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2/13/2012 12:10:55 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HB 4309--ACTION NEEDED to Protect Families From Government Intrusion!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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HB 4309--ACTION NEEDED to Protect Families From Government Intrusion!

Dear West Virginia Members and Friends:

Thank you for your calls and emails that stopped HB 4309 from quick
passage. But the threat is not over. An education subcommittee will
meet February 20 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss a new version of the bill.
Both John Carey of Heritage Communications and I have been invited to
present to the subcommittee. It is our hope to convince the
committee that this legislation is not only unnecessary, but that it
is unconstitutional, and that the bill should be killed.

This legislation would give judges the ability to threaten families
with the removal of their children if children aren't in school enough
to satisfy a particular judge. This is as vague a statute as it is
breath- taking in its Orwellian attempt to circumvent existing law and
intimidate families who may accumulate more than five unexcused
absences--regardless of the reason. It is unacceptable to place this
kind of vague and overly broad authority in the hands of judges.

Here is what I plan to tell the committee on February 20:

"A law that sayschildren can be found abused and thereby removed from
their home, if they are 'presumed safe and otherwise healthy' but
'habitually absent for no good cause,' is on its face
unconstitutional. Merely being absent from school but otherwise safe
and healthy shows a lack of harm otherwise required to allow a state
to remove a child from parental care given that parents are guaranteed
under the 14th amendment the care, custody, and control of their
children."

I know that the legislators and judges calling for this legislation
have good intentions. But we all know where the road paved with good
intentions leads. The reality is that West Virginia judges already
have all the authority they need to address habitual absence from
school, also known as truancy. HB 4309 is designed to give them more
power and permit them to ignore parents and go after children. This
bill threatens the most precious gift we all cherish--our children.
Tell the legislature to tell the judges to use the authority they
already have to address this problem.

ACTION REQUESTED

The committee has now amended the bill, and it is appropriate for you
to re-contact them giving them the following message in your own
words:

"Even amended, HB 4309 should not be passed--it is unnecessary, and
worse, is motivated by a philosophy that goes against our American
traditions of when the state should be able to act against parental
custody of children. This legislation is bad public policy and may be
unconstitutional. School districts and courts need to use the tools
they already have to address public school attendance problems. The
bill gives too much discretion to judges who are already overloaded.
The bill would also result in more families defending themselves in
Family Court where they have weaker due process protections and where
children can be taken away. Children who are safe and healthy should
not be taken from their families just because the children are not
going to school as often as a judge thinks is necessary. Please just
vote no on HB 4309."

Email string address (copy and paste into the "to", "cc" or "bcc"
block of an email--may not work for all email programs):

mary.poling@wvhouse.gov; brady.paxton@wvhouse.gov; waltduke47@aol.com;
linda.sumner@wvhouse.gov; anthony.barill@wvhouse.gov;
denise.campbell@wvhouse.gov; mike.caputo@wvhouse.gov; kjcraig@aol.com;
gerald.crosier@wvhouse.gov; lawrencefordelegate@hotmail.com;
ron.fragale@wvhouse.gov; justin.marcum@wvhouse.gov;
d.perry@wvhouse.gov; rickymoye@wvhouse.gov; dave.pethtel@wvhouse.gov;
ralph.rodighiero@wvhouse.gov; stan.shaver@wvhouse.gov;
peggydonaldsonsmith@wvhouse.gov; armstead@wvhouse.gov;
joe.ellington@wvhouse.gov; marty.gearheart@wvhouse.gov;
amanda.pasdon@wvhouse.gov; ruth.rowan@wvhouse.gov;
brian.savilla@wvhouse.gov; harold.sigler@wvhouse.gov

Individual Committee Contact information:

Mary M. Poling - Chair
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3265
Business Phone: (304) 457-2206
E-mail: mary.poling@wvhouse.gov

Brady Paxton -vice chair (D - Putnam)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3337
Business Phone: (304) 340-3337
E-mail: brady.paxton@wvhouse.gov

Walter E. Duke - minority Chair (R - Berkeley)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3151
Business Phone: (304) 582-4755
E-mail: waltduke47@aol.com

Linda Sumner (R - Raleigh)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3180
Business Phone: NA
E-mail: linda.sumner@wvhouse.gov

