State Rep. Stan Lee has prefiled a bill for the 2016 General Assembly that would allow home-schooled students to play athletics on public school teams.
It's the second time Lee, R-Lexington, has filed such a bill. Similar legislation failed in 2015.
"I was just contacted by so many more home-school parents who wanted this legislation to pass, who wanted their children to participate in sports." said Lee, who filed the bill in October. "You have to file something many times to get people used to the idea and educate them on the issue."
This time Lee appears to have additional support. Jessica Ditto, a spokeswoman for Republican Gov-elect. Matt Bevin, said in an email Tuesday that Bevin supported the legislation. She did not elaborate.
Under the legislation, students enrolled in a nonpublic school, including a home school, would be eligible to participate in an interscholastic extracurricular activity sponsored by the student's assigned public school.
Lee said he thought the legislation also would cover extracurricular activities such as band.
Private school students would not be eligible to participate at the public school if their school offered the sport or the same extracurricular activity.
The home-schooled or private school students would have to adhere to the same standards and requirements applied to the public school students. Parents would be responsible for transportation of the home-schooled or private school students.
And, said Lee, "There's no guarantee you would make the team."
Lee said his daughter, 9, was home-schooled.
He said he thought the legislation was appropriate because "we pay taxes whether we have children in the public school system or not."
He said there would be no additional costs for schools.
"It's just giving a child an opportunity to try out," Lee said.
But state Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, chairman of the House Education Committee, said Tuesday that "it would be very difficult for me to support the bill."
"It comes down to fairness," Graham said.
"I have some concerns about it, because those athletic events are meant for students who attend public schools. It would be unfair for those students who go to that public school and attend classes ... to allow outsiders who do not attend that school to participate."
Julian Tackett, commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, said his group also opposes the bill.
The proposal is not a measure to simply allow participation by home-schooled students, Tackett said in a statement.
He said the legislation would have more impact.
He said it offered "a blanket opportunity for any nonpublic school to have its students participate in school-based sports at another school."
The proposal also does not address any standards for home-school instruction, he said.
Tackett said he looked forward to working with Lee, other lawmakers and KHSAA officials to do "what is best for students."
Lee said he wanted to meet with Graham and Tackett and answer their questions.