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3/8/2013 10:21:30 AM
Scott Woodruff--HSLDA
Missouri--Update: Committee Win for Parental Rights Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Missouri--Update: Committee Win for Parental Rights Bill

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Thank you for your phone calls! A bill that will put Missouri on
record as protecting parenting as we know it, HB 513, won its first
victory on March 5 with a bipartisan favorable 9 for, 3 against vote
in the House Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities
Committee.

Soon the action will move to the floor of the Missouri House of
Representatives.

ACTION REQUESTED

If your representative voted "yes" on HB 513, please take a moment and
place a quick phone call to thank him. If your representative voted
"no", please call and courteously urge him to reconsider and vote
"yes" when the bill comes up for a vote on the House floor.

Visit the Missouri House of Representatives website and type in your
ZIP code to find out who your representative is and get their contact
information. http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17494


These reps voted yes: Jeff Gilmore, Kurt Bahr, Rick Brattin, Elaine
Gannon, Elijah Haahr, Andrew Koenig, Sue Meredith, Jim Neely and Tim
Remole.

These reps voted no: Genise Monticello, Stacey Newman and Jill Schupp.
If they will chat with you about it, you could even ask them why they
voted "no", and perhaps you could respond to their concerns with
information in the "background" section below.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Your right to raise your children according to your best judgment is
under attack from many directions. To protect your rights as a parent
and pass them on to your children, it's important to put them in black
and white. Right now, parental rights are not protected by statute,
and courts can undermine them at will. That's not adequate. HB 513
solves that problem.

The right of a parent to raise his child according to his best
judgment was unquestioned in America until 2000. In that year the
U.S. Supreme Court for the first time refused to treat the rights of
parents as on par with our other most precious rights. The court
refused to say that parents' rights are fundamental.

Since that time, 24 courts around the country have moved toward
downgrading parental rights--largely because state legislatures have
failed to do their job of protecting the rights of parent citizens
with clear legislation.

The time for silence is over. The Missouri Legislature needs to say
loud and clear that parental rights are worth protecting and not leave
it up to the whim of judges.

There are three types of rights: ordinary, fundamental, and absolute.
If a right is "absolute," the government can do absolutely nothing to
restrict it--like the right to choose a faith. The rights of parents
have never been considered absolute. The battle today is over whether
your rights as a parent are "ordinary" or "fundamental."

If a right is "ordinary" (e.g., the right to run a business, or drive
a car, or get government assistance, or practice a trade or
profession), any government agency can put restrictions on it as long
as the restriction is arguably "rational." Since it's laughably easy
to prove a government restriction is "rational," courts almost always
uphold restrictions that government agencies place on the ordinary
rights of people. The government wins. The person with the right
loses.

But if a right is fundamental (like the right to move within a state,
or to a different state, procreation, or schooling other than public)
a government agency can restrict it only if it has a super good
reason. Sometimes this is referred to as a "compelling" reason, or a
reason "of the highest order." To protect parenting as we and
generations of Americans have known it, it's crucial that parental
rights continue to be treated as "fundamental."

That's what HB 513 does. It doesn't give you any new rights. It just
provides much better protection for the ones you already have.

There is a loose-knit group of folks who want the government to put
more and more restrictions on parents. Some of these folks will argue
that HB 513 will let parents abuse their kids. This is false. The
bill gives you no new rights. You don't have a right to abuse your
kids now; you won't after it becomes law.

Or they may argue that it will destroy the "best interest" rule. The
starting point on this issue is that parents are presumed to act in
the best interests of their children (per the U.S. Supreme Court).
But when judges have authority to make rulings about children, they
must do what is in the best interests of the child. HB 513 won't
change that. In fact, the "best interest" concept was created when it
was universally acknowledged that parents' rights were fundamental.
There is no inconsistency between the "best interests" rule and
parental rights being fundamental.

Furthermore, the idea of parental rights being fundamental is not
experimental. We have over a century of experience of knowing what it
means for your rights to be fundamental. And during that century,
laws prohibiting abuse and neglect functioned as intended even with
parental rights being fundamental. There is simply no rational
reason to think that would change with HB 513.

HB 513 does not change the definition of "parent." It does not define
it at all. The legislature can define "parent" as may be necessary
when the case arises.

HB 513 will not upset current custody or adoption orders. Even when
parental rights are fundamental, courts still have power to enter
custody orders when custody of a child is in dispute. And courts
still have power to terminate the rights of parents (like for
adoption), if it is done according to law. HB 513 will not change
that.

HB 513 will not let parents dictate curriculum to public schools.
Even when parental rights are fundamental, schools still have nearly
unfettered discretion in deciding what to teach. In Fields v. Palmdale
School District, a federal court of appeals held that parents'
fundamental rights "... do not entitle individual parents to enjoin
school boards from providing information the boards determine to be
appropriate" to students.

Some will argue that we should just let "common law" keep on
developing as it has. The flaw in that argument is that it ignores
the fact that the reason governments exist in the first place is to
protect our rights (read the Declaration of Independence). It's only
when the legislature abdicates its duty to protect our rights that the
job by default falls back into the lap of the courts. Yes, if the
legislature is silent, the courts will fill the void with their own
opinions. But that is the least democratic way to address the issue
of rights.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Sincerely Yours,

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.
Senior Counsel, HSLDA

P.S. We greatly value you and your support--it is a privilege to serve
you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you
consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support
enables us to defend individual families and protect homeschooling
freedom for all. Join now:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17495

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-> Is customer service an art or a science?

For us, good customer service is both an art and a science
-it should appeal to our members and be effective. Consider what
our members say about us:

The freedom HSLDA allows me to have as I homeschool is wonderful!
They handle the law and I get to dedicate the time to my daughter.
- National City, CA

HSLDA members since 1993, our membership is just as important to
us as our children's curriculum. Thank you HSLDA for all you do on
our behalf! - West Valley, NY

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1941

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