ARIZONA NEWS

Vetoed sex ed bill returning with changes in Arizona

May 12, 2021, 6:00 PM
(AP Photo/Bob Christie, File)...
(AP Photo/Bob Christie, File)
(AP Photo/Bob Christie, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — A contentious sex education bill that was vetoed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey last month is being revived, with the sponsor keeping what she called “the heart” of the proposal, increased parental notifications, but stripping out provisions that specifically targeted discussion of LGBTQ issues.

Republican Sen. Nancy Barto said she worked with Ducey’s office to identify and remove the parts he considered problematic, especially a provision that would have prevented young students from being taught how to avoid or report sexual abuse. The revised bill still bans sex education classes before 5th grade, but allows age and grade appropriate instruction on child assault awareness and abuse prevention.

Also stripped out of the vetoed legislation are specific references to any discussion of sexual orientation, gender identity HIV/AIDS issues, which required a double parental opt-in under the original proposal. But a requirement that schools get permission from parents to discuss sexual issues in any other class remains. That would bar discussions of historic events like the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, considered the genesis of the modern gay rights movement, without parental approval.

“ HB 2035 implements the transparency and accountability provisions from SB 1456 while addressing his concerns with the bill — including that the language could be interpreted to ‘stand in the way of important child abuse prevention education in the early grades for at risk and vulnerable children,’” Barto said in an emailed response to a request for comment. ”That was certainly not my intention.”

The proposal is set for a hearing before a Senate committee Barto chairs on Thursday. The previous version that was vetoed by the Republican governor last month passed the state House and Senate along party lines, with all Democrats opposed.

In his veto message, the governor called the legislation overly broad and vague and said it would have unintended consequences. He also said he was concerned the ban on sex education before 5th grade could put vulnerable children at risk by limiting sexual abuse prevention education.

At the same time, the Republican issued an executive order adopting some of the transparency portions of the measure, including requiring schools to post sex ed curricula online and provide extensive notice of school board meetings where sex ed is to be discussed. Barto’s new version puts those parental notifications provisions into law.

Democratic Sen. Tony Navarette of Phoenix, who sits on the committee that will hear the bill and is openly gay, said the revamped proposal is still troubling. He said the workaround for teaching young children about sexual abuse is fraught with potential problems and the ban on talking about issues outside of sex ed classes without parental permission is especially concerning.

“It’s problematic because it literally erases an entire section of history or an entire section of current events from our classrooms,” Navarette said Wednesday. “Even discussing the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, folks will have to have a permission slip.”

Arizona already has some of the most restrictive sex education laws in the country, with no requirement that schools teach the subject. It is one of just five states that require schools to get parents’ approval to take a sex ed class; most allow parents to opt out of instruction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The legislation came two years after the Republican governor signed a repeal of a 1991 law banning HIV/AIDS instruction that “promotes a homosexual lifestyle.” That bill emerged as the state faced a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law that the Republican attorney general and Democratic schools chief refused to fight.

Arizona is among several Republican-led states where lawmakers considered similar changes to sex education this year. It comes amid other efforts pushing back on social changes, including legislation in some states to ban transgender athletes from competing on school teams of their identified sex, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights group that tracks such legislation.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

NFL offering free CPR training during Super Bowl week

The NFL and American Heart Association will provide free CPR education in Arizona throughout Super Bowl week as part of the NFL Experience.
11 hours ago
(AP Photo)...
KTAR.com

Glendale ranks 4th in study of worst commutes in US

In a new study of U.S. cities, Glendale ranks fourth in terms of the nation's worst commutes.
11 hours ago
An IRS 1040 form, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, is shown on Thursday, April 5, 2018, in New Yo...
KTAR.com

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide provides free income tax prep assistance in Arizona

One taxpayer assistance option available is the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, which is providing free tax assistance and preparation in Arizona.
11 hours ago
(Arizona Game and Fish Department Photo)...
Alex Weiner

Sonoran pronghorn population in Arizona makes leaps after AZGFD partnership with Mexico

The Sonoran pronghorn native to Arizona was on the cusp of extinction in the United States with 21 individuals in the wild in 2002.
11 hours ago
(Jim Poulin/Phoenix Business Journal)...
Ron Davis/Phoenix Business Journal

Radix Law partner helps launch ride-share carts in Scottsdale ahead of Super Bowl LVII

In a matter of weeks, those looking for a ride will be able to call for one through a mobile app to take them through Scottsdale's entertainment district at no charge.
11 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Shooting in central Phoenix leaves 1 dead, 2 others injured on Saturday

Phoenix police are searching for a suspect in a shooting that left one man dead and two others injured on Saturday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Vetoed sex ed bill returning with changes in Arizona