Home : Legal : 2018 Issues : HB 1798


The information on this page is provided for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice or counsel.

Legislative Update on HB 1798

DEFEATED 3/12/2018 at 1:25pm

MDHSA spoke directly to Delegate Turner. The bill will NOT be going to hearing this session.

UPDATE 3/10/2018 at 5:15pm

Delegate Ebersole's office has sent out emails and has spoken personally with homeschoolers in the community that he is withdrawing his name as co-sponsor from HB 1798. This is a small but great victory for Maryland homeschoolers' grassroots efforts. Keep calling and emailing Delegate Turner and Delegate Kaiser and let them know this bill needs to be withdrawn immediately!

  • 2018: HB 1798 - County Boards of Education - Home Instruction Program - Observation of Instruction and Reporting of Abuse and Neglect

    This bill would require parents to annually inform their county school boards of their homeschool child's primary instructor and of the primary location where homeschooling is taking place each year. Furthermore, in order to legally homeschool in the state of Maryland, parents would be required to allow a representative of the county board to observe instruction at the family's primary homeschooling location at least twice a year. Finally, this bill would require county school board employees who observe a family's instruction and who believe a homeschool child has been subjected to abuse or neglect to report their suspicion to the proper authorities.

    Get the latest update on HB 1798 from the General Assembly.

    Status: Despite its late introduction date, the House Rules Committee has fast-tracked this bill to the House Ways and Means Committee. As of 4:00pm on March 10th, no committee hearing has been set.

    Important to Know: Delegate Frank Turner from Howard County is the primary sponsor of this bill, along with Delegate Anne Kaiser (Montgomery) and Delegate Eric Ebersole (Baltimore and Howard Counties). Delegate Kaiser is the chairwoman of the House Ways and Means Committee and holds the power to schedule bills for hearing.

    What You Can Do: The primary call to action right now is to work to have this bill withdrawn before it goes to hearing. The only way to withdraw a bill is to put pressure on its sponsors.

    Take a look at our talking points below and then call or email all 3 sponsors of HB 1798 and ask that they immediately withdraw the bill. If you send an email, be sure to mark your subject line with Re: HB 1798 - Homeschool bill OPPOSED

    Delegate Frank Turner





    Delegate Anne Kaiser




Frequently Asked Questions About HB 1798

  • Why was this bill introduced?
    MDHSA reached out to Delegate Turner's office to discuss why he filed the bill at such a late date in the legislative session. Delegate Turner's staff stated that it was in response to "recent news about homeschoolers".
  • What are the chances that this bill will pass?
    The House of Delegates has until March 19th (the crossover date) to hold a public hearing on HB 1798 and then have the entire House vote to pass the bill to the Senate. The Senate then has until April 9 (the last day of the 2018 legislative session) to hold its hearing and have a full chamber vote. If the bill passes the General Assembly, it will only become law if the governor signs it. The likelihood of this bill being successfully fast-tracked through both chambers are strong, as one of the co-sponsors is the chairwoman of the House Ways and Means Committee that will hold the hearing.
  • How does this bill affect umbrellas?
    The original text of HB 1798 does not mention umbrellas in any way.
  • Does this bill require a homeschool family to let school board employees into their private home?
    The original text of HB 1798 does not explicitly state that school board employees will conduct observational visits at a homeschool family's residence. The bill proposes that visits will be made to "the location where the home instruction takes place". Families would be required to notify their county of that exact location each year, as well as any changes to that location throughout the year. For all intents and purposes, a family could identify their primary homeschool location as their local library, house of worship, co-op, or even local playground.
  • What would happen if a family refuses to allow a school employee into their home to observe instruction?
    The bill does not address any specific penalty for parents refusing to comply with the proposed law. It would be expected that the Maryland State Department of Education would develop new regulations that would address a penalty, such as ordering a child back into public school.
  • What happens next?
    The first goal is to flood the bill's sponsors with hundreds of calls and emails asking that they immediately withdraw bill. When you call or email Delegates Turner, Kaise, and Ebersole, you are encouraged to pick 1 or 2 talking points and calmly explain why this bill is a dangerous and illegal over-reach of authority by the state.

    If this bill goes to hearing, the homeschool community will be called upon to travel to Annapolis to testify and stand present duirng the hearing to express our opposition to the bill.

  • Should I call my state Delegate right now?
    If you have limited time for calls and emails, then we recommend you focus on our Call To Action and contact the bill's sponsors and ask they withdraw the bill. If you have more time, then communicating directly with your state representatives is always encouraged - especially if they serve on the House Rules or Ways and Means Committee. Talking directly with your elected officials helps them put faces and stories to issues that they'll be voting on. If you call your state Delegate or Senator and discover that they are supporters of HB 1798, send us an email at mdsa.info (at) gmail.com to help us keep a running list of anti-homeschooling legislators.
  • How do I find out who my state representatives are?
    Enter your address at mdelect.net and it will give you contact information for all your state and federal elected officials.

Talking Points About HB 1798

There are many arguments about why this bill is unnecessary and, more to the point, an over-reach of authority by the state of Maryland. In addition to your own thoughts, we offer a few talking points that you can use when you contact the bill's sponsors to ask they withdraw this bill.

NOTE: Many homeschoolers have found that they get more attention and a better response from a legislator or their staff if they focus on just 1 or 2 talking points.

  1. Mandatory Reporters. As licensed educators, homeschool liaisons are already required to report suspicision of neglect or abuse to the proper authorities, should that occur during a homeschool review conducted at a local library or other mutually agreeable location. If the state is going to begin mandating pre-emptive home visits in an effort to ensure that no child is being abused, then this bill should be amended to include children who attend private schools. Read more about mandatory reporting requirements for child abuse in Maryland.
  2. Duplication of Effort. COMAR 13A.10.01.E already allows county school boards the option to "observe instruction" of homeschool families. One of the key differences between the existing homeschool regulation and the proposed bill is the location of where the observation would take place. COMAR states that the review and/or observation be "at a time and place mutually agreeable to the representative of the local school system and the parent or guardian". The proposed bill would require the observation to take place at the primary location where the family homeschools.
  3. Cost Prohibitive. Requiring county homeschool liaisons to drive and make home visits to thousands of families, twice a year, will create a significant financial burden for cash-strapped school boards.
  4. No Evidence. No scientific study or statistical evidence exists to demonstrate a link between homeschooling and child abuse. Simply put: Homeschool children are not at greater risk for abuse than children who are educated by other means.
  5. Violation of the 4th Amendment. Read the letter that HSLDA sent to Delegate Turner explaining their opinion of how the current bill would create an unconstitutional mandate when no probable cause exists to enter a person's home.



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