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2/8/2010 4:51:06 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Ohio--Calls Needed to Prevent Unreasonable Government Interference

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 8, 2010

Ohio--Calls Needed to Prevent Unreasonable
Government Interference with Ohio Families!

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Tomorrow, the Civil and Commercial Law Committee will hear supporting
testimony of the massive 565-page bill, H.B. 371. This bill
restructures Ohio's current abuse and neglect code and creates a "one
strike and you're out" framework that would increase state
intervention in the parent-child relationship in Ohio. The bill also
contains language that would result in an essential "ban" on corporal
discipline in Ohio.

HSLDA believes that every child should be provided a loving and
nurturing environment by their parents. We agree that the state has a
role to play in protecting innocent children from irresponsible
parents or others. This bill goes too far in extending government
authority and would create a dangerous framework that would undermine
family autonomy and put children at risk. Ohio's current child
protective system is overloaded-- passing this law would put an even
greater strain on it to the detriment of children who legitimately
require state assistance and protection. Please take action as
requested below.


ACTION REQUESTED:

Please contact members of the committee and your own legislator. In
your own words give them the following message:

"The current laws regarding abuse and neglect in Ohio are adequate to
protect children who are at risk of harm. H.B. 371 creates a "one
strike and you're out" policy that would increase state intervention
in the family and put children at risk who legitimately require state
protection. The proposal is misguided and places too much authority
in the hands of state workers to interfere with Ohio families. Please
oppose this dangerous piece of legislation."

Because this bill affects all families in Ohio you do not need to
identify yourself as a homeschooling parent. If your name begins
with A-L contact 1-7 on the list; M-Z contact 8-13. Please contact
your own legislator if he or she is on this list as well. To find out
who your legislator is visit http://www.hslda.org/toolbox


THE COMMITTEE:

1. Representative Mark D. Okey, Chair
(614) 466-1464
district61@ohr.state.oh.us

2. Representative Dennis Murray, Vice Chair
(614) 644-6011
district80@ohr.state.oh.us

3. Representative T. Todd Book
(614) 466-2124
district89@ohr.state.oh.us

4. Representative Stephen Dyer
(614) 466-1790
district43@ohr.state.oh.us

5. Representative Mike Foley
(614) 466-3350
district14@ohr.state.oh.us

6. Representative Sandra Stabile Harwood
(614) 466-3488
district65@ohr.state.oh.us

7. Representative Michael Skindell
(614) 466-5921
district13@ohr.state.oh.us

8. Representative W. Scott Oelslager
(614) 752-2438
district51@ohr.state.oh.us

9. Representative William P. Coley, II
(614) 466-8550
district55@ohr.state.oh.us

10. Representative Matt Huffman
(614) 466-9624
district04@ohr.state.oh.us

11. Representative Robert Mecklenborg
(614) 466-8258
district30@ohr.state.oh.us

12. Representative Peter Stautberg
(614) 644-6886
district34@ohr.state.oh.us

13. Representative Gerald L. Stebelton
(614) 466-8100
district05@ohr.state.oh.us

BACKGROUND

This bill creates seven new categories of when a child is in need of
protective services. The bill uses vague terms that would allow
government officials great latitude for subjective interpretation.
This would significantly expand state authority to remove children
from the home or to interfere in Ohio families.

The bill defines "lacking legally required education" to be when a
child of compulsory school age has not regularly attended school, has
not received a legitimate excuse, and has not received other education
services as required by state law. The bill allows a "mandatory
reporter" to inform an appropriate public children services agency
when they believe that "the agency's intervention may help a child
obtain legally required education." Mandatory reporters include
doctors and health care professionals!

The bill explicitly justifies intervention for the use of corporal
discipline and includes new categories of harm such as "emotional
injury," "lacking necessary health care," "lacking care or
supervision," and "exposure to substance misuse." This kind of vague
language leaves the door open for subjective interpretation. H.B.
371 also allows law enforcement officers to take a child into custody
when there are "reasonable grounds to believe that the child's parent
... committed an act or omission that indicates that the child is a
child in need of protective services." No person should be allowed to
take another person into custody without probable cause that harm has
or imminently will occur. This kind of language undermines the
responsibility and authority of parents and places the state in a
position to determine what is best for children.

Please read Attorney Jason Fuller's analysis of this bill at our
website http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7645 to learn more about why
you should oppose this bill.

Thank you for your strong support of freedom in the Buckeye state!

Sincerely,


Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
Staff Attorney

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