Urgent Action Needed: Congress Attempting to Give Federal Government Money to Homeschools

Please read the following message we received from HSLDA:

 

Urgent Action Needed: Congress Attempting to Give Federal Government Money to Homeschools

A message from Will Estrada and Mike Smith
Dear Friends,
It has been said that there is no such thing as a free lunch. As homeschooling families know too well, government money will eventually lead to government control.
That’s why HSLDA is opposing a bill introduced by our friends in Congress, Rep. Steve King (IA) and Rep. Andy Harris (MD). Though well-intentioned, H.R. 610 is ultimately ill-advised. It calls for sending all federal education dollars to the states in the forms of federal grants so that the states can then give the money as vouchers to public, private, and homeschool students.
(Note: While Rep. Trent Franks (AZ) is also listed as a cosponsor of H.R. 610, we talked with him and his staff last night and they agree with our concerns about homeschooling families being included in H.R. 610. As a result, there is no need to contact his office, and we are deeply grateful to him for his commitment to protecting homeschool freedom from “help” by the federal government. Here is the statement Franks gave to us: “I understand the concerns of the homeschool community. My support for the bill only extends to vouchers for public school and private school students. If this bill moves forward, I would request that any language that would impose vouchers upon homeschools is taken out.”)
If the bill only applied to public schools and traditional brick-and-mortar private schools, HSLDA would take no official position on it. There is no question that many millions of children are stuck in public schools that fail to meet their needs, and school choice would be an incredible benefit to them.
But HSLDA has repeatedly told our friends on Capitol Hill that our members and many other homeschooling families know that government dollars will eventually result in government regulation. Although we are grateful for our friends on Capitol Hill, and although we know that representatives King and Harris are well-intentioned, they need to hear loud and clear from the homeschool community. Even though the vouchers created by H.R. 610 would be voluntary, we believe that this would be a slippery slope toward more federal involvement and control in homeschooling.
If you do not want federal government “help,” if you just want to be left alone, this is the time to speak up.

 

Dangers of H.R. 610 (click here to read a PDF version of the bill with page numbers cited below).
1. Elimination of language protecting homeschool freedom in U.S. Code: Page 2, paragraph (a) repeals in its entirety the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which was most recently reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act. While HSLDA applauds this repeal language, as we believe that the federal government has no constitutional authority to make education decisions which should be left to state and local authorities, this full repeal would also eliminate HSLDA’s language fully protecting homeschool freedom from all federal control.
2. Creation of a “federal right to homeschool:” Page 3, Sec. 104 requires states to make certain assurances in order to receive their portion of federal education dollars. One of the requirements (paragraph (2)(A) on page 3) is that states “make it lawful for parents of an eligible child to elect … to home-school their child.” While this sounds good, HSLDA has fought – successfully – for decades to make sure that there is no “federal right to homeschool” because what could be created by a favorable Congress could be regulated by a future, hostile Congress. It is far better (and far more constitutionally sound) for education decisions – and homeschool freedom – to be protected at the state level. We ask our friends at the federal level to simply leave homeschooling families alone. The Constitution protects the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children, as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in its seminal cases of Meyer, Pierce, and Yoder. Federal legislation to “protect” homeschooling is unnecessary.
3. States would need to track homeschooling students: Numerous provisions in H.R. 610 require states to count the number of eligible students in their state. Page 4 says “The State shall distribute funds . . . based on the number of eligible children in the public schools . . . and . . . the number of eligible children . . . whose parents elect to send their child to a private school or to home-school their child.” Page 5 requires “on an annual basis” that school districts count the number of eligible students who attend public schools, and “whose parents elect-to send their child to a private school or to home-school their child.” There is only one way that states and school districts can do this: by requiring homeschooling families to register with them, and be tracked by the school district. This will be especially problematic in states that do not require homeschooling families to file a notice of intent with the local school district. H.R. 610 will require homeschooling families in all 50 states to register with the local school district. This would be just the first cost of “free government money.”
4. The government would now get to decide how much parents should spend on homeschooling: Paragraph (B) on page 6 requires that the federal education vouchers to parents who choose a homeschool “shall not exceed the cost of home-schooling the child.” Who will now decide how much it costs to homeschool a child? The government. Page 8 further requires that the federal education vouchers “be distributed in a manner so as to ensure that such payments will be used for appropriate educational expenses.” This is not defined, meaning that government officials and public schools will decide what qualifies as an appropriate educational expense. HSLDA has heard over the course of 33 years from numerous parents who have elected to teach their children at home through a government-funded virtual or correspondence school. In their experience, they found their curriculum options shrunk as each choice had to pass a government litmus test.

