Sex education bill for Nevada schools dies

CARSON CITY — Legislation to create a medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education program for Nevada schools died quietly on the state Senate secretary’s desk Friday.

Assembly Bill 230 needed Senate approval Friday to stay alive under the Legislature’s requirement that bills pass a second house by midnight or automatically die.

Critics had complained the bill might lead to Planned Parenthood instructing students in some schools. The bill would have required instruction in not only abstaining from sex, but in birth control and on abortions.

But school districts would still have retained the right to reject the program and parents would have had to sign “opt in” statements before their children could attend.

The bill passed on a party-line vote in the Assembly. Senate Democrats decided in a caucus Friday to prevent a final vote because of the likelihood that Gov. Brian Sandoval would veto the bill. They lacked the votes to override a veto.

Assemblyman David Bobzien, D-Reno, had introduced the bill in part because Nevada’s current sex education curriculum is 30 years old and sex education is not taught in some counties. He also noted that Nevada has the fourth highest teen-age pregnancy rate in the country and ranks 16th in sexually transmitted diseases.

Some witnesses testified the bill was particularly needed by Hispanic children whose parents often are reluctant to talk to their children about sex.

“The votes weren’t there and the governor was reluctant about signing the bill,” said Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.