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1/24/2003 4:06:03 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Wyoming--Three New Bills Threaten Homeschool Freedom

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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January 24, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Each year, Senator Kathryn Sessions, a Democrat from Cheyenne, files
a bill that would reduce homeschool liberties. This year, she has
filed three bills, each negatively affects homeschoolers. One bill
flagrantly violates federal law, but all of them must be stopped.

Senate File 110 would force homeschoolers to participate in the new
statewide assessment system (achievement testing) and comply with
Wyoming's Student Performance Standards. In addition, homeschoolers
would be required file a portfolio for each child at the end of his
first semester. If a homeschool child fails to achieve the
"proficiency levels" established by the statewide assessment, the
parent would be required to file a "remediation plan."

House Bill 201 would make kindergarten compulsory in Wyoming.
Although homeschoolers do not have to file any paperwork before their
child turns seven, HB 201 would add roughly two more years of
compelled attendance.

Senate File 109 would change the penalties for truancy. It would
raise the maximum fine for truancy from twenty-five dollars to one
thousand dollars. While this does not specifically target
homeschoolers, it appears to be part of Senator Sessions' overall
plan to regulate home education.

ACTION REQUESTED

1. Please read SF 110 for yourself and determine its impact on your
family.

http://www.hslda.org/Legislation/State/wy/2003/wysf110/default.asp

2. Call Senator Sessions at 307-634-8314 or e-mail her at
ksessions@senate.wyoming.com. Tell her that SF 110 violates federal
law. Ask her to withdraw the bill.

3. Call the voter hotline at 866-996-8683 and tell the operator that
you oppose Senate File 110, Senate File 109, and House Bill 201. The
operator will ask you what county you are calling from.

4. Please write a polite e-mail to Senator Hank Coe, at
hcoe@myavista.com. Senator Coe is chairman of the Senate Education
Committee, and is familiar with Senator Session's history of opposing
home education. A large number of polite, intelligent e-mails that
oppose SF 110 would be helpful. (We do not want to do anything that
would add unnecessary work to Senator Coe's busy schedule, so unless
you live in Cody, please limit your communications to e-mail and
letters addressed to P.O. Box 1088, Cody, WY 82414.)

5. Forward this e-mail to as many supporters of home education as you
can. Feel free to print it out, copy it, and distribute it to people
without access to the Internet. Each person who helps us get the word
out helps us to preserve freedom.

BACKGROUND

Senate File 110, if passed, would make Wyoming one of the most
restrictive states in the country. Homeschoolers should be able to
kill this bill if they work hard, fast, and continually.
Unfortunately, Wyoming's legislative session is short and
unpredictable. The only way to stop this bill is to make every effort
now.

SF 110 directly violates federal law. 20 USC sec.7886(b) says, "No
student schooled at home shall be required to participate in any
assessment referenced in the No Child Left Behind Act." Wyoming's
statewide assessment program is an assessment program that is
referenced in the No Child Left Behind Act. Whether Senator Sessions
knows it or not, her bill breaks federal law.

Wyoming now requires each bill to include a fiscal impact statement.
HB 201's compulsory kindergarten would have a huge fiscal impact, but
the statement that is filed with the bill simply says that the fiscal
impact "cannot be determined." Likewise, SF 110, which mandates
homeschool testing, additional paperwork, and new enforcement
provisions, has a fiscal note that states there is "no significant
fiscal or personnel impact at the state level." This means the State
Department of Education will not have to spend any more money or take
any more time. The financial and administrative burden will fall on
local school districts and homeschoolers.

An astute judge of the nineteenth century said, "No man's life,
liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session."
Senator Sessions has made that true for Wyoming homeschoolers this
year. Please join us by fighting these threats to homeschool freedom.

Very truly yours,

Scott W. Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney


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