Call Congress Now 

At this point, it is only necessary to contact these sponsors of this bill, Representatives King and Harris.
If one of these is your U.S. representative, please call or email him, and politely ask him to take homeschooling families out of the bill, including homeschooling families who are defined by their state’s education law as private school students.
Please remember that these congressmen are friends of homeschooling, and that this bill is well-intentioned, but ultimately dangerous. We encourage you to identify yourself as a homeschooling parent.
Your message can be as simple as:
“As a homeschooling parent, I oppose H.R. 610. I do not want to receive federal vouchers. Government money will ultimately lead to government control and regulation, which will stifle the success of homeschooling. I am grateful for your past support of homeschool freedom, and urge that you protect the future of homeschooling by rewriting H.R. 610 to ensure that homeschools, and homeschools defined by state laws as private schools, do not receive federal money.”
You can reach these congressmen by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. If one of these members of Congress represents you, you can find his direct phone numbers and email addresses here.
If you live outside of these districts, we encourage you to take to social media to politely but firmly remind these congressmen that homeschooling families do not want federal vouchers. You can also send each congressman a letter via the United States Postal Service.

Conclusion  

HSLDA opposes H.R. 610 for reasons of prudence and principle. Once homeschools become publicly funded by the federal government, more scrutiny and more control are likely to follow. After all, homeschooling families will be spending government money, and the Congress has a keen interest in guarding the public fisc.
On principle, homeschooling has succeeded as a movement in part by being different. Unlike typical constituencies asking for our piece of the public-money pie, we have simply asked the federal government to leave us alone. This has fostered one of the most dynamic social movements of our lifetime.
The spirit of self-government at the heart of private homeschooling has led to a vibrant social network of small groups and statewide groups who depend on each other-not on the government. The homeschool movement has been a better idea because we built it ourselves. Routinely taking federal tax dollars will enervate the movement, lead to more squabbles between families and the state, and will result in more scrutiny, oversight, and control.

Thank you for standing with us for liberty as together, we fight to keep homeschooling free.

Will Estrada
Director of Federal Relations
Mike Smith
HSLDA President
This Newsflash was forwarded to you by:
Roy Hanson and Nathan Pierce
Family Protection Ministries
PO Box 730
Lincoln, CA 95648

Newsflash – Time to File the Affidavit

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NEWSFLASH – October 1, 2016
From: Roy Hanson – Family Protection Ministries
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Filing the Private School Affidavit (October 1st – 15th)
Every year the Private School Affidavit (PSA) must be filed between October 1st and 15th. If you are enrolled in a Private School Satellite Program (PSP), the school’s administrator files one affidavit for the whole group.
The Private School Affidavit (PSA) is now available on the California Department of Education’s web site at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/rq/affidavit.asp. Private schools, including single-family home-based schools (homeschoolers), can proceed to file their affidavits.
We have reviewed the affidavit in consultation with HSLDA and it appears to be essentially the same as last year.

Anyone who wants step-by-step instructions on how to fill out the online PSA form, can visit HSLDA’s website at http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/ca/affidavit/AffidavitInstructions.asp. Any HSLDA members who have related legal questions should contact HSLDA at http://www.hslda.org or (540) 338-5600.

