- Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 13:55
- Published on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 13:14
- Hits: 1209
Richmond – Home-schooled students in Virginia could participate in public school sports under the so-called “Tebow bill” that has been passed by the House and will be considered by a Senate committee this week.
Delegates voted 56-43 for House Bill 1442, which will be heard by the Senate Health and Education Committee on Thursday, Feb. 14. The bill, sponsored by Del. Robert Bell, R-Albemarle, would require public schools to allow home-schoolers to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities.
Many parents who home-school their children support the legislation, which is nicknamed for NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who played football for his local high school while being home-schooled in Florida.
“I should be able to choose whether my kids play sports or not,” said Brad Foster, the father of five athletic home-schooled boys in Culpeper.
Currently in Virginia, no student who is being educated at home can join a public school sports team during the regular season. Families with home-schooled athletes like Foster’s must find other ways to participate in sports or opt out of playing sports completely.
Foster said the opportunity for his children to play sports goes away once they reached middle school. To allow his children to play sports, Foster has organized a basketball team. However, that’s expensive because home-schooling families must rent gym space whereas public schools provide everything for sports teams, Foster said.
“We want to use the privilege because we also pay taxes for [public schools] as well,” Foster said. Parents who home-school their children are not exempt from taxes.
Virginia has more than 32,000 home-schoolers, including about 8,000 at the high school level, according to the Virginia Department of Education. Albemarle County, for example, has more than 500 home-schoolers.
The Keyser family in Albemarle County also has struggled with the problem. Ethan Keyser, 17, is a junior in high school and likes to play football and lacrosse.
“I would like the opportunity to try out on a high school athletic team,” Ethan said.
Until high school, he played both sports because of various recreation teams, according to his father, Matt Keyser. Now that Ethan is in high school, he cannot play either sport except during off-season.
During off-season, Ethan was asked to play for several traveling high-school lacrosse teams, Matt Keyser said.
“He’s 6-foot-one, 210 pounds, and every coach he has ever played said they wished Ethan could play during the regular season,” Keyser said.
Ethan is now looking to apply for college. “It would’ve looked good on my college transcripts to have that I played several high school sports,” he said.
When the House voted on HB 1442 on Jan. 31, Republicans generally supported the legislation and Democrats mostly opposed it.
Del. David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, and Del. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, for instance, both voted against bill.
“The public school system is not an a la carte menu that you can pick and choose what you want to participate in,” McClellan said. She said the “Tebow bill” raises a “matter of fairness.”
“One worry is that you would have a situation where a youngster in a public school was denied to participate because a home-schooler took their spot,” he said.
After passing the House, HB 1442 was referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Health. The committee’s next meeting is at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 in Senate Room B in the General Assembly Building. If the committee approves the bill, it will go to the full Senate for a vote.
An identical measure, Senate Bill 812, had been filed in the Senate in December by Sen. Thomas Garrett, R-Hadensville. But Garrett withdrew his proposal on Jan. 31.
Paige Baxter, Capital News Service
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 17:22
- Published on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:29
- Hits: 1078
Allen Ingraham, Clarence Jackson, Cyrus Jackson and John Short, all veterans, were honored for Veteran’s Day on Nov. 12, 2012 at King George Middle School during a salute to the Armed Services and Emergency Services by the King George Ruritans and United Daughters of the Confederacy. The special quilts each man received were made by the the King George Bees, a quilting club which meets at King George Parks and Recreation Center each Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. This quilting groups gives quilts for local community groups. The presentation was made by Brenda Mitchell.
Diane Walters is instructor for the KG Bees and can be reached at (804) 224-2835.
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 February 2013 11:41
- Published on Tuesday, 05 February 2013 11:33
- Hits: 1812
NORFOLK, VA – William W. Lowery IV, 44, of Tappahannock, VA, pleaded guilty today to trafficking in illegally-harvested striped bass, in violation of the Lacey Act, announced Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Among other things, the Lacey Act makes it unlawful for any person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase any fish and wildlife taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of any law or regulation of the United States, or to attempt to do so. Under the Lacey Act, it is a “sale” of fish or wildlife for any person, for money or other consideration, to offer or provide guiding, outfitting, or other services.
Lowery was indicted on Nov. 8, 2012, by a federal grand jury on one count each of violating the Lacey Act and Destruction of Evidence. Lowery faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine, and one-year of supervised release. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 9, 2013.
