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1/16/2003 3:54:52 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Pennsylvania--Religious Freedom Bill Becomes Law

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Last year Home School Legal Defense Association and Pennsylvania
homeschoolers worked hard to get a bill passed that would have
removed 90% of the current regulations on homeschooling. After a
tremendous showing at the hearing by the House Education Committee,
passage looked likely. Unfortunately in November, a last minute
amendment by the chairman of the House Education Committee killed the
bill.

Thankfully a different bill, S.B. 1421, passed on November 18, 2002,
in the final weeks of the legislative session. S.B. 1421 restores the
protection of an individual's right to free exercise of religious
belief that was taken away by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1997 City
of Boerne decision.

If a parent in Pennsylvania is homeschooling for religious reasons
and comes in conflict with the state, the parent may invoke the new
religious freedom act as a defense. In order to override the
parent's religious beliefs, Pennsylvania is required to prove with
evidence that its particular regulation is the "least restrictive
means" possible for children to be educated.

This evens the playing field for homeschoolers and other families who
are burdened by excessive regulations. We are thankful that this
bill passed. HSLDA has worked in many states to introduce and pass
religious freedoms acts. Presently, with the passage of
Pennsylvania's laws, there are twelve states that have religious
freedoms acts including: Texas, South Carolina, Rhode Island,
Oklahoma, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho, Florida, Connecticut, Arizona
and Alabama.

Thank you for your efforts for freedom,

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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