May 3, 2010

Threatening Legislation Dead

Three bad bills in the Mississippi Legislature being tracked by Home School Legal Defense Association died during the 2010 session. These bills were approved by the House of Representatives but were stopped in the Senate at the committee level on March 2.

House Bill 80 would have created a task force to study the creation of pre-kindergarten programs. The preamble to the bill stated in part, “The Mississippi Legislature recognizes that the development and funding of quality research-based pre-kindergarten programs is needed urgently in our state.” This would have potentially expanded compulsory education to 3 and 4-year-olds.

House Bill 355 would have created an early childhood development program whereby parents would have received instruction in how to be better parents according to state standards, and children would have received early care to prepare them for public school.

House Bill 612 would have created a Children’s Advocacy Commission. This bill had the potential to subvert the rights of parents, who should be presumed (in the absence of contrary evidence) to be the appropriate “advocates” for their own children. Particularly disturbing in the bill was language which would have granted the Commission certain powers regarding children “from conception to the age of majority.” This provision had the potential to infringe on numerous statutory and constitutional rights of the citizens of Mississippi.

Many thanks to all who contacted legislators about these bills. We especially appreciate the effective lobbying efforts of the Mississippi Home Educators Association in bringing about a defeat of these bills.