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Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,
Another legislative season is over and we would like to report on our work and your valuable efforts for the 2003 Florida Legislative Session.
COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE BILLS DEFEATED
The greatest victory was the defeat of H.B. 9 and S.B. 1330. These bills would have raised the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 17. This would have required you to report on your children an extra year before they were beyond compulsory attendance age. It would have had an unneeded fiscal impact on the taxpayers of Florida.
Thanks to your tireless efforts in emailing and calling your representatives, we were able to kill these bills even though they passed the education committee. We are convinced your calls played a significant part in stopping the bill.
THREAT TO PARENTAL RIGHTS AVERTED
Over the years, HSLDA has represented member families in conflict with grandparents who did not like homeschooling. These grandparents would try to stop the homeschooling through various means including turning the family over to the child welfare services. Thankfully, most grandparents we come in contact with at HSLDA support homeschooling and in some situations even participate in the teaching.
However, S.B. 128 would have given grandparents and great grandparents the right to sue parents for visitation rights. If this bill became law, they could sue "natural parents who are still married to each other" if "either or both parents have used their parental authority to prohibit a relationship between the minor and the grandparents or great grandparents."
Of course, if a grandparent brings such a suit under this act, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child and order family mediation and a psychological evaluation of the child. Parental rights would be ignored.
Fortunately, the language HSLDA was concerned about was removed in a committee replacement largely due to the homeschooler's opposition to the measure. The entire bill later died in the appropriations subcommittee.
Once again, your calls made the difference! Thank you for sacrificing your time to respond to our alerts. It takes eternal vigilance to protect your freedoms!
HSLDA Senior Counsel