The last couple of weeks, the Texas legislature has heard from home school parents, who are the driving force to defend and protect parental rights in Texas. On May 14 we sent an Alert to our list asking home schoolers to call their state senators in opposition to HB 1232, a bill requiring mental health screening for certain children and the sharing of health care information with CPS and other agencies.
Following the Senate hearing on HB 1232, it was clear that senators needed to be made aware of the risks associated with the bill. Home school parents went to work, shoulder-to-shoulder, with other parents who value their rights and their privacy. Within twenty-four hours, the proponents of the bill were brought to the negotiating table, where they added strict parental consent measure for each specific agency with which the parent is being asked to share information. Also added was the ability for the parent or child to withdraw without penalty, along with protections against bias based on race, religion, or a number of other factors and a complaint line where people who participate in that program can complain if things go badly. Finally, all mental health screening language was taken from the bill, and agencies involved are warned that nothing in this bill shall be interpreted so as to allow school-based mental health screening.
On May 27 we sent an alert on SB 861, a very similar bill that did not include mental health screening. This bill had passed the Senate, was in the House, and had been voted out of committee to the local and consent calendar. This calendar is reserved for bills that are local and those not controversial. We asked home schoolers to call their state representatives and ask them to kill this bill. As a result of these calls, several House members expressed their opposition to the bill; Representative Jodie Laubenberg took the lead in opposing the bill and killed it by opposing the bill for more than the allotted time for questions. Also expressing opposition on the house floor were Representatives Terri Hodge and Sylvester Turner. They all deserve notes of thanks.
Once again we have seen the truth of the statement that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Thanks for standing with us!