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House Bill 53 is a curfew bill. The bill gives local municipalities or counties the ability to adopt a nighttime curfew (midnight to 5 a.m.) or a daytime curfew during school hours on weekdays. The daytime curfew part of the bill would require the child to be in school when the school is in session. The only good thing about this bill is that it specifically treats homeschool programs as a distinct entity so that a homeschool child would only have to be in school when the homeschool program was in session.
The bill also does have a requirement that any daytime curfew ordinance would have to include an exemption for children receiving instruction in a homeschool program and that require the child to be in attendance at a particular time. However, this bill will create a situation that any child out in public (even doing a legal activity) could be stopped by a law enforcement officer (or potentially some other governmental official). If the law enforcement officer is not able to contact the parents of the child, then the child could be taken into custody. If authorities can’t contact the parent within six hours then they will have to initiate the procedures for protective custody under the Family in Need of Court-Ordered Services Act.
12/21/2016 Pre-Filed in House
01/18/2017 Sent to House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants, & Cultural Affairs Committee,
House Judiciary Committee, & House Appropriations and Finance Committee
Even with the good language (i.e. homeschool programs being treated equally with other educational settings in New Mexico) HSLDA is opposed to this bill. We oppose all curfew bills because of the concerns for liberty and freedom. While this curfew bill is better than some, it still subjects law-abiding children to being stopped, questioned, and possibility taken into custody.
There is no need to identify yourself as a homeschool parent when discussing this bill. Instead, you should raise your objections to this bill as a concerned parent and New Mexico resident.
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