May 19, 2008

Misguided Driver’s License Bill Fails to Pass

Thank you for your calls in opposition to H.B. 2078, the driver’s license bill. They made a difference! The bill died with the close of the legislature on Friday, May 16. Your calls sent a loud and clear message that the homeschool community was united in opposing the bad policy this bill would have created.

This misguided bill would have made it much harder for young adults—including homeschoolers—to get a learner’s permits or a driver’s license by conditioning them on school performance. If this bill had passed, it would have given the Department of Education broad de facto power to regulate homeschooling. Families wanting their mature young adults to move into the responsibility of driving a car would have had new regulations and bureaucracy to battle.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rodney Howard, tried a last-minute parliamentary maneuver to get the bill passed despite homeschool opposition. He attempted to get his bill’s language inserted into another bill that appeared destined to become law. The bill he attempted to use as a host passed—but because of careful work by FHE (Families for Home Education), it passed without his bill’s language! Another similar bill, H.B. 1717, never made it out of committee.

H.B. 1748, which would have made 6-year-olds subject to state-mandated compulsory school attendance, never made it out of House committee.

H.B. 1319 would have created tax credits for businesses that hired lower-income teens for summer jobs. HSLDA opposed the bill because its requirements for school performance could have created paths for greater regulation of homeschooling. The bill passed the House, and cleared the Senate Ways and Means Committee, but never made it to the Senate floor for a vote, so it died as the legislature ended.

The bill that would have created a level educational field for all persons applying to the State Highway Patrol unfortunately failed to gain passage. (This corrects our e-lert dated May 19, 2008.)

S.B. 723 was non-controversial. It simply provided that anyone who completed high school in compliance with Missouri law was eligible to apply to become a highway patrol officer (the law previously required an “accredited” education or a GED).

It passed the Senate unanimously on February 28. The House passed a slightly modified version by a vote of 141 to 7 on May 14. Even with this overwhelming margin, it had to go back to the Senate for approval because the House modified the bill slightly.

The Senate put the bill in line to be acted upon. However, other bills claimed the attention of the Senate, and the clock ran out on the legislative session before the Senate could perform the essentially administrative job of voting on the bill. There is no doubt the Senate would have approved the bill overwhelmingly if a vote had taken place.

We look forward to this bill becoming law during the next legislative session.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.