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Sex education bill moves forward after another contentious hearing

There has been a great deal of misinformation regarding a sex ed bill that is being mulled by Colorado's Democratic-controlled legislature.

DENVER — The Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed a bill that would expand the curriculum for schools that provide sex education.

Late Thursday night, after hours of testimony from the public, the bill passed committee 3-to-2 and now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. 

Thursday marked another contentious hearing in the Colorado legislature about a bill that would require school districts who choose to provide sex ed courses to teach a comprehensive curriculum that involves options other than abstinence.

What’s been dubbed HB19-1032 would not require schools to teach sex education.

The bill passed the Democratic-controlled Colorado House last week by a vote of 39-23. Its first hearing in front of the state Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee began on Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m., and was still going as of 10:45 p.m. 

After testimony wrapped up, the committee debated and voted on a series of amendments to the bill, including a clarification that the bill does not apply to preschool students through third grade.

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After a similar law was passed in 2013, most schools have already adopted this philosophy when it comes to teaching sexual education, but there were some – including charter and rural schools – that opted out.

WATCH | What is and what is not in the sex ed bill:

The language in HB19-1032 is virtually identical to the existing law. Opponents falsely claim it creates a new mandate to falsely teach about LGBTQ relationships, despite the current legislation having been in the books for years.

This also applies to the part about teaching methods of birth control other than abstinence.

Some opponents of the bill have also argued that parents can’t opt out, which is not the case.

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The only new part of the bill is the section on teaching consent, which reads “affirmative, unambiguous, voluntary, continuous, knowing agreement between all participants.”

Some parents have also expressed concerns that Planned Parenthood wrote the bill. While the organization has endorsed it, the vice president of the local organization said it did not write the curriculum, though districts can choose to have Planned Parenthood representatives come in and teach it.

9NEWS Reporter Jordan Chavez was at Thursday’s hearing. He said 213 people hsd signed up to testify. They were each allowed two minutes to make their cases.

Here are some of the other amendments that have been added to the bill: 

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