2005 State Sexual and Reproductive Health Legislative Reports1
Accurate as of May 2005
Bill Would Ban Use of Public Funds for “Promotion” of Homosexuality
House Bill 30, introduced in February 2005 and referred to the House Committee on Education where it died, would have prohibited any state agency or public entity from using public funds or facilities to purchase electronic materials or activities that “sanction, recognize, foster, or promote a lifestyle or actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws of the state.” This ban would have extended to library books and textbooks. Any public employee who violated this law would have been guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
According to the legislation, it was meant to extend Alabama's current restriction banning discussion of homosexuality (except as it relates to Alabama's sodomy laws) in sexuality education classes. (In 2003, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision in Lawrence v. Texas which declared state laws criminalizing homosexual behavior to be unconstitutional.)
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Alaska.
Parental Permission for Sex Education Legislation Introduced, Creates Different Standard for Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs
House Bill 2430, introduced in January 2005 and referred to the House Committee on Education K-12 and the House Committee on Rules, would require any school that teaches sex education to receive written parental permission before a student may participate in any of this instruction. This is commonly referred to as an “opt-in” policy. It would also prohibit sexuality from being discussed in any class except sex education, without prior school board approval.
Under H.B. 2430, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs would not have to follow these new policies.
Legislation Would Create Notification Procedures for Sex Education
House Bill 2431, introduced in February 2005, would develop procedures by which parents would be notified about their ability to remove their child from sex education classes and/ or from instruction on HIV/AIDS, among other things.
H.B.2431 passed both the House and the Senate, but was vetoed by the governor due to her concerns that the bill was too ambiguous regarding procedures that schools must follow.
Bill Would Create Committee to Study Excellence in Education, Must Include Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Proponent
House Bill 2546 would create a joint legislative committee to study success in education. The committee must include “a teacher who provides instruction in the area of abstinence education and who is appointed by the president of the senate.” The committee would automatically disband in September of 2006. Among other topics, the committee would research and report to the legislature on curricula, curricula implementation, and the teaching of “marriage skills.” This bill was introduced in January 2005 and has been passed by the House. It is now in the Senate where it has passed out of the Senate Committee on Education K-12 and is also under consideration by the Senate Committee on Rules.
Medically Accurate Legislation Introduced
House Bill 2654 was introduced in February 2005 and referred to the House Committee on Rules and the House Committee on Education K-12. Senate Bill 1077 was introduced in January 2005 and referred to the Senate Committee on Rules and the Senate Committee on Education K-12 where it subsequently failed a vote and died. Both would require all sex education curricula to be medically accurate. H.B. 2654 and S.B. 1077 define medically accurate as “supported by the weight of the research conducted in compliance with accepted scientific methods, recognized as accurate and objective by leading professional organizations and agencies with relevant expertise in the field, and published in peer-reviewed journals, if appropriate.” The legislation would also require all school districts that teach sex education to “dispel myths regarding transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including the human immunodeficiency virus.” Currently, schools only have to dispel myths regarding HIV, not other STIs.
Bill Would Have Cut Millions From Teenage Pregnancy Programs
Senate Bill 1125 was introduced in January 2005 and signed by the governor in April 2005. Initially, the legislation would have reappropriated state lottery funds. As part of that change, no state lottery monies would have been given to teenage pregnancy prevention. This would have resulted in a three million dollar loss for these programs. The bill was amended before it became law and all references to the state lottery fund were removed.
Law Will Enact Multiple Changes in Welfare System, Add Grants
Introduced in April 2005 and signed into law, Senate Bill 380 (now Act No. 1705) will enact numerous changes to Arkansas' current welfare system. Among these alterations, the Arkansas Transitional Employment Board will now grant contracts to state agencies or community-based organizations for numerous purposes, including: “reducing risky behaviors such as sexual activities, drug use, and criminal behavior” and “improving marriage and relationship skills among youth and engaged and married couples.”
Bill Would Restrict, Ban Certain Subjects From Sexuality Education Instruction, Counseling
Assembly Bill 349, introduced in February 2005 and referred to the Assembly Committee on Education, would place restrictions on “comprehensive sexual health education, HIV/AIDS prevention education, and assessments related to that education” by banning certain subjects in kindergarten through sixth grade and requiring parental permission for each day these subjects are discussed in seventh through twelfth grade. Subjects include domestic partnerships, homosexuality, bisexuality, lesbianism, transgenderism, necrophilia, and sadism. Under this legislation, instruction is defined as “an assignment, demonstration, depiction, discussion, dissemination, display, explanation, posting, question, survey, or test.”
