Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Update on HB1626

Today, the Senate took a final vote on House Bill 1626, commonly known as the Tebow bill. The bill prohibits school divisions from joining an athletic/interscholastic organization that doesn’t allow homeschool students to participate in public school athletics or interscholastic activities. In addition to the vote, Senator Garrett offered an amendment, which was accepted, that explicitly gives localities the option to allow homeschoolers to participate in interscholastic activities. The amendment, which is added to the end of the bill states, “Nothing in this section shall require a local school board to establish a policy permitting participation in interscholastic programs at its schools by students who reside in the school division receiving home instruction.” With the amendment, HB1626 passed the Senate on a 21-14 vote. Two democrat senators, Alexander and Lewis, joined most the republicans to pass the bill. Five senators did not vote on the bill including Senators Watkins, Stosch, and Norment. Senators Puller and Lucas also did not vote on the bill as they are absent for health reasons. HB1626 will now go back to the House for its approval of the amendment then onto the governor for him to sign, amend, or veto.

Thank you to all of you who called, emailed, and visited your senators. Your advocacy efforts kept the heat on the legislators and made a difference in the language of the bill. We will keep you apprised of any additional updates.