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1/17/2013 4:43:42 PM
Scott Woodruff--HSLDA
Virginia--Calls Still Needed to Help Parental Rights Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Virginia--Calls Still Needed to Help Parental Rights Bill

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

The Senate Courts of Justice committee did not hear the Virginia
Parents' Rights bill, SB 908, this week, but it probably will this
coming Monday. So please keep calling!

Although the legislature's most important job is to protect our
rights, the Virginia General Assembly has never stated what kind of
protection parental rights deserve. It's time for them to speak!

Your right to raise your child as you see fit is under fire from many
directions. It is no longer adequate for the General Assembly to
remain silent.

SB 908 will create a state law declaring that your right to make
decisions about your children is a fundamental right. This is
important because the government can push aside your parental
decisions for any "rational" reason if your right is merely an
"ordinary" right. But fundamental rights get the maximum level of
protection.

As long as the General Assembly remains silent, whether your right to
make decisions about your kids is "ordinary" or "fundamental" hangs on
the mere opinions of judges. SB 908 will make it crystal clear that
your right gets the same protection as our other most precious rights.

ACTION REQUESTED

Please call your senator, if he or she is on the committee, and ask
him to support the bill. Your message can be as simple as: "Please
vote YES on SB 908. The right of parents to make decisions about their
children should be protected the same as our other most precious
rights."

If your senator is not listed below, call the chairman, Thomas
Norment. This bill affects all parents, so it is not necessary to
identify yourself as a homeschooler.

Contact information for senators on the committee is listed below. Use
our Legislative Toolbox http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=16807 to
find out the name of your Virginia state senator.

Please come to the hearing on Monday morning starting at 8:00 a.m. It
will be in Senate Room B in the General Assembly Building at 910
Capitol St., Richmond. Give yourself plenty of time to find parking,
and remember that you will pass through a metal detector before
entering the building. Well-behaved children are welcome.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Senator Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (Chairman)
(804) 698-7503
email: district03@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Richard L. Saslaw
(804) 698-7535
email: district35@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Henry L. Marsh III
(804) 698-7516
email: district16@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Janet D. Howell
(804) 698-7532
email: district32@senate.virginia.gov

Senator L. Louise Lucas
(804) 698-7518
email: district18@senate.virginia.gov

Senator John S. Edwards
(804) 698-7521
email: district21@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Linda T. Puller
(804) 698-7536
email: district36@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Mark D. Obenshain
(804) 698-7526
email: district26@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Ryan T. McDougle
(804) 698-7504
email: district04@senate.virginia.gov

Senator A. Donald McEachin
(804) 698-7509
email: district09@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Richard H. Stuart
(804) 698-7528
email: district28@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel
(804) 698-7527
email: district27@senate.virginia.gov

Senator William M. Stanley
(804) 698-7520
email: district20@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Thomas A. Garrett
(804) 698-7522
email: district22@senate.virginia.gov

BACKGROUND

When people ask courts to protect their rights against government
intrusion, courts first decide whether the right is fundamental, or
not fundamental. If the judge decides it's not fundamental, he will
allow the government to infringe on the right as long as it has a
"rational" reason.

But if he decides the right is fundamental, it gets much better
protection. The government is allowed to infringe on it only if there
is a truly compelling reason, and there is no other way for the
government to accomplish a very high priority.

The justices who sit on the Virginia Supreme Court today agree that
parental rights are fundamental. But those who sit on the court next
year might not. This is the problem SB 908 solves.

The opponents of the bill are saying it will let parents burn their
kids with cigarettes. Their credibility on this issue is zero.
Arizona passed a nearly identical law two years ago and the state's
laws outlawing abuse and neglect still stand.

Parents' rights are considered fundamental in Virginia right NOW! If
that meant parents could abuse their kids, it would have been
happening for 15 years--when parents rights were clearly declared to
be fundamental. But in fact, all of our state laws prohibiting abuse
and neglect have continued to operate as intended even WITH parental
rights being fundamental! SB 908 just makes sure judges can't take
away the fundamental status.

SB 908 does not give any new rights. It does not even say what
rights you have today as parents. That must be determined by looking
other places--state and federal statutes, the state and federal
constitution, etc. SB 908 simply gives much better protection to your
rights that already exist.

While SB 908 is on the committee's agenda for Monday, there is no
guarantee the committee will actually take it up, though we certainly
hope it will. About 20 other bills are on its agenda as well.

There is a companion bill in the House, HB 1462, that will be seeing
action soon.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Sincerely,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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