Legislation Would Allow Counties to Develop Integrated Health and Human Services
Assembly Bill 392, introduced in February 2005, would allow any county in California to develop and implement a program of integrated health and human services. Currently, only certain counties can implement such a program. This legislation would also allow such programs to include the integration of Adolescent Family Life programs and HIV/AIDS education.
A.B. 392 has been passed by the Assembly and is currently awaiting consideration in the Senate.
Legislation Would Add Abstinence-Only Requirements to Sexuality Education Classes
Assembly Bill 1217, introduced in February 2005 and referred to the Assembly Committee on Education, would require schools that teach sexuality education to emphasis abstinence-until-marriage; discuss the possible emotional, psychological, and financial consequences of sex outside of marriage; advise students that it is unlawful to have sex with anyone under the age of 18 (unless they are married); and teach how not to make or accept unwanted sexual advances.
Legislation Would Allow Opt-Out Based On Religious Beliefs
Senate Bill 1043, introduced in February 2005, would allow parents to remove their children from any part of health or family life instruction due to the parents' religious beliefs.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Colorado.
Legislation Requiring Parental Notification of Family Life Program Introduced
House Bill 5514, introduced in January 2005 and referred to the joint Committee on Education, would require school districts to notify the parent of any student who is eligible to participate in a family life program.
Bill Would Require Review of Sex Education Programs
Senate Bill 363, introduced in January 2005 and referred to the joint Committee on Education, would require school districts to review their sex education programs in order to guarantee that the program is comprehensive and includes, “abstinence, human development, relationships, sexual health, and sexually transmitted diseases.”
Bill Would Mandate Parenting Education, Including Family Life Education
Senate Bill 1177, introduced in March 2005 and referred to the Joint Select Committee on Children, would require schools to include parenting education in existing curricula. This parenting education would include health and family life education.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Delaware.
Family Life and Reproductive Education Requirement Legislation Introduced
Introduced in March 2005 and referred to the Senate Committees on Health Care, Education, Education Appropriations, and Ways and Means, Senate Bill 2276 would require all school districts to develop a plan to implement comprehensive family life and reproductive education by the 2008-2009 school year. S.B. 2276 defines this education as occurring in grades K through 12, respecting community values, encouraging family communication, contributing to healthy relationships, promoting abstinence, and including information about contraception. The legislation would also guarantee that rape survivors are offered emergency contraception as part of their treatment.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Georgia.
Medical Accuracy Legislation Introduced
House Bill 236 and Senate Bill 483, introduced in January 2005, would require any recipient of state funding that provides sex education, family planning information, pregnancy counseling, or information about STDs to use medically accurate, factually based information. According to H.B. 236 and S.B. 483, this must include information about abstinence and contraception. The bills define medical accuracy as “verified or supported by research conducted in compliance with scientific methods and published in peer-reviewed journals, where appropriate, and recognized as accurate and objective by professional organizations and agencies with expertise in the relevant fields, such as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”
Since its introduction, H.B. 236 has been passed by the House and sent to the Senate, where it currently resides in the Senate Committee on Health and the Senate Committee on Education and Military Affairs.
Bills Would Expand School Health Services
Introduced in January 2005, House Bill 1003 and Senate Bill 1517 would provide for the planning and start-up of comprehensive school health services with an emphasis on school-based health centers. As part of this, schools may include “health education, including medically accurate, factually based sex education.” These projects could not “promote, provide, or provide referrals to abortions or abortion-related services.” Both bills also include money for evaluation of the effectiveness of the school-based health programs.
Since its introduction, H.B. 1003 has passed the House Committee on Human Services, the House Committee on Health, and the House Committee on Education. S.B. 1517 is currently in the Senate Committee on Education and Military Affairs as well as the Senate Committee on Health.
Additionally, four separate resolutions, House Resolutions 23 and 26 as well as Senate Resolutions 6 and 9, express support for the aforementioned bill.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Idaho.
