By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill that would allow home school students to participate in public school sports is now lined up to pass the House of Delegates this week.
Delegate Joe Ellington, R-Mercer, made a motion during Monday’s House floor session that HB 3127, also known as the Tim Tebow bill, be discharged from the House Education Committee where it stalled last week. The motion was approved on a voice vote.
“It’s something that could not get out of the education committee but it’s something that the body did vote on previously. I would like to see that passed,” Ellington said.
The education committee discussed the bill for parts of two days last week but never took a vote. Chairman Danny Hamrick, R-Harrison, moved it off the agenda Friday.
Delegate John Doyle, D-Jefferson, a member of the education committee, argued the floor discharge option should be used on bills that aren’t discussed in committee. He said the Tebow bill was still under discussion.
Delegate Andrew Robinson, D-Kanawha, asked Ellington if he distrusted the legislative process.
“No distrust,” Ellington said. “It’s sorta like the (medical) marijuana law from a couple of years ago that got discharged from committee.”
The Tim Tebow bill has been around for several years. It’s passed various committees in the House and Senate and even reached the governor’s desk a few years ago where it was vetoed. The state Secondary Schools Activities Commission has long stood against the bill expressing concern about possible abuse of the system.
Ellington said Monday the concerns have been addressed.
“A home school students would have to meet certain academic levels for two years before participating,” he said. “They would also have to stay in their own district, maintain a code of ethics and discipline and have the same immunizations as public school students.”
The bill will be on second reading, amendment stage, during Tuesday’s floor session in the House.