Originally Sent: 1/23/2014
|From the HSLDA e-lert service|
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Action Needed to Have
Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt answers questions and assists members with legal issues in your state. He and his wife homeschool their children.
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Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
The Washington Legislature opened for the 2014 regular session on January 13, and will close on March 13. We are following several bills, some of which are carryovers from last year.
However, there is a bill that we need your action on right now. In coordination with ParentalRights.org, we are supporting a bill that would strengthen parental rights in Washington State. The bill is House Bill 2174.
The bill is modeled after the parental rights amendment that we are working on in Congress. HB 2174 would declare that parental rights are fundamental rights and deserve the highest level of protection in Washington.
In order for this bill to have a chance to pass this year in a short legislative session, we need it to get out of the House Judiciary Committee by February 9. Therefore, we need your calls to the House Judiciary Committee urging members to support the bill and bring it to a vote.
Please act now!
1) Please call and email the House Judiciary Committee members listed below and give them this message in your own words:
“Please support House Bill 2174. I am concerned with the erosion of parental rights in the federal courts, and I don’t want to see that erosion come into our Washington courts. Please vote HB 2174 out of committee to codify the existing judicial standard for parental rights so that our families can be safe from weak federal standards. This bill will instruct and empower our Washington judges to treat traditional, time-tested parental rights with the respect they have earned through the years.”
You do not need to identify yourself as a homeschooler; instead you can identify yourself as a concerned parent and taxpayer. Please let the legislator know if you are in their district.
House Judiciary Committee Members and their contact information can be found online.
Fundamental parental rights are already recognized in many state courts where they receive “strict scrutiny,” the highest level of legal protection. But this is based on precedent by the U.S. Supreme Court, and that precedent is eroding.
In Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), the Supreme Court was splintered, issuing six separate opinions. A majority of the justices agreed that parental rights are fundamental rights, but only Justice Thomas called for strict scrutiny protection. Since then, federal and state courts have altered the standard on a case-by-case basis because of the ambiguity of this decision.
HB 2174 will protect Washington from this erosion by rooting “strict scrutiny” in statutory law and not just in case law. This will return Washington parental rights to the solid traditional foundation, even as federal precedent continues to weaken.
HB 2174 needs to receive a hearing in the committee within the next couple of weeks to have a realistic chance of being passed by the Washington Legislature this year. Your calls or emails today will play a vital role in making that happen. Thank you for taking the time to bring about this victory for your parental rights!
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Thomas J. (Tj) Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney
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 threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>
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