Age-Appropriate Sex Education Grant Program Act Introduced
Senate Bill 457 was introduced in February 2005 and referred to the Senate Committees on Rules and on Health & Human Services. The Committee on Health and Human Services passed the legislation with amendment. Named the Age-Appropriate Sex Education Grant Program, this bill would establish a grant program for curriculum development and implementation of sex education programs. Eligible applicants would include public school districts, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, or partnerships between a school district and a community-based organization. Programs established by one of these grants must be age-appropriate, medically accurate, stress the value of abstinence, include information about contraception, and encourage family communication about sexuality.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Indiana.
Legislation Would Add Sexual Orientation To Antidiscrimination Statutes
House Bill 596, introduced in March 2005 and referred to the House Committee on Judiciary, would amend Iowa's civil rights statutes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This would include access to educational institutions. H.B. 596 includes an exception for “bona fide religious institutions, if related to a bona fide religious purpose.”
Bill Would Have Required Age-Appropriate and Science-Based Education; Allowed Sexuality Education
House File 605 would have required schools to teach age-appropriate and science-based human growth and family education. The bill stated that comprehensive sexual health education could be taught as part of the aforementioned instruction. H.F. 605 was introduced in March 2005 and did not pass out of the House Committee on Education in time to be considered for a vote.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Kansas.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Kentucky
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Louisiana.
Legislation Would Require Written Permission for Student to Participate in Comprehensive Family Life Education
House Bill 1045, introduced in March 2005 and referred to the Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, would require written permission from a parent or guardian before a child could participate in comprehensive family life education classes. The school administrator would be required to tell parents and guardians whether “abstinence will be taught and whether homosexuality will be discussed.”
“Abstinence Education” Could Be Offered in Place of or Addition to Family Life Education
Senate Bill 605A, introduced in May 2005 and referred to the Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, would allow schools to offer “abstinence education” in grades 7 through 12 in place of or in addition to comprehensive family life education. The bill uses the federal government's 8-point definition of “abstinence education.”
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Maryland.
Governor Would Change Usage of Abstinence-Only Funds
House Bill 42 and 44 would amend the Fiscal Year 2005 Massachusetts budget to say “funds dedicated to the abstinence education project in the department of public health shall be used solely for classroom education, and not for advertising or media purchases.”
The amendment was initiated by the Governor and rejected by both the House and Senate and sent back to the Governor. The Governor has since vetoed this rejection and sent the bill back to the House for reconsideration.
Bill Would Require Parental Permission for Sexuality Education
House Bill 1015, introduced in January 2005 and referred to the Joint Committee on Education, would require written permission from a parent or guardian before a student could participate in sex education. In addition, sex education could only be offered on an elective basis and no teacher or employee who felt the education violated his or her religious beliefs could be required to participate.
Legislation Would Include HIV/AIDS Prevention in Health Education
Introduced in January 2005 and referred to the Joint Committee on Education, House Bill 1079 would require HIV/AIDS-prevention education to be included in health education.
Bill Would Create Local School Health Advisory Committees
House Bill 1214, introduced in January 2005 and referred to the Joint Committee on Education, would require the creation of a school health advisory council in each school district. The council would be responsible for determining the numbers of instruction hours and choosing curricula. The majority of council members must be parents of students enrolled in the school district. The parents must not be employed by the school district. The school board is allowed to appoint the rest of the board at its own discretion.
Act To Promote Healthy Behaviors Introduced
Introduced in January 2004 and referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health and the Joint Committee on Children and Families, House Bill 2712 and Senate Bill 101 would require the establishment of a program of community-based health and sexuality education services to be provided by family planning agencies. This program would focus on high-risk populations, parents and guardians of young people, and youth-serving organizations.
Legislation Would Create Health Education Curriculum Committee
House Bill 1638, introduced in January 2005 and referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health, would require each school district to establish a Health Education Curriculum Committee. This Committee would “research and make recommendations on a comprehensive, age-appropriate, factually, and medically accurate health education curriculum for grades K-12.” Schools that already have a health education program that meets the aforementioned requirements would be exempt. Each school district would also be charged with adopting a parental notification policy.
Bill Would Create Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program
House Bill 2855 was introduced in January 2005 and referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health. H.B. 2855 would create a program that would train “mothers . . who became pregnant while unwed” to work in a two-year long program in public schools.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Michigan.
Legislation Would Implement Sexuality Education in Schools, Create Regional Training Sites for Sexuality Education, and Change Abstinence-Only Programs
House Bill 646 and Senate Bill 581, both introduced in January 2005, have numerous goals. The legislation would require school districts to implement comprehensive family life and sexuality education no later than the 2008-2009 school year. This education must be medically accurate, age-appropriate, encourage family communication, promote responsible sexual behavior, and include both abstinence and contraception.
