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Utah Lawmaker Files Opt-In Sex Education Bill

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The Democratic leader in the Utah House of Representatives is making another attempt to pass a sex education bill. Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, tried to run a comprehensive sex education bill last year but it failed.

The bill he’s drafted this year would develop an opt-in curriculum that includes sex education, but also lessons on communication, bodily autonomy and setting personal boundaries.  

“When we’re talking about intimate physical contact, that’s something that people should be taught at a very early age as something they’re in control of,” King says.

If passed, King says the bill could help reduce rape and sexual assault. Turner Bitton with the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault agrees.

“If you are not having conversations about human anatomy and human sexuality that are age-appropriate and culturally sensitive, we can’t do the kind of primary prevention that we would like to see done at a large scale,” Bitton says.

Previous attempts to pass legislation that included comprehensive sex education in Utah have failed. Conservative lawmakers and advocates say it’s a subject better taught at home by parents.

King’s bill was filed last week. Next it will be considered by a House standing committee before reaching the full House floor for a debate.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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