The General Assembly trudged on through the snow Tuesday, and two Family Foundation priority bills were passed by lawmakers.
In the House, SB 690, legislation that protects the right of National Guard chaplains to reference their faith in sermons and other messages passed unanimously. The bill already passed the Senate without opposition, and is now on its way to the Governor, who has indicated support this year. Governor McAuliffe vetoed a similar bill last year, but the bill was amended this year to alleviate the Governor's concerns. SB 690 is co-patroned by Senators Dick Black (R-13, Leesburg) and George Barker (D-39, Alexandria).
Also today, legislation that will provide opportunities for some home school students to participate in public school sports passed the state Senate. The bill, HB 1626, patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Charlottesville), prohibits the Virginia High School League (or any other similar entity should one materialize), which oversees high school sports in Virginia, from discriminating against home school students. Unfortunately, to pass the Senate, the bill had to be amended to allow local school boards the ability to continue to deny this access to home school students. Currently, several counties have indicated their willingness to be open-minded and allow home school students to try out for their teams, so the bill is a step in the right direction, should it be signed into law by the Governor. We are confident that the policy will be broadened in the future. In the meantime, we must remember that most school boards in Virginia are elected bodies, so if the county you live in has school board members who continue to discriminate against home school students, identify someone (maybe you!) to run against them!
There are still several bills that The Family Foundation team continues to lobby for or against. Please continue to contact your elected officials when we send you an Action Alert. Your voice matters!