June 10, 2003

Texas Legislature Now Closed for 2003

Thank you for all of your hard work this legislative season! Because of your calls, letters, and email, we have been able to accomplish several major victories for homeschoolers in Texas. Tom Sanders, HSLDA's Legislative Counsel, was in Austin nearly every week during the legislative session, lobbying on your behalf to make these successes a reality.

  1. Homeschoolers killed S.B. 586, the homeschool registration bill. Our consistent message was "no compromise," and the sponsor got that message from your calls (over a thousand as estimated by a staffer).

  2. A steady barrage of calls and a providential budget shortfall stopped Senator Zaffrini's compulsory attendance bill, S.B. 30.

  3. Together we passed H.B. 944 which ensures that homeschoolers cannot be discriminated against for college admissions. We successfully removed the term "home school" from H.B. 944 and from several other bills, changing it to "private school" in order to remain consistent with the Texas Supreme Court precedent in the Leeper case. This was crucial to avoid potential regulation and classification of "home schools" in future legislatures.

  4. We worked on H.B. 374, the corporal punishment bill and were able to get the bill to the Senate where it unfortunately died. But this year's investment will make the likelihood of success next session more certain.

  5. H.B. 1752, the child welfare reform bill, was bold and filled with common sense reforms for Child Protective Services. The social worker lobby, however, was too strong and the bill failed. We worked hard to get that bill introduced but we will be back next session.

  6. In spite of the defeat of HB 1752, Texas homeschoolers and families will be better protected from Child Protective Services (CPS) workers then ever before. HSLDA's amendment requiring social worker training in constitutional rights has become law. The language states, "It is the intent of the Legislature that the training curriculum for CPS Caseworkers funded out of Strategy A.1.2, Child and Family Services, include instruction in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and parents' rights." Most social workers we deal with, who have received an anonymous accusation against a homeschool family, routinely ignore the family's parental and due process rights. This law will help prevent that from happening.

  7. We monitored several other pieces of legislation that could have been harmful to homeschoolers in Texas.