SALT LAKE CITY -- A move to include sex education in the educational offerings of Utah public schools has fallen short -- again.
A year after Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed a sex education program based on abstinence, members of the House voted Wednesday to kill an Internet-based sex education program aimed at helping parents have those discussions at home.
The House voted 16-50 to reject SB 39, sponsored by Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden. The vote was a significant turnaround from action taken in the Senate, where the measure passed by a unanimous vote.
During debate Wednesday, a number of legislators suggested the state didn't need to be creating a program to deal with the sensitive topic, when so many other groups have already done so.
"What is the need for this? There's an abundance of materials, that would help a parent, if they choose," Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, said.
Rep. Stephen Handy, R-Layton, didn't like the idea of adding yet another burden on the state Department of Education and local districts. "Again, here we are on Capitol Hill, compelling the school board to do something," Handy said.
Reid was stunned by the result.
"It's the first big surprise I've had," in his legislative career, Reid said.
House sponsor Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden, put an interesting spin on the vote after the tally was announced. Given the microphone for personal privilege, Peterson simply echoed "waa, waa, waa" to amused House members.