Connecticut’s 2015 Legislative Session adjourned on June 3rd. Despite the fact that 2015 was officially a budget session, several bills were introduced that would interfere with parental rights.
HB 5273, which called for pediatric mental health screening of all children, did not make it out of committee;
HB 6481, created a rebuttable presumption that grandparents are entitled to visitation;
HB 6891, would allow superintendents access to birth records in order to initiate and maintain contact in order to push early childhood education. This bill did make it out of committee and onto the House Calendar but was not called for a vote.
Unfortunately, HB 6949, requiring a notarized statement from parents claiming a religious exemption from immunization, was passed into law as Public Act No 15-174.
Efforts to protect parental rights, such as establishing a Parental Bill of Rights (HB 6238 and HB 6607) and efforts to protect student data (numerous bills) were defeated as well.
HB 7017 GUTTED BY BIG BUSINESS. Notably, HB 7017, which was an effort to protect student data privacy, was originally drafted to add protection of student data collected via Common Core, but was drastically altered once large corporations got word of its demands for accountability for breach. The good news is that 7017 did not pass, which leaves room in the coming session to again propose protection of student data that would recognize student and parental rights.
SB 562, which aims to allow homeschoolers to participate in High School Sports was not passed out of committee. TEACH CT does not support this bill because it opens a door to additional regulation of homeschooling. We have seen this happen in other states.
COMMON CORE opposition has gone silent at the capitol, although there remain dedicated parents who continue to call for Connecticut to discontinue the program.
Mental Health. We anticipate that efforts will again be made in 2016 to push for universal mental health screening, as well as implementation of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission recommendations.
Student Data Privacy. We hope to see renewed efforts to pass effective legislation protecting student data privacy.