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West Virginia

March 12, 2003

West Virginia Governor Signs Bill Abolishing Four-year Rule

Governor Bob Wise made history on April 2, when he signed Senate Bill 206, abolishing West Virginia's archaic four-year rule, and putting his stamp of approval on a bill supported by every West Virginia legislator except Lidella Wilson Hrutkay (District 19, Logan County).

This is the culmination of many years of work. In 1999, Home School Legal Defense Association, Christian Home Educators of West Virginia (CHEWV), and West Virginia Home Educators Association (WVHEA) corresponded about the idea of launching a campaign to abolish the four-year rule, understanding very well that it could take years. The first attempt was Senate Bill 189, filed in the 2000 legislative session. Although not completely successful, the legislature acknowledged a change was needed, and approved a one-year waiver of the four-year rule.

In the following legislative session, we filed House Bill 2595. After a very tough fight, ultimate success once again evaded us, but the legislature agreed to waive the four-year rule for two additional years.

As the two-year waiver came due for expiration, we knocked on the door once again, and on January 22, 2003, filed Senate Bill 181 (subsequently known as Senate Bill 206). As with the two previous bills, we faced intense opposition from teacher's unions and others as well as efforts to take away important freedoms. With literally minutes remaining on the last day of the legislative session, however, Senate Bill 206 flew through the legislature with only two nay votes, one of which was the result of a lawmaker pushing the wrong button.

Homeschoolers in West Virginia should consider sending Governor Wise a brief letter of thanks, or email, for his decision to sign the bill. After the bill was sent to his office, he had fifteen days by law to decide what action to take. The Governor could have done nothing, and the bill would still have become law. His decision to sign the bill only six days after receiving it indicates a willingness to be part of this homeschooling success.

CHEWV has been tremendously supportive of this entire campaign in many ways, including encouraging their members to call and write lawmakers and attend legislative sessions. Representatives of West Virginia Home Educators Association have provided important support for the campaign, some of which has not been obvious to the public eye.

For those of you who prayed, worked, hoped, and waited, you know your

prayers were answered. Thank you, and well done!

For more information on the history of this bill visit,
http://www.hslda.org/Legislation/State/WV/2003/WVSB181/default.asp