office
concerning the Learning Gateway program nicknamed the "Government
Nanny" bill. They are claiming the bill that was passed as an
amendment to S.B. 1844 is significantly different than last year's
Government Nanny bill that Governor Bush vetoed.

Not true.

Please let the Governor know that the bill is largely unchanged and
will still greatly increase the power of the government over children
at the expense of parents' rights. Below are some of the arguments
against the bill that we have sent to Governor Bush already. Also
below are the details on the deal that was struck behind closed doors
to allow the Government Nanny bill to pass the legislature.

Please keep your calls and emails coming to the Governor's office.
With God's help, and your efforts, the bill will be vetoed.

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.

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 email him at jeb@MYFL.com .

BACKGROUND

Mike Peak, lobbyist for Florida Coalition of Christian Private School
Association (FCCPSA), believes a deal was struck to get the bill
through the legislature even though the House opposed it. Mike
explains:

"After conversations with other lobbyists and staff in Tallahassee, I
believe there was a deal made among the leadership of the House,
Senate and Governor's office to let this bill pass. Learning Gateway
is about 17 pages long and not likely to have been missed by aides
watching for it. Rep. Fasano, chairman of the Healthy Communities
Council, assured me in February that they were not going to let Sen.
McKay (Senate President) sneak this one through. Yet Rep. Fasano knew
it was in the bill when he voted against it, and he did not spread
the word. He was one of only three who voted against it.

"Also, the bill to which it is attached was one put forth by the
Governor to create an "Emerging Technology Commission" under the
authority of the Board of Education to develop "centers of
excellence" within the state. These centers will facilitate
university industry partnerships to increase the speed and frequency
with which new discoveries in college laboratories are brought to
market, thereby increasing revenues for the universities.

"So, the deal appears to have been a trade in order to get the
Governor's bill passed."

The Governor is saying to many of you that have contacted him that
the he is satisfied with the wording added to the Learning Gateway
portion of the bill requiring parental consent. However, even with
wording in the bill to require parental consent for initial
screening, most would feel compelled to comply with the
recommendations of the "experts". If they refuse services, they could
be turned in for child neglect.

ARGUMENTS SUPPORTING THE GOVERNOR'S VETO

Here are some of the general arguments thousands of families in
Florida have against SB 1844.

1) If this bill becomes law, it will lay the foundation for
transforming Florida into a "government nanny state." It will cause
unnecessary big government intervention and constitutes a massive
invasion of family privacy.

2) 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." Such visits by government
officials are intimidating and will traumatize many innocent
families.

3) The purpose of S.B. 1844 is to "screen" children from birth to age
9 for "learning problems." Further, 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.

4) S.B. 1844 requires that an electronic data system be developed to
track children who are screened, assessed, and referred for services.
Will parents be able to remove the child from the government programs
once the initial screening is done without their consent? What
happens to innocent families who do not want to participate in this
screening or programs? Will they be investigated by the child welfare
workers since they refused services?

5) S.B. 1844 creates a huge, expensive bureaucracy, with the intent
of expanding the program statewide.

Thank you for your help. We convinced the Governor to veto it once.
Let's do it again!

Christopher Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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