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2/18/2005 1:59:06 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Montana--Victory for Homeschool Freedom

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 18, 2005


Montana--Victory for Homeschool Freedom


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

God gave us a tremendous victory in Helena on Monday of this week when
the Senate Education Committee voted 10-1 to table Senate Bill 291.

At the conclusion of the testimony of witnesses for and against the
bill, Senator Jim Elliot, a Democrat, moved to table the bill. This
was a surprise for two reasons. First, the normal procedure for the
Committee is to wait until a later meeting before a vote is taken on a
bill. Second, it is very unusual for a member of the sponsor's own
party to move to table a bill, especially when the sponsor is also the
Chairman of the Committee.

Your calls, emails, letters, and the incredible level of attendance at
the hearing were responsible for defeating Senate Bill 291, the worst
homeschool bill in Montana history! This victory is particularly
significant considering the extremely negative political climate in
the State Legislature.

The news reports underestimated the number of people in attendance at
the Capitol for the hearing. The largest estimate reported in the
newspapers was 1,200, but the Montana Coalition of Home Educators ran
out of the 1,200 stickers they handed out to homeschoolers in
attendance by 2:00 p.m., an hour before the hearing. One homeschool
leader estimated the crowd in the Capitol at 2,000. In the more than
14 years I have served at HSLDA, I have never seen a larger crowd of
homeschoolers attend a legislative hearing. In fact, never in the
history of legislative hearings in Montana have there been so many
people in attendance at the Capitol.

We want to especially thank Steve White, the Legislative Liaison for
the Montana Coalition of Home Educators, for organizing the
homeschoolers' response to this dangerous legislation and coordinating
the testimony presented in opposition to the bill. Without his
efforts, the homeschoolers of Montana would not have been nearly as
prepared as they were to participate effectively in this legislative
process.

As a result of the defeat of Senate Bill 291, I know that all of you
have gained a deeper appreciation of the freedoms you currently enjoy
under Montana's homeschool law. We must remain ever vigilant to
respond to any future threats to take away these freedoms.

May God bless and protect every homeschooling family in Montana.

Sincerely,


Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel



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