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Delegate Turner has notified MDHSA in writing that this bill WILL NOT go to hearing at any time for the remainder of the 2018 session.
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.
Nothing. The lead sponsor has publicly stated in writing that he will allow this bill to die in committee. No further action is needed.
FAQs 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
** This webpage is provided for informational purposes. It is not legal advice. **
Last modified on September 13, 2019