H.B. 646 and S.B. 581 would also establish eight regional training centers in partnership with school districts to help school districts implement the aforementioned education by including providing technical assistance, advice on curricula, and training.
In addition, the bills would change Minnesota's current ENABL (Education Now and Babies Later) program by switching its focus from promoting abstinence-until-marriage to providing “comprehensive sexuality education that promotes abstinence and promotes male sexual responsibility.”
The bills would also create a grant program to provide after-school enrichment programs and ensure greater access to family planning services.
H.B. 646 was referred to the House Committee on Health Policy and Finance. S.B. 581 has been passed by the Senate Committee on Health and Family Security and the Committee on Education. It currently resides in the Senate Committee on Finance.
Legislation Would Require Sexuality Education in Later Grades, Encourage It in Earlier Grades
House Bill 1301 and Senate Bills 878 and 1262 would encourage school districts to implement age-appropriate, medically accurate sexuality education programs in grades K through 6 and mandate that they provide such education in grades 7 through 12. All bills were introduced in February 2005 and H.B. 1301 is currently in the House Committee on Education Policy and Reform and both Senate bills are in the Senate Committee on Education respectively.
This education would promote abstinence, be respectful of marriage and committed relationships, encourage parent child communication about sexuality, and be appropriate for “use with pupils and family experiences based on race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic and cultural background, and appropriately accommodate alternative learning based on language or disability.” Parents and guardians would be able to remove their children from any or all of the sexuality education.
The legislation also charges the Department of Education with providing services to help school districts develop, implement, and maintain these sexuality education programs.
Bill Would Require Parental Consent for Sex and Health Education and Prohibit Gathering Information from Students without Parental Consent
Senate Bill 2113 would have prohibited school districts from requiring students to participate in “any survey, questionnaire, analysis, or evaluation” that focuses on certain subjects, including sexual attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors without prior parental consent. S.B. 2113 was introduced in January 2004 and referred to Senate Committee on Education where it died. If the legislation had been enacted, it would also have required parental consent for a student to participate in sex or health education.
Legislation Contains Numerous Anti-Choice Provisions, Including Prohibiting Certain People From Teaching Sex Education
Introduced in January 2005 and passed by the Senate, Senate Bill 2 would enact numerous anti-choice provisions. These provisions would establish the “Respect Life Commission,” prohibit public funding from going to any program or agency that “directly or indirectly subsidize abortion services,” and prevent minors from receiving an abortion without parental consent or a judicial bypass. In addition, S.B. 2 would prohibit any person who performs, induces, assists with, encourages, or refers people to abortion services from teaching sex education.
Bill Would Prohibit Any Provider of Abortion Services from Providing Sex Education
Senate Bill 198; introduced in January 2005 and referred to the Committee on Judiciary, Civil, and Criminal Jurisprudence, would prohibit any person who performs, induces, assists with, encourages, or refers people to abortion services from teaching sex education. The bill provides an exemption, however, if the abortion is necessary to save the “life of the mother.”
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Montana.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Nebraska.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Nevada.
Bill Would Strengthen Abstinence Requirements
Introduced in January 2005 and referred to the House Committee on Education, House Bill 39 would require all sex education classes to follow abstinence-until-marriage guidelines. Among other things, “course material and instruction shall teach honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage” and “shall stress that pupils should abstain from sexual intercourse until they are ready for marriage.” The bill would also allow parents or guardians to remove their child from such courses with written objection.
Comprehensive Family Life Education Bill Introduced
Assembly Bill 787 was introduced in January 2004 and assigned to the Assembly Committee on Education which unanimously voted in favor of the legislation. The bill would require each board of education in the state to offer comprehensive family life education. A.B. 787 defines family life education as “education regarding human development and sexuality, including education on family planning and sexually transmitted diseases, that is medically accurate and age-appropriate; respects community values and encourages parental communication; promotes responsible sexual behavior and addresses both abstinence and the use of contraception; promotes individual responsibility and involvement regarding sexuality; and teaches skills for responsible decision-making regarding sexuality.”
A.B. 787 would also repeal the current New Jersey law requiring that such courses stress abstinence as the only completely reliable means for eliminating STDs and avoiding pregnancy.
