A bill that would have mandated sex education for Utah's students, including information on birth control methods, did not make it out of committee.
The Senate Education Committee sent SB188 back to the Rules Committee, virtually ensuring its demise for the 1991 session.The sponsor, Karen Shepherd, D-Salt Lake, said that while Utah's Board of Education has already made sex education a requirement, many school districts are not complying. The state is paying heavily for failure to educate adolescents, she said, in terms of lost human potential as well as money.
The bill contained the same parental consent requirement now in effect to allow teenagers to get specific birth control information, she said.
Brenda Allee, a young woman who bore a child while she was unmarried at 17, made a plea for more education. She said her own experience made her aware of the ignorance that sometimes leads to unwanted pregnancies.
Speaking for the State Board of Education, Stevan Kukic told the committee that curriculum decisions are the prerogative of the board and that they should not become legislative edicts.
Sen. Dixie Leavitt said sex education is a matter that "should be dealt with at home." He and two other committee members voted against the measure, while Sen. Millie M. Peterson, D-Salt Lake, supported it.
- The House Thursday put its near-unanimous vote on a Senate plan to appropriate $4.8 million to reduce the size of first-grade classes.
"There is a correlation between class size and learning," said Rep. Kim Burningham, R-Bountiful. "It's analogous to the correlation between smoking and lung cancer."
The House approved SB141 in a 65-1 vote, though it was not made clear where the money was coming from to actually lower class sizes.
- Does Utah need another four-year university? Utah lawmakers want to know.
In a 51-21 vote, the House approved HCR39, which calls upon the Board of Regents to study the feasibility of converting Utah Valley Community College from a two-year college to a four-year college offering bachelor's degrees.
"This is the way to really find out if it is cheaper to have a university . . . and to see if it is really needed," said Rep. Jeff Alexander, R-Provo.