A bill (3478) was introduced in the House that would require associations to give the State Department of Education our student's names, require standardized testing, and repeal the 3rd Option of the law by July 2014. It's just been introduced in the House and has been sent to committee. If it makes it out of there, then it gets read 3 times and voted on, then it goes to the Senate where it goes through the same process. It's not a fast process, so you have time to gather your thoughts and contact your local representatives, as well as those who are on the House Education (and Public Works) committee.
I'm not going to tell you how to feel about any legislation, but if you don't want any of this to happen, please read the proposed legislation and call your representatives to let them know you're not in support of it. Be polite. If you write a letter, that has even more impact.
The representatives who sponsored the bill are Brannon*, Anthony*, Horne, and Jefferson*, and they live in Spartanburg, Union, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties. If you live there, I'm sure they would like to know your feelings. If we can stop it in committee, it would be great.
(The linked names have information about the representatives and a link to send them an email message, as well as home and office phone numbers and mailing addresses.)
- Jefferson has dropped his sponsorship of the bill, so a thank-you email or letter would be appropriate.
- As of 2/11/13, it has been rumored that Brannon is also requesting to drop his sponsorship of the bill. He seemed to be the most dug-in, so if he drops it, then the only one left will be Horne, who wants to work on the wording of the bill to include a "central registry of homeschoolers." I'll update this (and the rumor of Anthony dropping sponsorship) as soon as possible.
- As of 2/12/13, Brannon reportedly wrote the following to the chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee and the chairman of the K-12 Subcommittee: "I write to ask that H. 3478 remain in subcommittee without hearing. I no longer support this bill in its current form and do not want the bill to become law. I’ve talked with Representatives Horne and Anthony and have informed them of my decision. They both concur.”
Several homeschool organizations are saying this bill has been "defeated." However, notice that the letter states he's no longer supporting it "in its current form." This vague wording leaves everything as dangerous as before. He's not removing himself as a sponsor, nor is Horne, and it seems that Anthony isn't either. All they need to do to get it rolling again is change the wording, and ask for a hearing. We still need to watch over this legislation, and any other legislation that results from it.
- As of 2/19/13, Horne requested to remove herself as a sponsor of the bill. Brannon and Anthony are still listed as sponsors.
- As of 2/20/13, Anthony requested to remove himself as a sponsor of the bill. Brannon is the only one left.
The strategy most of us are taking now is to email, call, and write letters to the respresentatives on the House Education and Public Works committee, as well as our local represenatives to tell them how we feel abou this bill. At this time, there's no pressing need to call your senators since they won't see the bill for a while yet, if ever. You still can, if you want, but the main focus right now should be on reaching those on the House representatives, not our senators.
Here's a list of all respresentative currently in the House: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/member.php?chamber=H If you don't know who your representative is, go here: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/ and type in your address in the Find Your Legislators box at the bottom right.
This bill isn't dead or defeated. The current and previous sponsors of the bill have made clear that they want to change the form of the bill, not kill it. That's a big difference, so we need to keep a watch on it and other legislation that is introduced in the future.
Here's the link to the bill: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess120_2013-2014/bills/3478.htm so you can read it for yourself.