In 2011, Paul Hastings, Texas Home School Coalition’s Public Policy Director at the time, was the only Legislative Liaison for the THSC. He worked actively with THSC President Tim Lambert to monitor and testify on various pieces of legislation.
THSC learned in 2012 that one of its lead opponents, the Family Law Foundation, was introducing legislation to expand the overreaches of certain sections of current Texas law that allow in-laws to sue for access to or possession of the child. THSC decided to expand its legislative capabilities by recruiting five home school graduates to help Paul and Tim defend home schooling and family rights.
Directly after the 2012 elections, Paul recruited David Huber, Nathan Exley, Trent Williams, Jeremy Newman, and Ben Snodgrass. They would become known by the Texas home school community as the THSC Watchmen.
Each of the THSC Watchmen were assigned duties that best used his unique talents. For example, Ben was appointed to the position of lead policy analyst and Nathan became the publicity manager. The THSC Watchmen divided the state representatives and senators into groups and focused on building relationships and effectively communicating with the offices in each of their respective groups.
The THSC Watchmen testified and registered THSC’s support for, or opposition to, numerous bills. For many important pieces of legislation, they were highly instrumental in contacting and procuring witnesses for key hearings.
Finally, the team kept an open dialogue with many other conservative organizations and activists by attending meetings and networking. In total, the team of THSC Watchmen worked over 5,000 hours during the 2013 session. They were described by some conservative leaders as the most effective lobby team of the 83rd Legislative Session.
group of THSC Watchmen arrived in Austin, including Jeremy Newman, now the THSC Public Policy Director, and home school graduates Isaac Sommers, Stephen Howsley, Ryan Parke, Joshua Newman and Gregory Guggenmos. Making use of the knowledge and experience of the 2013 group, the 2015 THSC Watchmen continued to defend and advance the rights of Texas parents to direct the care, control and upbringing of their children. They fought to veto SB 359, a bill which would have allowed hospitals to overrule family rights by detaining patients (including minors) without a warrant. THSC Watchmen also successfully passed SB 1543 to end discrimination against home school students at state colleges.
In 2017, Chief Legislative Analyst Joshua Newman led the largest and most diverse Watchmen team we’ve had in Austin yet. The 2017 team members were Meagan Corser, Anna Little, Paul Exley, Emma Little, Vida Mata, and Josiah Newman. Building upon the successes of previous years, the 2017 Watchmen were able to make several breakthroughs, making 2017 THSC’s most successful legislative session yet.
The 2017 team stopped 21 bills that specifically threatened family rights and successfully amended 14 bills that threatened family rights. In addition to this the 2017 Watchmen were able to achieve passage of their #1 priority, passing 9 CPS reforms that will protect parents and children from government overreach.
Consider donating today to help the THSC Watchmen as they continue Keeping Texas Families Free in Austin!