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If guv signs, opting in to sex-ed class would be law, not just policy

First Published      Last Updated Mar 19 2015 11:27 am

One day after receiving its first and only committee hearing, a bill to require students to opt in to sex-education classes was approved by the Utah House and Senate.

HB447 received a 40-31 vote in the House on Wednesday, followed by a 21-7 vote in the Senate.

Bill sponsor Rep. Brad Dee, R-Ogden, said the state school board already requires schools to receive prior written consent from parents before teaching students about human sexuality. But HB447 would put that practice into state law.

"That's our responsibility," he said, "to help parents take their responsibility."

Lawmakers questioned the purpose of passing the bill, since students are already required by the state school board to opt in to sex-education classes.

And Holladay Democrat Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, a former teacher, suggested the bill's language could be interpreted to require written consent in other classes, such as an English class reading literature that deals with marriage or childbirth.

"It's already opt-in, so this doesn't change anything," she said. "It's just too broad folks, and I don't think it's necessary."

In the Senate, Draper Republican Sen. Howard Stephenson said the law would make schools more friendly to families concerned about the content of sex-education classes.

The bill will now be sent to the governor for his signature.