We urge you to join HSLDA or renew your membership today.
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Permission given to forward this Newsflash unaltered to your friends, church, school, and group.
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This Newsflash was sent out by:
Roy Hanson and Nathan Pierce
Family Protection Ministries
PO Box 730
Lincoln, CA 95648

VICTORY – Mandatory Kindergarten Defeated!

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JOINT LEGISLATIVE VICTORY NEWSFLASH – September 8, 2016

From: Roy Hanson–Family Protection Ministries and Mike Smith–HSLDA

Bill: AB 713 – Mandatory Kindergarten Defeated!!!
A Great Victory for Children and their Parents

We Strongly Opposed.

Thank you for your important prayers, letters, and phone calls that made a big difference!

AB 713 was passed by the California State Assembly in 2015, but died in the Senate Appropriations Committee this August (2016) thanks to your prayers and actions.

It is with grateful hearts and thanksgiving to God that this bill was defeated. This is truly an answer to prayer. This important victory should give us all encouragement to stay in California and fight for our freedoms.

We appreciate all who helped with your vital letters, phone calls, prayers, and teamwork support of FPM’s work at the Capitol in Sacramento. FPM’s Nathan Pierce testified in committees against AB 713 on your behalf.

Summary of Concern:

AB 713 was a direct threat to the education and development of children and also would have diminished parental rights by making kindergarten mandatory before taking the first grade. This bill would have forced the addition of one more year to a child’s education.

No further action is required on AB 713.

For more information about AB 713, including why we opposed it, please visit our website. If you haven’t already, please read our paper demonstrating the dangers of early formal education programs, including for example, activities that require close eye focus for young children, including reading, writing, or using a computer or any small screen device like a smartphone. These dangers are not limited to education but can include some recreational activities as well.

Thanks again for your important prayers, letters, phone calls, and teamwork support of this ministry!

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Permission given to forward this Newsflash unaltered to your friends, church, school, and group.
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This Newsflash was sent out by:
Roy Hanson and Nathan Pierce
Family Protection Ministries
PO Box 730
Lincoln, CA 95648

Oppose Mandatory Kindergarten – Write Your Senator

JOINT LEGISLATIVE ACTION ALERT August 10, 2016
From: Roy Hanson — Family Protection Ministries and Mike Smith — HSLDA

Bill: AB 713 (as amended) – Mandatory Kindergarten
Author: State Assembly Member Weber

Position: Strongly OPPOSE

Status: AB 713 passed the entire State Assembly on June 3rd 2015. It is in the second Senate committee where it is being held indefinitely unless called up for a special vote. If it passes out of committee, it would be voted on by the whole State Senate before going to the Governor.

AB 713 is one of the dangerous incremental steps toward lowering the compulsory school age and expanding government control over all children from birth to adulthood, gradually reducing the role of parents to that of caretakers.

Your letter to your State Senator opposing AB 713 is very important — we need as many no votes as possible in the Senate to help influence the Governor to veto AB 713, as it will likely pass the Senate if it comes up for a vote.

Quickly pass this alert on to others who might respond and then take the suggested action below.

We are monitoring AB 713 daily and Nathan Pierce of Family Protection Ministries has visited legislators and is attending every hearing regarding this bill.

Summary of Concern:

Under current law, parents can choose to have their child skip Kindergarten and begin at the 1st grade. AB 713 would eliminate this current parental choice by mandating that every child attend Kindergarten for one school year before they could be admitted to the first grade. This would go into effect at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

Action Item:

WRITE A BRIEF LETTER to the member of the California State Senate who represents your district, asking them to oppose AB 713 and any similar bills in the future.

Why are Letters Best?

Letters have proven to be the most effective method of communicating your opinion on a legislative bill. Many assume that an email is the most effective way to express your opinion, but this is not true. Because emails are easily and usually ignored, letters and calls are significantly more effective. Often there have not been enough letters being sent to make a large enough impact. It is considered that your letter represents the views of more than 1,000 voters within your district.

