July 27, 2007

Texas Legislative Wrap-Up: It was a Good Year

The 2007 has ended and homeschool freedoms remain intact. We praise the Lord for His continued protection during this session.

Texas attorney Tom Sanders, the Home School Legal Defense Association’s legislative counsel, worked tirelessly in Austin to lobby on your behalf. He testified at various hearings and met with many legislators. We coordinated all the elerts with him to target legislators on certain important bills.

Thank you all for your tremendous response! Every time HSLDA sent out an elert the legislators were swamped! Your vigilance made all the difference. We could not have done it without you.

Here are some of the highlights from the 2007 legislative session:

Compulsory Attendance:

Senator Judith Zaffirini’s SB 52 would have expanded the jurisdiction of the state over your children. This bill died in committee! Thank you for your calls.

Homeschool Access to Examinations:

Representative Charlie Howard’s bill, HB 1844, was passed, opening the door for homeschoolers to participate in Advanced Placement testing and the PSAT examination through the public schools. This is good news for homeschoolers. We are thankful for your calls.

Rescinding Governor Perry's Executive Order:

Governor Perry issued an executive order to mandate immunization against HPV to 11 year old girls. This was an affront to many of you and an invasion of privacy. Much data show that the vaccination was not even effective. Your calls helped fuel the reaction in the House and Senate. A bill to rescind this order, HB 1098 passed the House and Senate, effectively rescinding the unwise executive order.

College Scholarships:

Thanks to your calls, HB 1250 was passed and signed into law by the governor. Originally this bill would have allowed all private school students to be eligible for both the Texas Grant Scholarship and the B-On-Time Loan. At the last minute the language allowing access to the Texas Grant Scholarship was taken out of the bill. However, the new law will remove the term “accredited” from the academic requirement for the B-On-Time Loan and thus allow all private school students (including those in private schools in the home) to be academically eligible, ending this discrimination against unaccredited homeschools in Texas.

Driver’s License Requirements:

HB 1091 would have limited the ability of parents to teach their children how to drive. This bill would have hurt parents rights to teach their children how to drive. This bill died in committee. We are thankful for this outcome.

Grandparent’s Rights:

HB 3971 was introduced in order to protect parent’s rights. Under current Texas law, grandparents may sue for and receive court-ordered visitation, over the parents’ objection. Even if parents believe that it would not be best for their children to see their grandparents, grandparents could petition the court to force the parents to give the grandparents visitation. This law has been held unconstitutional be the Texas Supreme Court. The bill would have brought the law back in line with the constitution, as well as restore the rights of parents. Unfortunately HB 3971 did not pass. The language was then tacked onto a senate bill which did pass, but it did not survive conference committee. This issue will have to be revisited next legislative session.

We are thankful that homeschoolers made progress this legislative session. Due to your faithfulness and vigilance we were able to stop bad bills and pass some bills that will benefit homeschoolers. Thank you, once again, for your involvement and your efforts.


Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel