Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SENATE TALKING POINTS

SAMPLE EMAIL SCRIPT:  Feel free to tweak it and add your personal thoughts and story -- why you support HB 1013.


SUBJECT LINE: Please support HB 1013


Hello! My name is  ______________________  and I am reaching out to all members of the State Senate to respectfully ask you to vote and support House Bill 1013. Currently, Pennsylvania has the second most restrictive homeschool law in the nation. It's not a good rating to have for the Keystone State so I would ask that you urge the leadership to put HB 1013 to a vote soon.

On March 15, 2013, Rep. Mark Gillen introduced HB1013,  legislation that would:

    Eliminate the public school superintendent’s redundant review of portfolios;

    Require superintendents to accept an evaluator’s determination that an appropriate education is occurring in the home education program;

•    Provide for an administrative procedure to resolve any claim by the superintendent that the parent has failed to comply with any aspect of the homeschool law;

•  Ensure that the home education program may continue during the time of any appeal of an adverse ruling by a hearing examiner; and

•  Require that a high school diploma issued by the supervisor of a home education program be recognized the same as a diploma issued by the commonwealth.


On June 29, HB1013 was voted out of the House Floor by every Republican member and dozens of Democrats. Favorable testimonies at the hearing came from both parties. May I ask you to support this bill and encourage the leadership to put it on the agenda before it expires? With just a few session days left, we would be most grateful for your help to bring this to the finish line.

Thank you for your consideration and God bless you for your service.

(Name)
(Phone Number/Email) 


Other Talking points:

•  School district portfolio re-evaluation is unnecessary because we are thoroughly assessed by a state credentialed evaluator beforehand.

•  HB1013 will strengthen school choice by diminishing hurdles for loving parents who wish to raise and educate their own children.

•  HB1013 removes the discrimination against parent directed, privately funded home-based schooling.

•  PA currently has the second most restrictive homeschooling laws in the nation. California, Ohio, Texas and Massachusetts are much less restrictive. 

•  HB1013 will save taxpayers millions

•  Homeschool students do well in states with or without regulation. 



Monday, September 29, 2014

LET'S TAKE THIS TO THE FINISH LINE!

We are running out of time to pass HB1013. I was told that the legislative calendar is not in our favor. Many of our lawmakers are campaigning for re-election and there are too many bills to pass in the remaining 5 session days. We've worked too hard to allow it to expire so all eyes, ears, voices and energies must be turned towards making sure they run the bill in the Senate Floor. The Senators will not be in Harrisburg this week but can be reached in their district offices. Their staffers and aides will still be at the Capitol so you can also call there as well.
- = - = - = - = - = - = - = - =

We cannot stress it enough that it's crunch time. TODAY is the day we focus our energies to call Senate leadership to include HB1013 in the agenda. Senator Dominic Pileggi is in-charge of the voting schedule in the Senate. If you live in Senate District 9 - part of Chester and part of Delaware Counties - you are his constituent. We ask you to especially visit his district office in either Chester or Glen Mills and be the face of homeschooling to them. Then, we should all plan to write a handwritten personal letter, call, fax, email - and persevere in urging him to support our homeschooling rights by passing HB1013.

Here are his Harrisburg and district contact information:

Senator Dominic Pileggi
Senate Box 203009, HarrisburgPA 17120-3009
Room: 350 Capitol Building
(717) 787-4712
FAX: (717) 783-7490
dpileggi@pasen.gov

Senator Dominic Pileggi
100 Evergreen Drive
Suite 113
Glen MillsPA 19342
(610) 358-5183
FAX: (610) 358-5184

Senator Dominic Pileggi
415 Avenue of the States
ChesterPA 19013
(610) 447-5845

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The other person in leadership we need to contact is Senator Joseph Scarnati. If you live in Senate District 25 serving Cameron, Clearfield (part), Clinton, Elk, Jefferson, Mckean, Potter and Tioga Counties, below are his contact information. Please visit his district office closest to you. We all should also plan to write him a personal letter, call, fax, email - and persevere in urging him to support our homeschooling rights.

