Senate Committee Punts ‘Tebow Bill’

Virginia will remain among the 21 states that do not give home-schoolers access to play public school sports.

By Paige Baxter, Capital News Service.

A Senate committee Thursday shot down the “Tebow bill” aimed at allowing home-schoolers to participate in public schools’ sports and other extracurricular activities.

The Senate Education and Health Committee defeated House Bill 1442 on a 7-8 vote, taking the matter off the table for this legislative session.

All of the Republicans on the committee voted in favor of HB 1442, except Sen. Harry Blevins (R-Chesapeake), who joined the seven Democratic committee members —including Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd), who represents a part of Chantilly, in opposing the bill.

Do you think the bill should have made it to the Senate floor? Speak out here.

The legislation is nicknamed for NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who as a home-schooler in Florida played football for his local high school team. HB 1442 would have allowed home-schoolers in Virginia to do the same.

Virginia is one of 21 states that do not give home-schoolers access to play public school sports. The remaining states have a policy or law permitting home-schooled students to participate in public school activities and sports.

The committee heard testimony on the bill Thursday morning. Bell brought many home-schooled children, teenagers and even a few college students to testify and show their support.

“All I’m asking you … is to give me simply the opportunity to play sports,” said Eli Marellus, a 14-year-old home-schooler.

Should the bill have been heard by the full Senate? Speak out here.


How They Voted

Here is how the Senate Education and Health Committee voted Thursday on HB 1442 (“Public school interscholastic programs; participation of students receiving home instruction”).

02/14/13 Senate: Failed to report (defeated) in Education and Health (7-Y 8-N)

YEAS – Martin, Newman, Smith, McWaters, Black, Carrico, Garrett – 7.

NAYS – Saslaw, Lucas, Howell, Blevins, Locke, Barker, Northam, Miller – 8.


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