Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Good news about jury duty for Texas moms

Good news for Texas homeschooling moms! From the Texas Home School Coalition website:
House Bill 319, also by Representative Raymond, will change the current statute that allows adults to be exempt from jury duty if serving on a jury would cause a child ten years of age or younger to be left alone, by extending the age to fifteen years of age. We supported this measure because home school moms have been caught between the requirement to serve on jury duty and the possibility of being investigated by CPS for leaving a child under the age of fourteen unattended. This has passed both the House and the Senate and was signed into law by Governor Perry. (Emphasis in original.)
While you don't have to be a homeschooling mom to benefit from this new law, which takes effect September 1, there's no doubt that homeschooling moms are the ones most impacted by it. Prior to this law's expansion of the age of a youngest child at home from ten to fifteen, a homeschooling mother had to arrange not only for child care but for the continuing schooling of her children while she served on a jury. I know some moms have been able to do this, and consider jury duty a civic service that they're glad to perform, but other families have found it very hard to lose as much as a week's worth of school and have to pay a sitter or make other child care arrangements when the jury duty summons arrived in the mail.

This new law is very family-friendly, in that it does not assume that all families are placing children in day care centers or schools every day, freeing both parents for such things as jury duty. Rather, it recognizes that the stay-at-home mom is already performing a civic service by being directly involved in the care and nurturing of her children, and makes it possible for her to continue to be there for her children until they reach an age where they are legally able to stay at home by themselves if necessary.

It's nice to get to share some good news!

UPDATE: the present law, as of 2017, seems to involve a child younger than 12. This is still pretty good compared to most states, and is reasonable for most homeschooling families.


Dawn Farias said...

Thanks for that bringing that to attention. My kids are all still so small that I've been exempt from duty each time it's come my way - which is at least twice, perhaps three times....

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Texas is on the ball with recognizing the importance of a mother IN HER HOME! Kudos.. and thanks for sharing!

Maggie Dee said...

Wow...good job Texas! However, I'm confused by the 14 year old home alone age limit. Here in Oregon, you can take a babysitting class starting at age 12. We've been paying our son to babysit his younger sister since the age of 13. Fourteen seems like serious overkill to me.