Senator Joseph Scarnati III
Senate Box 203025
HarrisburgPA 17120-3025
Room: 292 Capitol Building

Senator Joseph Scarnati III
410 Main Street
BrockwayPA 15824
(814) 265-2030
FAX: (814) 265-2040


Senator Joseph Scarnati III
Five Main Street
WellsboroPA 16901
(570) 724-5231
FAX: (570) 723-5119


Senator Joseph Scarnati III
21A Field Street
KanePA 16735
(814) 837-1026
FAX: (814) 837-1029



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Our lawmakers work for us but unless we communicate to them what's important to us, they will not know. There are 3,000 bills and resolutions in this session and there is no way they can understand enough about everything. It is a critical responsibility upon us to give them ample information to make the right decision.

In addition, call, email, fax, write or visit your own Senator - today.

Because of the amendment, our bill has to go back to the House. We have good House Leadership support but we have to work harder to get the vote in the Senate Floor - as soon as possible.


[If you get critical information and helpful responses from your efforts, we would appreciate knowing about it. Please email it to cmoore@chaponline.com]

NOTE ABOUT THE AMENDMENT: 
With regards to the amendment from the Senate Education Committee, rest assured that it was all made with excellent spirit strengthening what we have in HB1013. If passed, it will require superintendents - if they have any "reasonable doubt" that appropriate education is taking place - to offer more succinct and  specific statement why they think sufficient education is not taking place.

We can take courage that Representative Mike Turzai, majoirty leader of the House, has already assured Representative Mark Gillen, our bill sponsor, that he will pass it through the House Floor as soon as they receive it from the Senate Floor. 

Visit our website and blog for help with talking points. Let's get to work because we can do this with the help of God.




Carpe Diem

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ONLY 5 SESSION DAYS LEFT

We were thrilled to hear that with a vote of 10-1  HB1013 passed the Senate Education Committee last Tuesday, Sept. 23. It was amended so it has to go back to the full House Floor for approval. Representative Mike Turzai (House Majority Leader) promised to put it through but it has to be ASAP. 

There are only 5 session days left and the bill has yet to go through 3 considerations in the Senate. We need to flood Senator Scarnati and Senator Pileggi's offices - in Harrisburg and in their district - with calls, emails, handwritten letters, and face-to-face visits. A visit from among their constituency will mean the most. 

Please take the time to visit your State Senator's district office. Tell them why you want them to advocate for your homeschooling right - by doing all they can to pass HB1013 in the Senate and having it ready for Governor Corbett's signature by October 15.

If you are not a constituent of either of them, it is still important that you contact them:

Senator Joseph Scarnati
292 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA  17120-3025
717-787-7084
jscarnati@pasen.gov


Sen. Dominic Pileggi
Senate Box 203009
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3009
Room: 350 Capitol Building
717-787-4712
dpileggi@pasen.gov


Saturday, September 20, 2014

SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE IS CONSIDERING HB1013


Praise the Lord! HB1013 in on the agenda at the Education Committee
If you want to attend and be a part of history in the making, be there!
             
               Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 11:00 AM
               Room 8E-A, East Wing of the Capitol
                ...to consider Senate Bills No. 898 and 1361; Senate Resolution No. 345; 
                              and House Bills No. 1013, 1801 and 2049
               Click here to see a map of the Capitol.
                You may also watch the session live here. 

This is the fruit of prayer and efforts toward seeing our Pennsylvania Homeschool law improved through passage of HB 1013! Continue to pray the bill is favorably voted for in the Education Committee as is - no amendments. 




NEXT ACTION STEPS:

1 - Thank Senator Mike Folmer, the Committee Chair, for putting HB1013 on the schedule but insist that they concur the bill and pass it without any amendments so the passage is not delayed.


Sen. Mike Folmer
717-787-5708
mfolmer@pasen.gov

2 - We do have opposition and we need to be the more persistent and a tenacious voice. So, keep the pressure on and contact every Senate Education Committee member.

3 - Continue contacting your local State Senator. Get them to commit to supporting the bill when it comes to a full Senate vote. Urge them to advocate for your parental rights to educate your own children the best way you know.

3 - Be informed and use our resources when you call, email or visit them.  Read: CHAP's Lobbying Tips for Families, Why We Need to Change Our Law, PotentialTax Payer Savings - if we pass the law, and our comparison map and homeschool requirements chart, including How To Talk To Your Legislator.

