Legislation

Current Critical Legislative Issues and Updates

Each year, there are a number of legislative issues that require our attention. Always be prepared to take action on an issue of importance to homeschoolers! Read our Legislative Information page to become acquainted with the Maine Legislature and the legislative process in our state.

 

To stay informed of any threat to homeschool freedoms, sign up to receive HOME Email Updates!

 

Be ready to contact current Maine Education and Cultural Affairs Committee Members, your area's Senators and Representatives, or other legislative committee members, as needed, on Maine legislative issues of importance to homeschoolers. 

 

  • Members of the Maine Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs and their contact information are listed here.
  • In addition, you can text your US postal code to (520)200-2223, and you will receive a text back with the phone numbers of your area's state and federal representatives and senators. Save them in your phone.

 

What to expect at a public hearing 

 

Parking and Directions to the State House 

 

 

2017 Maine Legislative Watch

  

OPPOSE:

 

LD 96, An Act To Improve Attendance at Public Elementary Schools 

 

Summary: This bill provides that a person 5 years of age or older who is enrolled in public day school is required to attend during the time it is in regular session. The bill provides that a person 5 years of age or older and under 7 years of age may withdraw from school at any time within the 45 days after enrollment and may withdraw from school after 45 days after enrollment after consultation with the school board or its designee. The bill provides that students who are at least 5 years of age and enrolled in a public day school are subject to the same provisions regarding truancy as students who are at least 7 years of age and have not completed grade 6 who are required to attend a public day school. The bill provides that a person 5 years of age or older and under 7 years of age is not required to meet the alternatives to attendance requirements set forth in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 5001-A, subsection 3.

 

Currently, compulsory school attendance begins at age 7, plain and simple. HOME opposes any effort to make 5 year olds subject to government demands.  

 

Further Information

Public hearing was held Monday, February 27th. 

Committee Work Session: Tuesday, March 21st at 1:00pm.

Status: Reported out April 12, Majority: Ought To Pass As Amended, Minority: Ought Not To Pass

 

For more important information and background on the issue above, please visit HSLDA

 

OPPOSE:

 

LD 527 An Act To Prohibit Corporal Punishment in Schools

 

Summary: This bill prohibits the imposition of corporal punishment in elementary and secondary schools and preschool programs. "Corporal punishment" means any form of discipline or punishment involving offensive physical contact with or inflicting physical pain or discomfort on a student. "Corporal punishment" does not include the use of physical restraint to protect the student or others from immediate harm.

 

This bill, if passed as worded, might be construed to extend to the entire home. An amendment is needed so that it clearly only applies to public and APPROVED private schools. 

 

Further Information

Public hearing was held Tuesday, February 28th. 

Latest Committee Report: Mar 17, 2017, Ought Not To Pass

Status - DEAD  

 

AMEND: 

 

RE: LD 1131, An Act To Create Education Savings Accounts for Maine Students 

 

Summary: This bill directs the Treasurer of State to establish education savings accounts that may be used by the parents or legal guardians of children to pay for the education of their children outside of the public school system. The funding for these savings accounts would come from shifting 90% of the essential programs and services funding that would otherwise be provided by the State and the school administrative unit for each child into a savings account. The bill specifies what educational expenditures are permitted and provides for review of spending from the accounts.

 

The bill text excludes children who are "home-schooled." However, no definition of that term exists under state law. Using this term will lead to lawsuits over what "home-schooled" really means. This could ultimately harm homeschool families. The bill currently reads:

 

"(3) May not establish a savings account for a child who will be home-schooled or who will be enrolled full-time in a public school." 

 

To protect homeschool families, HOME and HSLDA are urging the sponsor to amend the wording to:  

 

"(3) May not establish a savings account for a child who will be instructed in a home instruction program or who will be enrolled full-time in a public school."

 

Guard your liberty! Read more about the dangers of ESAs for homeschoolers below.  

 

Further Information

Public Hearing: Monday, April 10th at 9:30am

Latest Committee Report: Not reported out.

 

For more important information and background on the issue above, please visit HSLDA and Education Liberty.

 

OPPOSE

 

LD 1234, An Act To Amend Maine's Truancy Laws by Specifying Penalties for Noncompliance

 

Summary: Changes the age range for compulsory school attendance from 7 years of age to under 17 years of age to 6 years of age to under 18 years of age and changes the number of absences required for a student to be considered truant. It establishes a fine for parents adjudged for repeated violations of the truancy laws and allows the superintendent to inform the Department of Health and Human Services that the student is a victim of abuse or neglect based on the parent's failure to ensure compliance with school attendance requirements. It also establishes a fine and possible driver's license suspension for truant students.

 

Further Information

Public Hearing: Wednesday, April 26th at 9:00am

 

For more important information and background on the issue above, please visit HSLDA.

 

SUPPORT (if amended):

 

LD 472, An Act Regarding Parental Rights

 

Summary: This bill amends the law to stipulate that parents have a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education and care of their minor children and prevents courts from limiting these fundamental parental rights unless the limitation is supported by a compelling state interest and narrowly tailored to serve that interest through the least restrictive means possible.

 

The intent of LD 472, as set forth in the Summary section of the bill, is just the kind of parental rights protection we could hope for. We have some concerns, however, that the bill's wording as currently proposed would not achieve those ends. We will be watching this bill closely, and working with the sponsor, Rep. Espling, to improve the wording so that LD 472 can achieve its stated purpose, which we fully support.

 

Further Information

Public Hearing: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 1:00pm 

 

For more important information and background on the issue above, please visit HSLDA.

 

2017 Federal Legislative Watch

 

OPPOSE:  

 

HR 610

 

If passed, this federal bill would send all federal education dollars to the states in the form of federal grants. The states would then give the money as vouchers to public, private, and homeschool students.  

 

The dangers of HR 610 are as follows:

 

1. Eliminates language protecting homeschool freedom in U.S. Code

2. Creates a “federal right to homeschool," thus allowing Congress to regulate

3. States would need to track homeschooling students 

4. The government would now get to decide how much parents should spend on homeschooling

 

Homeschooling that is funded by the parent is free from excessive government regulation, and must continue to remain so to be the effective option that it is today. Read more about homeschool freedoms and Education Liberty here.

  

Further Information

For more important information and background on the issue above, please visit HSLDA.

 

ACTION NEEDED: Please contact the sponsors of this bill, Representatives King (IA) and Harris (MD). Find contact information by state here 

2017 Ongoing HOME Events

Group Portfolio Reviews

6/3 Bangor

6/13 Westbrook

6/23 Bridgton

8/17 Camden

8/3 Lewiston

8/23 Augusta

8/24 Rockland

Getting Started Workshops

5/20 Augusta 

6/13 Westbrook

8/23 Augusta

Monthy Sports & Fitness Activities 

4/24 Swim/Gym/ Rock Climbing, Rockport

4/27 Monthly Hike, Lincolnville   

4/28 Monthly Bowling, Belfast

5/5 Roller Skating, Portland

Summer Playground Days

5/30 Standish

6/13 Bridgton

6/27 Brownfield

8/15 Brownfield

8/29 Bridgton

9/26 Brownfield

 

Upcoming in 2017

Upcoming in 2018

 3/15 - 3/17 28th Annual HOME Convention