As part of his plea agreement, Lowery has agreed to serve 30 days in jail, pay a $5,000 fine and $1,300 in restitution to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the illegally-harvested striped bass, and surrender his captain’s license for life. As part of his plea agreement, Lowery has also agreed that he will not engage in the charter fishing industry in any capacity during the term of his supervised release.
In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Lowery admitted that on Jan. 15, 2010, he took a charter fishing trip into the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to fish for striped bass, knowing that it was illegal to fish for striped bass in the EEZ. When Lowery’s boat, the Anna Lynn was approached by law enforcement, Lowery attempted to flee. When the Anna Lynn was caught, law enforcement officers observed a plastic trash barrel with 13 Striped Bass floating in the water near the Anna Lynn. The trash barrel had been thrown overboard from the Anna Lynn during the pursuit, and the striped bass contained within the trash barrel had been harvested by fishermen aboard the Anna Lynn within the EEZ.
- Last Updated on Thursday, 31 January 2013 13:09
- Published on Thursday, 31 January 2013 13:06
- Hits: 1568
Richmond – Supporters of the so-called Boneta Bill, aimed at protecting the rights of farmers, came to Capitol Square wearing pitchfork buttons with stickers that said, “Stay out of grandma’s kitchen.” They lined the wall of a conference room where the House Agriculture Subcommittee met Monday to decide whether to recommend approval of the measure.
Virginians in support of the bill and lobbyists against it came from all over the state to share their perspective. After an hour of debate, the subcommittee voted 6-1 in support of the legislation.
House Bill 1430, sponsored by Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Woodbridge, now goes to the full House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources. The committee is scheduled to consider the proposal Wednesday [Jan. 30].
The subcommittee did not approve the original bill but instead added an amendment.
The amendment would require the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to look at the state’s existing Right to Farm Act and the issues surrounding it, and create model regulations for the entire state. The General Assembly would vote on the regulations in 2014.
The amendment will “allow the issue to be considered in a more timely manner,” Delegate Robert Orrock, R-Thornburg, said. “I don’t feel comfortable voting on a bill today that the Farm Bureau and Agribusiness Council” do not agree with.
The amendment also changes the expanded definition of agricultural operations.
Under the original wording of HB 1430, agricultural operations would include farm-to-business and farm-to-consumer sales. It also mentioned specific items such as art, literature, artifacts, furniture, food and beverages.
The amendment removed the specific listing of items.
Supporters of the original bill had a positive reaction to the subcommittee’s vote.
“Anything that’s good for the small farmer is a step in the right direction,” Martha Boneta, the bill’s namesake, said.
Trey Davis, governmental representative for the Virginia Farm Bureau, said the amendment addressed some of his group’s concerns. But he said the Farm Bureau still has some issues with the bill. He said the bureau believes the current law has it right.
“What’s been so beneficial about the Right to Farm Act is that it gives localities the ability to promote ordinances that protect agro-tourism and value-added products,” Davis said.
The Boneta Bill has been in the national spotlight since August 2012 when Fauquier County officials cited Boneta with violations for hosting seasonal events and selling handicrafts.
Boneta said the county fined her for having a children’s birthday party on her farm. She said county officials found out about the party by looking at the Facebook page for her business, Paris Barns.
Kimberley Johnson, the chief of zoning and development services for Fauquier County, said Boneta was not fined for anything. She said the violation was for selling goods not produced on her farm.
“To our understanding of what (Boneta) wanted to do, she needed to get an administrative permit,” Johnson said. “The permit would have cost $150.”
The permit would have allowed county staff to confirm that the public had safe access and sufficient parking, as well as adequate restroom facilities.
Besides the Boneta Bill, the House Agriculture Subcommittee also considered HB 1839. It sought to allow private homes and farms to make foodstuffs without being subject to regulations that apply to larger food establishments.
The subcommittee rejected the measure and recommended that it be tabled.
How They Voted
Here is how the House Agriculture Subcommittee voted Monday on HB 1430, which would expand the definition of agricultural operations in the state’s Right to Farm Act. The subcommittee recommended that the bill be approved with an amendment.
YEAS – Marshall, D.W., Orrock, Poindexter, Knight, Morefield, James – 6.
NAYS – Sickles – 1.
By Jessica Dahlberg
Capital News Service
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 18:01
- Published on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 18:01
- Hits: 1539
In an effort to reassure its neighbors about its future expansion plans, officials from Ft. A.P. Hill have held a series of meetings to talk with the public about issues affecting the area surrounding the large Army post including complaints about noise.