Thank you in advance for taking this crucial action on AB 713 to protect the rights of all parents.

Notes:
Always contact legislators as a parent and citizen. This bill affects all families with children.
• This is not an exclusively homeschool issue. Do not write as a homeschooler.
Do not disclose the source of this Alert. All bills are available on the Internet.
• Pass this on to your friends, church, school, and group.
• Pray for a proper outcome.

Using the suggested format below, ask your Senator to vote no on AB 713. Even though not necessary, you may use some of the “Opposition Points to Share with Legislators” below for additional points that you could include. Please mail your letter, as emails are commonly ignored. (Be sure to include your full address and print or type your first name and last name below your signature.)

Here is a link to find out which State Senator represents your district
http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/

For your letter in the Action Item above, please use the following format:

The Honorable (their first & last name)
Senate
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Senator (their last name),

Please vote no on AB 713 (by Weber). I oppose mandatory Kindergarten, which effectively lowers the compulsory attendance age to 5. Please also oppose any future bills that mandate Kindergarten.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

(Your signature)
(Your first and last name typed or printed)
(Your full address)

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Other Information Included In This E-mail:

A. Opposition Points
B. Background
C. Summary
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A. Opposition Points:

AB 713 would damage children. Beginning formal education at age 5 or younger causes unintended harmful consequences to children, some of which last a lifetime. Research* indicates that early formal childhood education not only causes both physical and behavioral long-term problems but that it also does not improve the child’s potential for being a better student later on.

*We strongly urge you to read “Early Childhood Education: Research Summaries of the Effects of Universal Kindergarten.” http://www.childandfamilyprotection.org/Early-Childhood-Education-Research-Summaries.html. This research demonstrates that:

Gains experienced by children who began their formal education at age 5 (or younger) disappear in just a few years.

These same children, however, experience long-lasting adverse effects on their physical, behavioral, and educational development, including an increased difficulty getting along with others, life-long vision impairment, and for many, detriments to mathematics and nonacademic readiness skills.

Boys are especially damaged by early entrance (age 5 and younger) into formal education. Boys’ cognitive and verbal skill development significantly lags behind that of girls at this age. As a result, boys do not do as well in the early years, at which time many experience failures leading to frustration and, for some, substance abuse and later criminal behavior.

AB 713 would diminish the parental rights of all parents. Under AB 713, parents who choose to delay their child’s entrance into formal education by skipping Kindergarten would be forced to undergo a time and financial penalty of adding a year of required schooling before graduation. Enrollment into Kindergarten prior to the first grade must remain optional for parents.

AB 713 would decrease beneficial parental contact with their children. An extra year of development outside of school can be critical for a child at this early age. Carl Zinsmeister, Adjunct Research Associate at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, says, “Declining parental attachment is an extremely serious risk to children today. The verdict of enormous psychological literature is that time spent with the parent is the very clearest correlate of healthy child development.” Parents should continue to have the authority to decide what is best for their children.

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B. Background

Under AB 713, parents who would have chosen to delay their child’s entrance into formal education and skip Kindergarten, would be forced to choose between either:
(a) starting their child’s formal education one year earlier, before they feel it is best for their child, or
(b) graduating their child a year later than they would under current law.

This is because 13 years of schooling would be required under AB 713 rather than the current 12 years of schooling.

The requirements of AB 713 would apply to all pupils in both public schools and in private schools, including homeschools.

Advocates of extending government control of all children from birth would be able to use passage of AB 713 as an incremental step toward establishing seamless, cradle-to-grave government-controlled education and development programs for all children.

Passage of AB 713 would be followed by the next incremental legislative step — making institutionalized preschool (pre-Kindergarten) for every 3 and 4 year-old child universally available to all children and then the next step – making it universally mandatory for every 3 and 4 year-old child.

C. Summary:

Research supports later rather than earlier entry of children into structured educational programs to be the most beneficial.

