Tuesday, February 19, 2013

HB 1642 Update: Michael Ramey Calls for Calls

As discussed earlier, Virginia House Bill 1642 and Senate Bill 908 are "companion" bills that uphold the rights of parents to make decisions about their children. While several Tea Parties and homeschooling contacts are interested in these bills, Michael Ramey's e-mail is displayed here because it arrived in ready-to-copy-and-paste form...

"
Your calls are urgently needed to support a bill that will protect parental rights in Virginia!

HB1642 moved successfully through the House committee and the House floor, then was approved with amendment by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee (8-5-1) on Friday. Now it faces a crucial test on the Senate floor.

The Virginia General Assembly has never stated whether parental rights should be protected at the highest level--as fundamental rights--or whether they are merely "ordinary" rights that can be pushed aside for nearly any reason.

Your right to raise your child as you see fit is under fire from many directions. It is no longer adequate for the General Assembly to remain silent.

Action Item

Please call your Virginia state senator in Richmond right away and ask him or her to support HB1642. Your message can be as simple as: "Please vote YES on HB 1642. The right of parents to make decisions about their children should be protected the same as our other most important rights."

If you do not know who your Virginia state senator is, you can use the online Find My Legislator form.

Background

HB1642 is the companion bill to SB 908. Both have been amended somewhat during the legislative process, but as of right now, the contents of both are good. Both protect a parent's right with respect to their child's upbringing, education, and care.

When SB 908 reached the Senate floor earlier, it was approved with good bipartisan support. However, the language of HB1642 is now slightly different from SB908, so we cannot assume that every senator who voted for SB908 will also vote for HB1642. Your calls are important to maintain momentum!

SB908 itself came out of the House Courts of Justice committee yesterday with even more support (after an amendment which actually strengthened the bill) than its companion received last month. It will go to the House floor soon.

When people ask courts to protect their rights against government intrusion, courts first decide whether the right is fundamental, or not fundamental. If the judge decides it's not fundamental, he will allow the government to infringe on the right as long as it has a "rational" basis for doing so.

But if he decides the right is fundamental, it gets much better protection. The government is allowed to infringe only if there is a truly compelling reason, and there is no other way for the government to accomplish that very high priority. Without legislation, a future court could downgrade your rights from fundamental to ordinary.

Senator Bryce Reeves, sponsor of SB908, and Delegate Brenda Pogge, sponsor of HB1642, are doing excellent work on their bills. Home School Legal Defense Association, the Home Educators Association of Virginia, and the Family Foundation are united with ParentalRights.org in supporting these bills.

Thank you for taking a moment to stand with us for the protection of Virginia families!

Sincerely,

Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research
"