Here's the update. No phone calls today--so please PRAY!
HB 375 passed subcommittee 6-3 on Monday Jan 14, after testimony from our
lobbyist Scott Price evidently swayed the delegates into supporting the
bill. The bill was amended to only address homeschoolers--not private
school students (who are also excluded under current VHSL rules).
On Wednesday Jan 16, the constituent who had requested the bill from
Delegate Carrico spoke at the House Education Committee on behalf of the
bill. The constituent, to everyone's surprise (including Delegate Carrico)
turned out to be a private school mom whose son was referred from public
school to a private school for special needs of some sort. Her son now
cannot play lacrosse on the public school team. So the bill, which had just
been amended in subcommittee, now no longer met the needs of the constituent
who had requested it! The bill was then returned to subcommittee ( a very
On Monday Jan 21, the subcommittee amended HB 375 to reflect the needs of
Delegate Carrico's constituent. The current language specifically addresses
home instructed students under 22.1-254.1 of the Code of Virginia, and
private school students who were referred from a public school. It no
longer addresses regular private school students, or families who homeschool
under religious exemption or the approved tutor provision. The language has
also been amended to only affect "interscholastic sports"---no longer
"interscholastic activities" such as debate or the state creative writing
After rewriting the bill and approving the new version by 8-1, HB 375 now
goes to the House Education Committee, who will vote on it tomorrow morning
around 8:30 a.m. (Don't call committee members---they won't hear about your
call from their staff until after they have voted on the bill.) IF the bill
passes committee (which may or may not happen), it will go to the House
floor, where it will be read three times on three different days before a
vote is taken. As with any contested bill, there is the possibility of
additional amendments or of a concerted effort to kill the bill. Either is
possible under the circumstances.
While HB 375 is so far receiving more support than sports access bills
usually receive, it is still heavily opposed by powerful interest groups,
including the VHSL, the VEA (teacher's union), the PTA, and various school
principal and athletic director organizations. These groups are likely to be
especially influential on the Senate side if/when the bill gets over there.
If a bill receives this much opposition so early in the process, its chances
of passing are extremely poor.