HB 947, affectionately known as the "Tebow Bill" (see background here), is in danger of being voted down ... again ... by the House Education committee that includes local Delegates Steve Landes (R-25th House) and Dickie Bell (R-20th House) who represent Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County.
The Family Foundation sent out a robocall Tuesday night alerting homeschoolers in the 20th District that Dickie Bell had indicated he would not support the bill in the House Education committee vote that may come as early at 9:00 Wednesday morning. Contact information was included to contact Del Bell: (804) 698-1120 or email DelDBell@house.virginia.gov and ask that he vote yes for HB 947.
The bill was voted out of the House Education sub-committee on January 27, just as it has in previous years. The next vote is where it fails year after year.
A sunset amendment was attached to the bill by Del. Landes that would limit it to a four-year trial period and, at that time, it would need to be re-voted on.
Reportedly the reason Dickie Bell opposes the bill is because it may expose homeschooled students to things they may not consider appropriate, something that crosses over into decisions made by capable parents.
I left a message at Del. Bell's office late this afternoon to learn more and to ask for confirmation but as of the time of publication of this post, I had not heard from him or his staff.
Twenty states across the country allow homeschool access and it has worked for them. Perhaps it's time for the discriminatory homeschool stereotypes to go away in Virginia starting with Del. Bob Tata (R-85th House) who made a very offensive comment concerning homeschoolers:
"I guess what you'd have is sort of like a bunch of adolescent free agents," Tata said with a laugh. "But how would you control it? I mean, you could have some 6 (foot) 4 (inch) gorilla at home who can't read or write but can run a 4.4-second 40-yard dash." [emphasis added]Kudos to Rob Bell for his continuous support of homeschool families by again submitting the homeschool sports access bill this year and not giving up, something those families may remember when he runs for Attorney General in 2013.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the surface it definitely should be something that passes. But I do have some big concerns about recruiting players. Tata didn't phrase it well but it would create a free agent market for high school football. It's obviously not to the same degree as college, but high school football brings in more money and attention for the school when it is successful. Bigger programs already recruit under the table. This could turn into a slippery slope if it's not done right.
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