Parenting Education Instruction Legislation Introduced
Introduced in January 2004 and referred to the Assembly Committee on Education, Assembly Bill 1525 would require that instruction on parenting, including responsibilities and obligations, be included in any family life education course.
Bill Would Fund Pregnancy Prevention
Introduced in January 2005, Senate Bill 409, would appropriate $2,600,000 to teen pregnancy-prevention and family-strengthening programs. One million would be used to fund in-school programs for pregnancy prevention, parenting, family strengthening, and career development for teen mothers and fathers. One million would be used at state universities to provide programs to prevent teen pregnancy and aid at-risk youth. The remaining $600,000 would be used by the human services department for community-based young fatherhood and teen pregnancy prevention programs.
S.B. 409 was referred to both the Senate Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Finance and has been passed by the Senate Committee on Education.
Healthy Teens Act Introduced
Assembly Bill 6619 and Senate Bill 5121, introduced in March and April 2005 respectively and referred to their own Committee on Health, would establish an age-appropriate sexuality education grant program with the intent of providing “at-risk adolescents with the information, assistance, skills, and support to enable them to make responsible decisions, including abstaining from sexual intercourse and for those who do become sexually active, the use of condoms or contraceptives effectively.” The bill outlines the parameters of such programs, including requirements that they be medically accurate and provide information on contraceptives.
Bill Would Include “Safe Surrender” in School Health Classes
Introduced in March 2005 and referred to the House Committee on Education Subcommittee on Pre-School, Elementary, and Second Education, House Bill 683 would require that instruction on how a newborn can be safely and legally abandoned is included in school health education.
Legislation Would Correct Language in School Health Education Statutes
House Bill 1059, introduced in March 2005 and referred to the House Committee on Education, would make several corrections to the state's existing school health education statutes. It would change “AIDS” to “HIV/AIDS,” change the “teaching of abstinence as the only certain means of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases” to the “teaching of abstinence as the only certain means of avoiding most sexually transmitted diseases,” and change the mandate to discuss the “legality of homosexual acts” when discussing STDS and HIV/AIDS to the “legality of currently outlawed sexual acts.” In addition, the statutes would now include information on instruction relating to “how alcohol and drugs can lower inhibitions, which may lead to risky sexual behavior.”
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in North Dakota.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Ohio.
Legislation Would Segregate Sexuality-Related Materials in Public Libraries
House Bill 1039, introduced in May 2005, would require libraries to put all books dealing with human sexuality in an adults-only section of the library. The bill would also require that no public funds be used in “the distribution of such materials to children.”
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Oregon.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Pennsylvania.
Legislation Would Mandate Health, Sexuality Education
House Bill 5354 and Senate Bill 460, introduced in February 2005 and referred to the House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare and the Senate Committee on Education, would require health education, including sexuality education in grades K through 12.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in South Carolina.
Bill Would Require Health Education to be Medically Accurate and Objective
Introduced in January 2005 and referred to the Senate Committee on Education, Senate Bill 166 would require that all school districts that provide health education ensure that the information is “factual and medically accurate and objective.” Medically accurate and objective is defined as “verified or supported by research conducted in compliance with scientific methods and published in peer-reviewed journals, if appropriate, and recognized as accurate and objective by leading professional medical organizations and agencies with expertise in the relevant fields.”
Bill Would Mandate Development and Implementation of Sexual Violence and Awareness Curriculum
House Bill 374 and Senate Bill 595, introduced in February 2005 and referred to their respective Committees on Education, would require the development of curriculum guidelines and the adoption of a curriculum on sexual violence and awareness by school districts. This curriculum would be part of the current “lifetime wellness curriculum.” The legislation encourages the development of sexual violence and awareness curriculum in conjunction with community-based organization, including “abstinence education organizations.”
Bill Would Reward Five Model Programs
House Bill 1294 and Senate Bill 1011, introduced in February 2005 and referred to the House Committee on Health and Human Resources and Senate Committee on General Welfare, Health, and Human Resources respectively, would designate up to five total model programs in numerous topic areas including family life education; prevention of teenage pregnancy; and counseling services for teenagers who are, or think they might be, pregnant. These programs would receive funding in recognition of their work.
Legislation Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Introduced
House Bill 376 and Senate Bill 201, introduced in January 2005 and referred to their respective Committees on Education, would prohibit any public educational institution or employee of such an institution from discriminating against a student enrolled in the institution based on “ethniticity, color, gender, gender identity, sexual preference, disability, religion, or national origin, of the student or the student's parents.”
