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March 3, 2009

Governor to Homeschoolers: ‘I’m proud of you!’

Governor Dave Heineman told a packed chamber of homeschool families that he was proud of their efforts. Speaking to a capacity crowd in Warner Chamber of the Nebraska Capitol on February 18, the governor recalled last year’s battle over testing bill L.B. 1141. Former Senator Dianne Schimek introduced the bill that would have radically changed Nebraska’s homeschool law, creating unprecedented burden on homeschooling families.

“I told you last year that I would veto that bill if it came to my desk. Because of your hard work it never reached my desk. In fact, the bill never left the committee.” L.B. 1141 had been assigned to a study in the Education Committee. The study was assigned a mid-level priority, and the bill has not been reintroduced.

Hundreds of homeschoolers attended NCHEA’s Capital Day. The event featured speeches by senators and others, with tours of the Capitol and meetings between homeschoolers and their senators.

Senator Tony Fulton of Lincoln shared how his faith connects with his public service. Homeschoolers listened as the senator explained that his Christian faith informed his politics and specifically helped him to make public policy decisions. The senator said that man is both body and soul, and that reality is not always what it appears to be through our eyes and ears. “I have introduced [legislation] to require that abortionists make available ultrasound imagery to women considering an abortion. We can use the technology we have today to show that inside the womb is a living person with a beating heart. That is how faith and politics are linked.”

Senator Beau McCoy is thought to be the first-ever homeschool graduate to become a state senator. He is also the second-youngest sitting senator ever. Before being called off to the Senate floor midway through his presentation, the senator shared with the children, “Whatever your dream is—you can achieve it.” The senator recalled his own visit to Washington, D.C. when he was 5 years old. A chance encounter with President Ronald Reagan inspired the senator to seek a life of public service.

HSLDA Attorney Michael Donnelly attended the Capital Day to address the crowd on the topic of defending parental rights.

“Today, government is increasingly pushing into the realm of the family and attempting to substitute its decision-making for parental decision-making. The threat families face today is complex and coordinated. And at its root it is an attempt to allow the government to question in every case the decisions of parents with respect to their children and to supersede them when in their judgment the ‘best interests’ of the child are better served.”

Donnelly encouraged those present to become 10-2 supporters of, a sister organization to HSLDA that is seeking to add a Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“We already have 23 sponsors in Congress (including Nebraska’s Representative Lee Terry). We want to get 100. In order to do this, we will need millions of people to join us. Here is how you can help. Go to Sign the petition. Make a donation. But most important—sign up to become a 10 and 2 supporter. If you will commit to getting 10 others to sign the petition—donate a dollar and then ask two of those people to do the same—we will be well on our way to achieving the goal.

Organized by board member Deb Badeer, the Capital Day was smooth and effective. “All senators received a visit from someone,” Badeer reported. “The feedback we’ve gotten has been very positive. These homeschool families do such a great job. It’s a real privilege to be a part of this.”

Many state homeschool organizations have found capital days to be an effective way to mobilize homeschoolers and to protect against bad legislation. HSLDA encourages state organizations to hold capital days as often as possible. By building relationships with legislators bad legislation can be potentially avoided and when circumstances are right, there will be opportunities to introduce good legislation. If you would like ideas about organizing a capital day in your state please contact us!

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