AB 713 is an attack upon the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children. It ignores the long-standing presumption that parents act in the best interest of their children, by requiring parents to enroll their children in Kindergarten rather than allowing them the choice specified in current law. It disregards the parent’s understanding of what would be the best course of action for his own child’s education and development. It is a detrimental one-size-fits-all mandate that would be forced upon all children by the government.

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Permission given to forward this Action Alert unaltered to your friends, church, school, and group.

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This Action Alert was sent out by:

Roy Hanson and Nathan Pierce
Family Protection Ministries
PO Box 730
Lincoln, CA 95648

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SCOPE and CHEA Conference

NEWSFLASH -May 23, 2016
From: Roy Hanson and Nathan Pierce – Family Protection Ministries
Subject: SCOPE and CHEA Conference
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Homeschool Conference and Exhibit Hall

Family Discipleship Homeschool Conference and Curriculum Fair
June 9th – 11th, 2016

Location: William Jessup University 333 Sunset Blvd., Rocklin, CA 95765

Hosted by SCOPE and CHEA

Come renew your vision, refresh your spirit, and regain your passion!

Experience hands-on the Exhibit Hall’s vast resources of curriculum and other helpful products.

This inspiring conference features speakers with decades of their own homeschool experience to share.  Workshop sessions cover a wide range of subjects from practical teaching tips to parenting and discipleship.

Nathan Pierce will be hosting some workshops.  Look for him, his wife Betsy, and their children at the FPM booth.

For more conference information, a list of speakers, and to register click here.   To save $10 on your registration be sure to register by May 25th!

Remember to Vote!

NEWSFLASH – May 19th, 2016
From:  Roy Hanson — Family Protection Ministries
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On Tuesday, June 7th, between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., we have the opportunity to go to the polls, exercise our God-given responsibilities and rights, and send a message concerning the direction that our government should take over the course of the next few years. The moral fabric of our nation and our liberties are in great peril.
Are you properly registered to vote for the upcoming June 7th Primary Election? You or your eligible children should (re)register if:
  • you have moved or changed your name since the last election in which you voted
  • you are unsure if you are properly registered
  • your child or you will turn 18 years old by the next election
The deadline for registering to vote is this coming Monday, May 23rd.
Registration Details 
Registration forms are available at a variety of places: libraries, post offices, city halls, many county offices, and offices of political candidates and political parties. There is no way to register on-line and we do not recommend requesting a voter registration form on-line from the Secretary of State’s office. This on-line request process is cumbersome and could take up to 30 days just to get your blank registration form in the mail.
Your signed and completed voter registration form for your current address must be received by the Registrar of Voters no later than May 23rd to be eligible to vote in the upcoming Primary Election on June 7th. The earlier you register to vote, the more likely you are to receive your voter pamphlet and sample ballot in time to prepare to vote.
Voting by Absentee Ballot (also known as “Vote-by-Mail ballot”) 
Voting by absentee ballot allows you to take your time when marking your ballot, and vote wherever is convenient for you, such as your home. It also assures you that no last minute emergency will keep you from casting your important vote.
 
Absentee ballots for the important June 7th Primary Election must be requested by May 31st. May 31st is the last day that the Registrar of Voters will accept requests through the mail for absentee ballots.
If you want an absentee ballot and have not registered to vote yet, please register as soon as possible so that you can complete the absentee ballot process before Election Day, June 7th. 
 