4 - It's time to contact Senate leadership. We want them to be well educated about the bill and what it's like to homeschool in Pennsylvania. Common sense tells us that our state laws are redundant and discriminatory of parents when 48 others states have so much less restrictions.

We need you to reach out to Senator Joseph Scarnati in particular. He is a key player as President Pro Tempore and Member ex-officio of all Standing Committees. We also need to contact Senator Dominic Pileggi since he regulates legislative flow. The bill will go through 3 considerations before a full Senate vote. With only 8 sessions days left, we need him to advocate for us against any attempt to stop the vote or slow down the process - such as in the case of an amendment. We want a concurrence vote and NO AMENDMENTS.


Sen. Joseph Scarnati
717-787-7084
jscarnati@pasen.gov

Sen. Dominic Pileggi
717-787-4712
dpileggi@pasen.gov

Thank you for standing with CHAP in protecting our freedoms.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

CHAP's SEPTEMBER HELP Day Pictures


The Cunningham children with their art work for the Senators.






The Zimmermans and their homemade cards for the Senators.


CHAP ready to serve you. 




The Ortizes, DiToros and Moores lobbying the Senators.




Our homeschool friends at the legislature share their thoughts, 
challenge and encouragement.







 







CHAP Board's Chair shares the history 
of homeschooling law in PA


The DiToro siblings' Civic Day at the Capitol.

 



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An Attendee's Post Lobby Day Email

Dear Friends & Family,

My apologies for this long email …

I just wanted to let you know what a great day we had at the Capitol today.  When we arrived, there was some sort of event going on in the Rotunda organized by a group called CeaseFirePa.  The Rotunda was full of people involved with this event.  I was hoping and praying that the turnout for our CHAP HELP Day would have equaled or exceeded that.  That, unfortunately,  was not the case.  I need to be honest, I was really disappointed to see only a handful of homeschool families represented there today (don’t get me wrong, I was really thankful for the 12 or 13 families represented there -maybe there were more families there that I wasn’t aware of).  I have no idea how many homeschool families there are in PA or in Central PA, but I know there are a lot.

We had an opportunity to talk to Senate staff about HB1013.  Of course, many of them were not familiar with the bill that is currently sitting in the Senate Education Committee, but they took the time to listen as we shared what the bill was about.  It was a very educational experience for us; however, I was shocked to hear , from what I understand, that there are only 8 more session days for this calendar year.  If this bill does not get out of committee and brought up for a vote on one of the next 8 session days, we will have to start the bill all over again in the House in January 2015.

I cannot stress the urgency of your action on this – we need to flood the phone lines of every Senator in Pennsylvania (especially the Senate Education Committee and especially Senator Mike Folmer who is the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee) and ask them to move it out of the education committee and bring this bill up for a vote or, better yet, take a field trip to the capitol this week or next and visit our 50 Senators, especially the 11 on the Senate Education Committee (see link below for talking points about the bill, HB1013).

http://www.chaponline.com/2014/07/how-to-talk-to-your-legislator/ - see this link to get the names and phone numbers of those Senators on the Senate Education Committee.


The two main benefits of the bill would be:

1.        Eliminate double evalutions (i.e., remove requirement to submit portfolio to the school district superintendent).  Would save tax-payer money.

2.       Recognize parent-issued diplomas the same as those issued from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  I know of a family that had a student who was going to continue their education, but the college would not accept the diploma.  Student would have had to take the GED test to be admitted into a particular program at the college.


Please, please make your voices heard this week.  Please commit to pray for the members of this committee – that they would see the benefits of moving this bill forward.  CHAP staff, State Representatives, and so many others have worked so hard to bring this bill this far and it would be a shame to have to start all over again.  We have the opportunity to change the course of history here in Pennsylvania related to homeschooling.  Let’s not waste it.  So what’s going to get our Senators’ attention – legalizing marijuana, gun control, … or HB1013? As the old saying goes, The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease.

I guess we need to get better at lobbying.  When a group are people are really passionate about what they believe in, they are ready to take a stand and work hard at letting people know what they believe.  For example, take a look at how the marijuana-supporters (rally just took place yesterday, but it could be any group) are moving their bill through:

http://www.abc27.com/story/26530824/rally-for-medical-marijuana-held-at-pa-capitol - The chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Mike Folmer, is also co-sponsor of this marijuana bill.  Here’s a quote from him to the marijuana supporters:  "You all have done a fantastic job in lobbying this," Folmer said. "It is because of the work you all have done that we are at this point. We are very close. I think it is looking good."

