Saturday, October 11, 2008

From ENOCH of NJ: Latest Update on NJ A.3123 Homeschool Bill

ENOCH of NJ Legislative Alert!

Date: October 10, 2008

From: Mark August, Legislative Liaison

Re: New Jersey Assembly Bill 3123 (Update #5)

Phase I of our mission to oppose A3123 is complete! Thank you for responding to the charge to call and email the sponsors of A3123 and members of the Assembly Education Committee. There is no doubt that our message has been heard. Here is a report of what has been reported to us at this point:

1. Chairman Joseph Cryan of the Education Committee's office has confirmed that Mr. Cryan is not supportive of the bill. While we still do not know the strength or scope of his opposition, we can confirm that he is NOT planning some fast-tracking of this bill (as some rumors have suggested).
2. Assemblyman Diegnan of the Education Committee has voiced his opposition to the bill.
3. Assemblyman Ramos of the Education Committee has written: "Thank you for your correspondence regarding bill A3123. You make valid points which I will consider as this bill is discussed in the legislature. The decision to home school has become popular. I will bear your sentiments in mind."
4. Assemblyman Rumana's office (of the Education Committee) states he is against these regulations specifically stated in this bill. One of his staffers mentioned that there is already a law regulating home schoolers.

Now is the time to stop the coordinated phone and email campaign. It has accomplished the goals of making our position known, helping the Education Committee and the bill sponsors understand our passion for this issue and our ability to unite in defense of our freedom.

The task force has also received many good reports from the Assembly offices staff members that your calls, while clear and firm, were gracious and winsome. Thank you. Your calls have not alienated any potential friend in Trenton and may actually have opened the door to form some new friendship.

We now know that the Assembly Education Committee hearing, scheduled for October 16th, has been canceled. The next possible hearing date would be November 13. This gives us time for the next phase of action.

The task force met late this afternoon by conference call, and agreed that we can stop making calls at this time. We believe the next step will be for the task force to be joining a few of you in face-to-face meetings with Mr. Cryan and as many of the Education Committee members as possible. We will also be pursuing meetings with the bill's two sponsors.

During this phase, while the task force may not be asking all of you to participate in any particular political action, I am asking you to continue to pray and stay vigilant. The political climate can change quickly, and another call to action could come at any time.

The task force has received copies of emails circulating a call for a Rally in Trenton next week. The task force has not organized such a rally and we do not endorse a rally for the issue of opposing A3123 at this time. If you wish to attend a rally for any other purpose, then we encourage you to do so. However, if the stated purpose of the rally is to oppose A3123, then we ask that you refrain until such time as a statewide effort has been initiated by the task force. We had a great success four years ago with our rally, and much of that success came from our unity across the state.

To conclude: We are not out of the woods yet, as the sponsors have not actually withdrawn the bill. We remain confident however that A3123 will never make it into law. By uniting in the past, we have been able to maintain our status in New Jersey as having one of the best, most homeschool-friendly laws in the nation. It is clear in how quickly we have united this past week that we are on the same road to success this time.

Faithfully and gratefully,

Mark August

Reporting for the task force opposing A3123:
Kevin Kiernan, Catholic Homeschoolers of New Jersey (CHNJ); Carolee Adams, Eagle Forum of New Jersey; Mark August, Education Network Of Christian Homeschoolers (ENOCH) of New Jersey; Scott Woodruff, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA); Nan McVicker, New Jersey Homeschool Association (NJHA); Nancy Plent, Unschoolers Network

Many thanks to Carolee Adams of Eagle Forum and the Facebook Group "SAVE HOME SCHOOL FREEDOM IN NEW JERSEY" for leading the charge in keeping us informed. If you are on Facebook, you should consider joining this group to stay abreast of future developments.

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