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Puerto Rico Homeschoolers Obtain Great Victory
The 2006 legislative session is over at the House of Representatives in Puerto Rico, and House Bill 2754, proposed to regulate homeschooling, was defeated. Homeschoolers lobbying against it have obtained a great victory and have much to be thankful for. However, it is still alive for the next legislative session due to a last-minute technical move.
On Monday, November 6, 2006, H.B. 2754 reached the floor for a vote at 9:30 p.m. Homeschoolers young and old, wearing yellow shirts, had filled the stands of the ancient hall at the Capitol building since the early afternoon hours.
The bill was defeated, 27 votes against, with 3 abstentions, and 20 votes in favor, for a total of 30 to 20. Immediately, Representative Angel Pérez, who had always indicated that he would vote for the legislation and had just voted against it, invoked his right to request a reconsideration of the voting for this Bill.
The House Speaker, the Honorable José Aponte, granted his request, and the bill remained on the table indefinitely, until a representative from the House’s majority leadership decides to bring it up again for a vote. The rest of that week, homeschool families attended the House sessions, until a recess was called for the remainder of this year.
Homeschoolers obtained great victories during this new fight for freedom and the free exercise of homeschooling in Puerto Rico. Many families joined the lobbying efforts for months prior to the House vote by visiting their legislators, writing them via fax and email, by calling their offices, collecting signatures and submitting petitions requesting a halt to this new move to regulate. Parents with babies and small children, homeschooled teens and graduates, and even relatives of homeschooling families, made their presence known to the legislators during the weeks preceding the final vote. The effort was widely publicized, and a good number of legislators were convinced that this bill would not serve the homeschooling community well.
A coalition of 17 groups across the island joined efforts to defend their liberties, and will continue to do so when the new legislative session starts on January 15, 2007. Families have engaged in an important learning process regarding the work of the Puerto Rican Legislature, our rights as homeschoolers, and the importance of working to maintain our basic freedoms. The process has also served to bring homeschool groups together. We will continue to oppose the bill and keep you posted.
Homeschoolers in Puerto Rico have many reasons to give thanks to the Lord this coming Thanksgiving Day. All glory goes to the Lord. “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.” (Proverbs 21:31)
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