Please feel free to forward this on to every home school-supportive friend or family member that you know and ask if they could make calls to Senators this week as well.  Thank you.

May the Lord say of us “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”.


Cindy Aurand
Harrisburg, PA



Friday, September 5, 2014

10-DAY COUNTDOWN TO CHAP HELP DAY

[Get the most recent update at the bottom of the article.]

Come on, homeschoolers! 


                Let's show our senators that we want change!








COUNTDOWN ACTION STEPS


10 DAYS  -  RSVP here to attend CHAP HELP Day by signing-up for your children to make cards or craft projects to give 3 Senators on lobby day. If you haven't signed the petition to Governor Corbett, sign it now here.


9 DAYS  -  Share this link in your social networking sites' wall - as well as pages and groups where homeschoolers in PA can be found. Make sure you add your own shout out! [Suggestion: Post them during peak hours to get the most visibility] For your email contacts, send them this link.


8 DAYS  -  Gather your child/children with you and make cards or creative craft projects for each of the 3 senators you chose for each of your capable students. Include a quote from the Founding Fathers or a Bible verse to inspire and encourage its recipient.


7 DAYS  -  Contact your homeschooling neighbors and friends and encourage them to attend CHAP HELP DAY. You may even carpool to the Capitol. Then e-mail every member of the Senate Education Committee asking them to put HB1013 on their schedule - now.


6 DAYS  -  Call your State Senator and ask him or her to support HB1013. Try to set up an appointment to meet during lobby day so you can hand them some helpful materials.


5 DAYS  -  Call or email every Senate Education Committee member [click the Senate Database link at the bottom]. Tell them that you're calling everyone -- don't let them discredit your call because you're not a constituent -- to ask them to schedule a vote on HB1013 as soon as possible because we cannot allow the bill to expire. We need to change Pennsylvania's archaic homeschool law.


4 DAYS  -  Be sure you're signed up for cards or craft projects to give to 3 senators - made by your children. Pick 3 senators from this list who is not receiving something yet. Add a Scripture passage or a quote from a Founding Father to encourage them.


3 DAYS  -  Watch this video then pray that Pennsylvania will make home education less burdensome. Thank God for the blessing of children and being able to raise, train and educate them in the way we know is best. Pray that God will bless us with more legislators whose hearts are turned towards home discipleship and parental authority.


2 DAYS  -  Call your Senator again and give him/her a heads up - that you're coming tomorrow with your family to visit his office. Explain again that as a constituent, you are asking them to support HB 1013 and give your reason why.


1 DAY  -  Have your family read the Lobbying Tips for Families before our event. Lobbying does not have to be intimidating. On the contrary, it can be a productive and a fulfilling experience when you know that you're participating in something that makes a difference in the lives of others.


                              Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing 
                                                      because he could do only a little. 
                                                                  ~ Edmund Burke

We are blessed that we have a couple of lawmakers coming to give us an update on legislations that affect our family and religious freedom. Make sure you stay for the meeting at the Rotunda at 3:00 o'clock. I'm sure they will be happy to answer questions.

We appreciate your help in these final efforts to take the bill all the way to Governor Corbett's desk for his signature. God willing, we will be able to say, "You've Got A Friend in Pennsylvania" even if you're a home educator. :-)


PARKING: We suggest parking at the Walnut Street Garage by Strawberry Square - but note that it's a one-way street. It's a closer walking distance to the entrance of the Capitol along 3rd and State Streets which will take you right into the Main Rotunda. All visitors - no exceptions - to the PA State Capitol will be processed through metal detectors. All bags and packages will be x-rayed, and are subject to hand inspection. Personal items may be hand-inspected. 

On-street parking is easier now - no more running out of quarters. You can even extend your hours using your phone, if you wish. Know your license plate characters (numbers/letters) when you pay at the kiosk. Instructions are here. 



GOTV: to GET OUT THE VOTE, we will have Voter Registration Forms for your voting-age family members and to pass on to others at the table.