ARIZONA NEWS

Previously vetoed sex ed bill heads back to Arizona Gov. Ducey

Jun 25, 2021, 5:30 PM
Arizona Capitol. (Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)...
Arizona Capitol. (Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
(Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Republican-controlled Legislature on Friday sent a contentious sex education bill that was previously vetoed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey back to his desk after it was stripped of language he objected to that would have prevented young children from being taught how to avoid or report sexual abuse.

The revised legislation still bars sex education instruction before 5th grade and requires greatly increased parental notifications, along with the current rule that parents opt-in for sex ed classes But it eliminated language requiring a double opt-in for discussions of sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV/AIDS issues in sex ed classes.

It also still requires notice and parental pre-approval for any discussion of sex-related material outside of sex ed classes. The broad requirement would block discussions of historic events that have a sexual component, like the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, considered the genesis of the modern gay rights movement, or even the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage, without parental pre-approval.

Although the bill was stripped of provisions requiring the double opt-in for discussion touching on sexual orientation, Democrats say it still aims squarely at the LGBTQ community.

“This bill is plainly intended to target the LGBTQ students in our schools and will prevent teachers and administrators from creating safe and welcoming education environments for all students,” Democratic Rep. Athena Salman said. “This … is a sweeping bill that will attack the ability of teachers to speak about a wide variety of issues impacting all students.”

Republican backers said it was needed to give parents more say in the sex-related material their children are exposed to at school.

“It should be up to the parents to decide the best way and the right way to teach their children,” Republican Rep. Gail Griffin said during Friday’s House vote, where it passed along party lines. “Government should not interfere with a parent’s right to teach his or her child in human sexuality.”

In his April 20 veto message, the governor called the prior 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 curriculum online and provide extensive notice of school board meetings where sex ed instructional materials are to be discussed or updated.

The version sent to the governor Friday puts those parental notifications provisions into law.

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 several 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

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Previously vetoed sex ed bill heads back to Arizona Gov. Ducey