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3/11/2004 6:00:52 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Kentucky--Calls Needed to Protect Homeschoolers' Right to Drive

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 5, 2004


Kentucky--Calls Needed to Protect Homeschoolers' Right to Drive


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

About 10 years ago, the Kentucky legislature enacted the "No Pass/No
Drive" Act, which took a student's drivers license away if he or she
was failing school or has nine or more unexcused absences in one
semester. It only applied to a few school districts.

The Kentucky Supreme Court struck down this law as a violation of
"equal protection," since it discriminated against students in these
limited districts.

This year, the Kentucky legislature has responded by drafting another
bill, House Bill 304, to resurrect the No Pass/No Drive law and apply
it to ALL school districts.

Under the old law, homeschoolers encountered problems in various
courthouses as they tried to complete paperwork for a drivers
license. Some court officials simply refused to believe that
homeschooling was legal in Kentucky, and various families had to take
a stand to exercise their rights under the law.

The old law caused a few problems in a few districts; the new law, by
applying No Pass/No Drive to the entire Commonwealth, is sure to
increase the number of problems. The House Transportation Committee
tried to address homeschoolers concerns by adding a section that
would keep dropouts from pretending to be homeschoolers, but the
language the House Committee added creates more problems than it
solves.

We need your calls to help undo the damage of these well-intentioned
legislators.


Action Requested:

Call each member of the Senate Judiciary committee, and say, "Please
vote 'No' on House Bill 304. The section on homeschooling causes
more problems than it solves." Please start by calling the Kentucky
Legislative Hotline at 800-372-7181, and then call the following
members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Robert Stivers (25), Chair
207 Main St.
Manchester, KY 40962
(Office) 606-598-2322
(Home) 606-598-8575
(FAX) 606-598-2357

Tom Buford (22)
105 Crosswoods Place
Nicholasville, KY 40356
(Home) 859-223-7171

Lindy Casebier (7)
P.O. Box 5337
Louisville, KY 40255
(Home) 502-451-7447
(Work) 502-222-8880

Sen. Ray S. Jones, II (31)
P.O. Box 1378
Pikeville, KY 41502
(Office) 606-432-5777
(FAX) 606-432-5154

Gerald A. Neal (33)
One Riverfront Plaza
401 West Main St.
Suite 1807
Louisville, KY 40202
(Office) 502-584-8500
(Home) 502-778-1178
(FAX) 502-584-1119

Rhoads, Jerry P. (6)
P.O. Box 2002, 9 E. Center Street
Madisonville, KY 42431
(Office) 270-825-1490
(Home) 270-825-2949

Richard L. "Dick" Roeding (11)
2534 Kearney Court
Lakeside Park, KY 41017
(Home) 859-331-1684
(FAX) 859-331-1238
(FAX) 502-564-0456

Ernesto Scorsone (13)
511 W. Short St.
Lexington, KY 40507
(Office) 859-254-5766
(Home) 859-254-3681

Dan "Malano" Seum (38)
1107 Holly Avenue
Fairdale, KY 40118
(Home) 502-749-2859

Katie Kratz Stine (24)
15 Cliffview Ave.
Ft. Thomas, KY 41075
(Home) 859-781-5311

David L. Williams (16)
P.O. Box 666
Burkesville, KY 42717
(Office) 270-864-5636


Background:

Kentucky homeschoolers had clear rights under Kentucky's old No
Pass/No Drive law, which was designed to keep dropouts from driving.
Homeschoolers, who are not dropouts, were permitted to use a simple
letter to prove that they are operating a private school for their
own children. Despite this, a number of families encountered
problems in various courthouses as they tried to complete paperwork
for a driver's license. Some court officials simply refused to
believe that homeschooling was legal in Kentucky, and various
families had to take a stand to exercise their rights under the law.
Thus, homeschoolers had some reason to cheer a Kentucky State Supreme
Court ruling which struck down the No Pass/No Drive law as
unconstitutional. On Thursday, December 18, 2003 the Kentucky
Supreme Court, in a 4-3 ruling, held that the No Pass/No Drive law
deprived some students of their rights to equal protection under the
law.

Given the problems Kentucky homeschoolers had under the old law, new
language in House Bill 304 is simply unacceptable. The House
Transportation Committee added Section 5 which reads, "Withdrawal of
a student from a public school with notification that the student
will be home schooled shall not enable the student to avoid the
consequences of this section if the basis for entry into home
schooling is to avoid the consequences of this section. For purposes
of this section, the student shall still be considered to have
dropped out of school or to be academically deficient."

This amended language, unfortunately, is almost unenforceable as it
stands. It does not define who decides whether a homeschooler is
educating in good faith. It apparently leaves the burden of proof on
the homeschooled student to demonstrate that they are not breaking
the law instead of setting clear standards that can be applied by
neutral decision-makers.
Given our past difficulties with Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks, this
language is a disaster in the making.

We need your calls to kill HB 304 or to eliminate this homeschool
language!


Sincerely,

Scott Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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