Here are some ways to request an absentee ballot:
  1. You can fill in the absentee ballot request on the back of your sample ballot. 
  2. You can request Permanent Absentee Voter status on this same form. If you have already done this, you should have already received your absentee ballot by mail.
  3. You can also obtain an absentee ballot from your county’s Registrar of Voters in person up to and including June 7th.
  4. You can request an absentee ballot by letter or fax from your county Registrar of Voters. When making your request, include the following information:
a)    a short statement saying that you are requesting an absentee ballot
b)    your name as you are registered to vote
c)    your legal (physical) address, as registered
d)    the address to which you want the absentee ballot mailed
e)    your contact phone number
f)     your date of birth
g)    your signature
If you forget to mail in your absentee ballot on time, you can hand deliver it to your local or any polling place in the county in which you are registered or turn it in to your county Registrar of Voters before 8 p.m. on Election Day, June 7th. If you need someone else to hand deliver your absentee ballot, you may authorize a relative or a person residing at your address to do so by filling out the appropriate spot on the envelope that accompanies the ballot that you received by mail.
Additional questions about absentee ballots can be answered by your local Registrar of Voters, which you can locate by clicking here.
Important Election Dates
  • May 23, 2016 – Last day that the Registrar of Voters will accept new registrations to vote in the June 7, 2016 Primary Election.
  • May 31, 2016 – Last day that the Registrar of Voters will accept mailed requests for absentee ballots. However, you can obtain an absentee ballot from your county’s Registrar of Voters in person up to and including June 7th.
  • June 7, 2016 – ELECTION DAY! Be sure to vote to defend your precious freedoms!
Information about voting and elections is also available at the web site for the Secretary of State: www.sos.ca.gov.
Other Important Items:
If you do not have enough information to vote on a particular issue or office, you can leave that space blank and vote on the rest.
Initiatives/propositions, such as many so-called campaign reform measures, are not always what they appear to be. All bond issues, for example, involve government borrowing at interest from the future, putting additional burdens of indebtedness on our children rather than living within our means. When there are initiatives/propositions on your ballot, read each proposition carefully, including the “for and against” positions before voting.
Beware of Slate Mailers! “Slate mailers” are election pieces that list a number of candidates and/or propositions to vote for or against. Some slates are legitimate and very helpful, but many are deliberately designed to deceive voters. For example, one slate in a previous election looked like it came from one political party, but it had several ballot propositions listed with positions opposite of that party. Any candidates or propositions with an asterisk by them have paid to advertise on that slate. You may want to consider throwing slate mailers out unless you are convinced that you know the philosophy of the people who produced them and you agree with that philosophy.
It is easier to be involved in electing good legislators than it is to fight every bad piece of legislation that comes up in the course of a year.
Be a faithful steward of the freedoms God has entrusted to us. Protect your rights and liberties – get involved in the election process. Register to vote, support good candidates, and vote on June 7th.
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This Newsflash was sent out by
Roy Hanson
Family Protection Ministries
PO Box 730
Lincoln, CA 95648
Permission given to forward this Newsflash unaltered to your friends, church, school, and group.
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San Diego Conference and Legislative Update

NEWSFLASH – March 29, 2016
From:  Roy Hanson and Nathan Pierce — Family Protection Ministries
Subject: San Diego Conference and Legislative Update
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Homeschool Conference

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Homeschool conference in San Diego April 15th -16th

hosted by Heritage Christian School

Equipping parents to disciple their children from a Biblical worldview
while fully developing their individual
God-given talents and academic aspirations

FPM’s Nathan Pierce will be speaking at this event, and his wife Betsy will be with him at the FPM booth. Please consider attending this event.  We hope to see you there!

Conference Information

Register Now

General registration – $25/person plus $15/spouse

 

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Legislative Update

The California Legislature has been working frantically to write and rewrite a myriad of bills.  We are continuing to work hard to evaluate hundreds of bills to see if they would affect private homeschooling and parental rights in California.

We continue to strongly oppose and closely watch AB 713 (Mandatory Kindergarten).  Last year, AB 713 failed to pass and was put on hold.  It is unlikely that AB 713 will move forward before this summer, but it could happen at any time. No action is needed now. For more information, see our last action alert on AB 713.

If AB 713 or any other bill dangerous to homeschooling or parental rights moves forward and needs action, we will send out action alerts to those on our email list. Click here to find out how to receive our email alerts and updates.
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This email was sent out by

Roy Hanson and Nathan Pierce
Family Protection Ministries
PO Box 730
Lincoln, CA 95648