Anthony Barill (D - Monongalia)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3173
Business Phone: NA
E-mail: anthony.barill@wvhouse.gov

Denise L Campbell (D - Randolph)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3145
Business Phone: (304) 636-1391
E-mail: denise.campbell@wvhouse.gov

Mike Caputo (D - Marion)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3249
Business Phone: (304) 363-7500
E-mail: mike.caputo@wvhouse.gov

Kevin J. Craig (D - Cabell)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3350
Business Phone: (304) 522-5757
E-mail: kjcraig@aol.com

Gerald L. Crosier (D - Monroe)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3188
Business Phone: NA
E-mail: gerald.crosier@wvhouse.gov

Ron Fragale (D - Harrison)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3114
Business Phone: (304) 622-3609
E-mail: ron.fragale@wvhouse.gov

Tiffany Elizabeth Lawrence (D - Jefferson)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3152
Business Phone: (304) 340-3152
E-mail: lawrencefordelegate@hotmail.com

Justin Marcum (D - Mingo)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3126
Business Phone: NA
E-mail: justin.marcum@wvhouse.gov

Ricky Moye (D - Raleigh)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3162
Business Phone: (304) 255-2932
E-mail: rickymoye@wvhouse.gov

David G. Perry (D - Fayette)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3117
Business Phone: NA
E-mail: d.perry@wvhouse.gov

Dave Pethtel (D - Wetzel)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3158
Business Phone: (304) 775-4221
E-mail: dave.pethtel@wvhouse.gov

Ralph Rodighiero (D - Logan)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3154
Business Phone: (304) 784-8881
E-mail: ralph.rodighiero@wvhouse.gov

Stan Shaver (D - Preston)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3146
Business Phone: (304) 568-2696
E-mail: stan.shaver@wvhouse.gov

Margaret Donaldson Smith (D - Lewis)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3123
Business Phone: NA
E-mail: peggydonaldsonsmith@wvhouse.gov

Tim Armstead (R - Kanawha)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3240
E-mail: armstead@wvhouse.gov

Joe Ellington (R - Mercer)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3172
Business Phone: (304) 425-3800
E-mail: joe.ellington@wvhouse.gov

Marty Gearheart (R - Mercer)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3179
Business Phone: (304) 320-0879
E-mail: marty.gearheart@wvhouse.gov

Amanda Pasdon (R - Monongalia)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3153
Business Phone: (304) 340-3153
E-mail: amanda.pasdon@wvhouse.gov

Ruth Rowan (R - Hampshire)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3157
Business Phone: (304) 340-3157
E-mail: ruth.rowan@wvhouse.gov

Brian Savilla (R - Putnam)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3141
Business Phone: (304) 340-3141
E-mail: brian.savilla@wvhouse.gov

Harold Sigler (R - Nicholas)
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3143
Business Phone: (304) 651-3555
E-mail: harold.sigler@wvhouse.gov

BACKGROUND

If passed HB 4309 would:

> Essentially define parents as child abusers if their children appear
physically healthy but miss what a judge thinks is too many days of
school;

> Make it too easy for Child Protection Services and judges to remove
children from a home even if the children were not abused or
neglected;

> Put too much power in the hands of unaccountable judges with vague
definitions and broad powers. What is habitually absent? Who defines
physically healthy?

> Result in the removal from their homes children who are having
non-physical problems, such as depression or other emotional issues,
and force them to attend public school against their parents' will;

> Affect homeschool families if they do not file their homeschool
paperwork properly, such as a late notice of intent or not complying
with the 14-day waiting period before pulling children out of public
school to homeschool;

> Not take into consideration children's special physical, mental,
emotional or other needs;

> Treat truancy as child abuse and place parents in Family Court were
the judges have virtually unlimited powers and where parents have
fewer due process protections;

> Create a system of enforcement that just does not care about the
individual needs of a child and the efforts that parents are putting
in to meeting those needs.

HB 4309 is unnecessary because state law already provides sufficient
authority to punish parents and for schools and attendance directors
to fashion remedies to deal with habitual truancy under the criminal
code.

Thank you for taking action TODAY!

Without your support we could not stand for freedom in West Virginia!
If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider
taking a moment today to join or recommend us and support our work
defending individual families threatened by government officials and
protecting homeschooling freedom for all? Join now at:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=13431

Mountaineers Always Free,


Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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