Doty defends sex ed bill

Published 9:05 pm Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, said her sex education bill does not require condom demonstration in the fifth grade, contrary to an email that was sent out recently.

Senate Bill 2413 would amend section 37-13-171 of the Mississippi Code, which establishes sex education in the state. The amendment would extend sex education in Mississippi until 2021.

“We have mandatory sex ed in Mississippi,” Doty said. “It was enacted in 2011, before I was legislator. It’s been repealed this year. This year we just need to take another look at it, make any tweaks necessary to re-authorize it.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

One of the amendments in the new bill would require that the Department of Education publish a list of curriculum that is age, grade and developmentally appropriate. The Mississippi State Department of Health would have to approve the curriculum using the criteria that it is evidence-based and medically accurate. The amendment defines evidence-based as being proven to reduce behavioral risk factors associated with teenage pregnancy.

“There has been a good bit of misinformation put out about what the bill does,” Doty said. “There was a very misleading email that went out saying I was for a bill promoting condom demonstrations in the fifth grade. Now that is just ridiculous. That is not age appropriate. That is not in any of the curriculum. We have had a little over 5,000 teen pregnancies in Mississippi last year. We had I believe about 650 abortions for teenagers last year in Mississippi, and I am trying to take some steps to do something about it to provide education that will change behaviors in Mississippi.”

Another change would require that the school provide a written consent form to the parent or guardian of every student, making the sex-ed courses opt-in.

The bill has already passed through the Senate Education committee, but the corresponding House Bill 992 has not.

Senate Bill 2167 would require independent and special election candidates to pay qualifying fees. The fees vary from position to position, but go up to $1,500 for governor, United States representative and United States senator.

“Right now it is $15 to run for Legislature and county offices,” Doty said. “The problem with that is, running an election is a huge thing. We have very long ballots in Mississippi anyway because we elect so many of our officials. Then if you have these candidates that just want to pay $15 and get their name on the ballot. They’re not really serious about running the campaign. It really causes a problem and seems to be causing more and more of a problem in recent elections.”

Tuesday is the deadline for bills to make it out of committee. Many bills die in committee.
“We never vote on all the bills,” Doty said. “There’s such a wide range of bills that are filed — a lot of incomplete bills. Some bills are a little far out. Some bills are just filed to make a statement.”
Also, bills that do make it through one committee may not necessarily be ready for a vote.
“They may have to go to another committee,” Doty said. “I’ve got two or three like that. But once a bill has made it through all their committee days, it is put on the Senate calendar, and then we start taking those up on the floor.”