Friday, June 24, 2011

2011 Legislative Recap on TWO Parental Rights Bills

A revised HB 542 passed the House (240-108) and the Senate (19-5). It does not allow parents to unilaterally opt out of public school courses or programs based upon rights of conscience as approved by the House.

The Senate's revision requires that school districts adopt a policy allowing an exception to specific course material based on a parent’s determination that it's objectionable. However, and this is the troublesome part, the bill does require the district's approval of the parent's alternative materials. Does anyone believe that districts will suddenly work cooperatively to allow parents to opt out, en masse if necessary, replacing objectionable school materials at the parent's own expense, of course?

If the bill is signed by the governor, a number of legislators have agreed to work again next year on this issue to resolve these problems.

Sen. Jim Forsythe would like to clarify that the district should not be allowed to disapprove the parent's alternative materials, only determine whether the use of these materials will enable the child to receive school credit. Many times receiving school credit is unnecessary; other times it may be useful in order to receive a high school diploma. These two cases need to be considered separately.

In the House, Rep. JR Hoell has introduced legislation to work on and resolve this issue. Rep. Laura Jones and Keith Murphy also support parental rights of conscience, along with Rep. Seth Cohn and Mark Warden.

Please support the efforts of these legislators to get this issue resolved next year.

HB 329, an act requiring parental notification before a minor may have an abortion, was vetoed by Governor Lynch. However, his veto was successfully overridden by the House and Senate to become law.