Wednesday, March 9, 2011

HB 542: Parental Rights of Conscience Supported by Education Committee

The House Education Committee decided that HB 542 "Ought To Pass as Amended" this morning with an 11 to 6 vote.

NH RSA 193:1 Duty of Parent; Compulsory Attendance by Pupil.

V. No district shall compel a parent to send his child to any school
or program to which he may be conscientiously opposed,

nor shall any district approve or disapprove a parent's education
program or curriculum.

Voting in favor of the motion were Reps. Balboni, Ingbretson, Kolodziej, Brosseau,
Greemore, Hill, Hoell, Jones, Rago, Baldasaro, and Boehm

Voting against were Reps. Hutchinson, Fleck, Gile, Shaw, Bouchard, Frazer

There were four new members of the HEC for today's vote. The House Speaker made sure to replace missing HEC members for the vote on this bill. So, please thank the Speaker for his concern about parental rights of conscience.

HB 542 will go to the House floor next week. The House Calendar comes out on Thursday, so we'll have a more definitive schedule later this week.

Please contact your state representatives as soon as possible and ask for their support of HB 542 "as amended" in committee. Those 35 words in blue are the entire bill . It's short and sweet.

Find your representatives:

HB 542, as amended, adds nothing new to statute that isn't already in effect via court decisions or current law. The first section recognizes a parent's inalienable rights of conscience. The second section is taken directly from the current statute on the regulation of private schools, RSA 186:11.

However, it is extremely useful to place these parental rights prominently in statute. It places a flag in the ground, which will prevent parents from back sliding down a slippery slope each year, arguing against the same proposed increases in state regulation.

Many districts have policies to assist parents who might oppose certain school programs or courses. Others don't. This bill would allow parents to argue from a position of authority: theirs, as specified under this proposal. It also recognizes private school parents as well as home schooling parents for their conscientious opposition to public school instruction. This proposal empowers all parents across the board.

The Republican House Agenda promised to uphold the rights of parents. Please ask your representatives to support parental rights with HB 542 as amended.