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6/14/2010 11:34:11 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Louisiana: Action Needed--Homeschool Graduate Bill to be Voted on by Full House

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Louisiana: Action Needed--Homeschool
Graduate Bill to be Voted on by Full House Soon

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

This has been a busy year for homeschoolers and the Louisiana
legislature. However, the end is in sight. The homeschool diploma
bill, Senate Bill 798, is scheduled to be sent to the House floor on
June 17.

Last week, the bill passed the House Education Committee without
objection. However, there were several representatives who were
opposed to the bill but decided to leave the hearing instead of voting
against it. It is possible that at least one of these representatives
could attempt to add an amendment on the House floor.

HSLDA Legal Assistant Eric Johnson, a Louisiana native, was present to
testify before the House Education Committee in support of this bill,
and you can see his report of the hearing below.
Please contact you state representative now and urge him or her to
support Senate Bill 798 as it is written. You can also contact the
House leadership and urge them to support of the bill as well.

Due to the hard work of Christian Home Educators Fellowship of
Louisiana (CHEF of LA) and others, SB 798 has the support of both the
Louisiana Department of Education (LDE) and the governor.

However, you voice is still needed to see this bill pass the House as
written. Please act now.

ACTION SUGGESTED:

Please call or email your state representative, as well the House
leadership listed below, and give them this message in your own words:

"Please support Senate Bill 798 as it passed the House Education
Committee. This bill will enable home study graduates, who were
enrolled in a state-approved program, to receive the same recognition
for their diploma and transcripts as other state-approved nonpublic
school students. Home study students who complete their program in
compliance with state law just want to be treated fairly with other
nonpublic school graduates, and this bill has the support of the LDE.
Thank you for your support of Senate Bill 798."

Calling your state representative is preferred, but if you can't call,
please send an email. If you can do both, that would even be better.

If you don't know your state representative you can use our
Legislative Toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/toolbox to quickly locate
your representative and their contact information.

House Leadership

Speaker of the House
Rep. Jim Tucker (R)
Phone: (225) 342-7263
Email: larep086@legis.state.la.us

Speaker Pro Tempore
Rep. Joel C. Robideaux (I)
Phone: (225) 342-7263
Email: larep045@legis.state.la.us

BACKGROUND

As we informed you in previous e-lerts, the purpose of Senate Bill 798
is to help fix issues that homeschool graduates have encountered
regarding their homeschool diplomas and transcripts.

Recently, some homeschool graduates have faced opposition to their
proof of completion of high school when they submitted copies of their
homeschool diploma and transcripts. While most colleges are actively
pursuing homeschool students, some cosmetology and other trade schools
in Louisiana are giving homeschool graduates a hard time. Homeschool
graduates seeking civil service positions, such as police officers,
sheriff's deputies and firefighters, have also had some difficulties.

Senate Bill 798 would simply put into Louisiana law that any diploma
awarded by an approved home study program would have the all the
rights and privileges as a diploma awarded by a state-approved
nonpublic school.

Eric Johnson, a legal assistant with HSLDA, was able to testify in
favor of Senate Bill 798 and had this to report:

"I had the honor and privilege of being invited down to Baton Rouge on
Tuesday to testify before the House Education Committee on Senate Bill
798. The sponsor, Senator Walsworth, asked me to come down and share
my personal story as a Louisiana high school graduate. I spoke about
my experience with discrimination by a governmental agency because of
my having been homeschooled. Sadly, this is not an uncommon story for
homeschool graduates in Louisiana. SB 798 will be a huge step in
changing that for future graduates."

"After more than 90 minutes of discussion and debate, it was passed
favorably for a vote on the House floor. That will be coming up
sometime next week. Several attempts were made in the committee to
have the bill amended, but thankfully they never got past a general
discussion. The arguments were varied, but eventually common sense
prevailed. It seemed that some members of the committee got bogged
down on how the actual diplomas would look, versus the quality of the
education behind them. However, our various supporters on the
committee made some excellent points and were able to bring the
discussion back on track."

"We should certainly not rest on our victories and get lazy. Everyone
in Louisiana should call their local representative and urge him or
her to support SB 798 as it currently stands. There is a good chance
that an amendment will be offered on the floor. We don't want any
distractions or efforts to water down the bill to succeed. "

"Special thanks should certainly go to Sen. Walsworth for his support
and active involvement. Also thanks to Ms. Beryl Amedee of CHEF of LA
for her initiative and involvement every step of the way, and for the
support of the great folks at Louisiana Family Forum. "

Thanks for your efforts in advancing homeschool freedom in Louisiana!

Sincerely,

Thomas J. (Tj) Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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