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Saturday, July 20, 2024

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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

WV lawmakers urge passage of Raylee’s Law during special session

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Monday, July 8, 2024   

After the tragic death of Kyneddi Miller, a 14-year-old West Virginia girl found dead in her home, some state lawmakers are calling on the governor to pass a bill known as "Raylee's Law" during a special session expected in August.

Named after Raylee Browning, an 8-year-old girl who was removed from public school and home-schooled after teachers reported abuse to child protective services, versions of the law have stalled in the Legislature the past few years.

Del. Joey Garcia, D-Fairmont, said the law would ban county school boards from authorizing home-school instruction if there's a pending child abuse or neglect investigation against a parent or guardian.

"I think what we're looking at is there has to be some level of accountability," Garcia contended. "Just like there is in the public school system, that children are being taught, that they're not being abused."

A 2023 analysis by the Washington Post estimated there are 1 million to nearly 3 million home-schooled children in the United States. In West Virginia, the number is around 13,000, according to the West Virginia Home Educators Association, which said it opposes any oversight of home schooling.

Garcia emphasized the law is designed to help improve one aspect of the state's failing child welfare system. In 2019, current and former foster care children filed a class-action lawsuit arguing the state repeatedly failed to protect children in its care. He added West Virginia has work to do when it comes to child safety.

"Across the aisle, Democrats, Republicans, people of all different beliefs with respect to education, to try to provide for a reasonable and narrowly tailored law that protects children," Garcia explained.

Lawmakers also are in discussion with local school boards about enforcing assessment completion for home-schooled kids. State law requires assessments at certain grade levels and local public school officials have few options to check on children when a parent or guardian fails to submit them. Data show just 37% of home-school households submit assessments.


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