Texas Prevention First Act of 2005 Introduced
House Bill 1354, introduced in February 2005 and referred to the House Committee on Public Health, asks for “funding for services to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions and lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV).” The legislation cites contraceptive coverage in health insurance, educating people about emergency contraception, allowing pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception without a prescription, increasing the availability of emergency contraception for sexual assault survivors, funding teen pregnancy prevention, and requiring medical accuracy in all education that discusses contraception and condoms as steps to be taken in order to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions and lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases.
Legislation Would Change Education Code
Introduced in March 2005 and referred to the House Committee on Public Education, House Bill 3134 would enact several changes in the state Education Code. Among other alterations, it states that all sexuality education course material and instruction must “provide a clear understanding of abstinence from sexual activity and engaging in sexual activity” and “for circumstances in which a student is unable to abstain from sexual activity, analyze the benefits of a healthy and monogamous sexual relationship and provide detailed information about local agencies that provide relationship support and counseling.” In addition, all instruction would have to teach about contraception and condom use in “a medically accurate manner that addresses the health benefits of contraception and condom use.”
Bill Would Repeal the Teaching of Criminalization of “Homosexual Conduct”
House Bill 3215, introduced in March 2005 and referred to the House Committee on State Affairs, would change state sexuality education law to remove language that instructs teachers to “state that homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense under Section 21.06, Penal Code” as well as to “emphasize, provided in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general pubic and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under Section 21.06, Penal Code.” (In 2003, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision in Lawrence v. Texas which declared state laws criminalizing homosexual behavior to be unconstitutional.)
Legislation Would Have Included Education on Prevention of HIV/AIDS
House Bill 72 would have modified the state Board of Education's health education curricula requirements to include information on the prevention of HIV/AIDS. H.B. 72 was introduced in January 2005 and assigned to the House Committee on Rules where it subsequently died.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Vermont.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Virginia.
Medically Accurate Sex Education Bill Introduced
House Bill 1282 and Senate Bill 5306, introduced in January 2005, would require all school districts offering sexual health education to incorporate the Department of Health and Office of the Superintendent of Public School's guidelines for sexual health information into their instruction.
The legislation also states that this education must emphasize abstinence, but not to the exclusion of other methods of prevention, and that it must include “medically accurate information about the effectiveness of contraceptives and other family planning options in a comprehensive manner.” The Department of Health is charged with adopting rules to determine what is medically accurate.
The legislation also states that “instruction and materials shall be age-appropriate and appropriate for use with students of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and ethnic and cultural backgrounds and students with disabilities.” H.B.1282 has passed out of the House and is in the Senate Committee on Early Learning, K-12, and Higher Education as well as the Senate Committee on Health and Long-Term Care. S.B. 5306 remains in the Senate Committees on Health and Long-Term Care.
Legislation Would Create Opt-In Policy
Introduced in February 2005 and referred to the House Committee on Education, House Bill 2139 would require written parental consent in order for a student to participate “in a class, assembly, lecture, or other setting in which information regarding sex education or sexual conduct is presented.” Parental permission would also be required before a student could participate in HIV/AIDS education.
“Truth in Describing Sex Education Act” Introduced
In January 2005, Senate Bill 5478 and House Bill 1656 were introduced “to help parents clearly identify the type of education being taught, assist community committee members in selecting the best materials to comply with school district policy, and support teachers in complying with their school district policy.”
Called the “Truth in Describing Sex Education Act,” the bills provide the federal government's definition of “abstinence education” and mandate that all school districts decide whether their sexuality education programs fit within that definition and are thus “abstinence education” or whether they “describe sexual behaviors not included in the definition” and are thus “comprehensive sex education” programs.
S.B. 5478 is in the Senate Committee on Early Learning, K-12, and Higher Education and H.B. 1656 is in the House Committee on Health Care.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Washington, DC.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in West Virginia.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Wisconsin.
SIECUS is not aware of any current legislation regarding sexuality education in Wyoming.
1This report is accurate as of May, 2005.
This report does not include bills that focus on abortion or emergency contraception. For information about these, please see the Alan Guttmacher Institute's State Center at www.agi-usa.org/statecenter/index.html
This report also does not include appropriations bills. For information on this type of legislation, please contact SIECUS' Public Policy Office at 202/265-2405.