Planned Parenthood commended lawmakers after the Illinois House passed a bill Friday mandating age-appropriate, comprehensive sex education in public schools and sent the measure to the governor’s desk.
“Thank you to the Illinois General Assembly for passing this important piece of legislation,” Jennifer Welch, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, said in a news release.
“Because of their hard work and dedication, public and charter schools will have clear guidelines and standards for providing medically accurate and age-appropriate personal health and safety education in grades K through five and comprehensive sexual health education in grades six through 12,” Welch said.
The House approved Senate Bill 818 by a vote of 60-48, with no votes to spare.
The measure was approved by the Senate, 37-18, on May 20.
Opponents of the bill said they worry inappropriate information would be taught, and children would be taught at too young of an age about gender and sexuality, types of sexual activities and abortion.
Even though the bill would allow parents and guardians to opt their children out of the curriculum, opponents said they believe many school districts would decide to opt out of the curriculum entirely. In that case, the bill would require that nothing about personal health and sexuality is taught in a district.
Advocates for the bill said it is needed because the content of sex education teaching varies throughout the state.
“By developing standards to require inclusive, evidence-based curricula that includes information about healthy relationships, gender identity and sexual orientation, Illinois schools can reduce bullying, stigmatization, harassment, violence and discrimination for all students,” Welch said.
“When seeking to indoctrinate children with leftist sexuality dogma, leftists blather on about ‘age-appropriateness’ and ‘cultural-appropriateness’ as if those terms describe some objective, transcendent, universal criteria rather than socially constructed and imposed leftist ‘standards.’ Both terms are used to include ideas leftists love and exclude (i.e., censor) all ideas leftists hate.”
House lawmakers voting for the bill included Reps. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, Dave Vella, D-Rockford, and Maurice West, D-Rockford.
Those voting against the bill included Reps. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville; Dan Brady, R-Bloomington; Tim Butler, R-Springfield; Andrew Chesney, R-Freeport; C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville; Norine Hammond, R-Macomb; Mike Murphy, R-Springfield; Sue Scherer, D-Decatur; Keith Sommer, R-Morton; Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford; and Ryan Spain, R-Peoria.
Name, image, and likeness benefits for college athletes
State Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, said Senate Bill 2338 would allow Illinois college athletes to receive market compensation for the use of their name image and likeness and hire an agent. The bill passed with bipartisan support Saturday in a 95-18 vote.
“We’ve seen the NCAA has recognized this as an issue, but they’ve refused to actually move on it,” Buckner said.
Buckner was a former football player at the University of Illinois and joined a class-action lawsuit against EA Sports for using his personal profile in a video game.
He said he worked with Illini Athletic Director Josh Whitman on the initiative. Buckner said several other states have also worked to tackle the issue at the urging of the NCAA.
Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, who voted for the bill, said, “I think this is the right move with where we are today with college athletics.”
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Rep. Aaron Ortiz, D-Chicago, said he sponsored Senate Bill 654 to make 30 minutes of playtime mandatory for children in kindergarten through fifth grade.
The bill passed the House, 60-52, on Saturday, and goes to the Senate for approval of an amendment added by the House.
Ortiz said he was inspired to push this bill, because he did not have recess when he was a student. However, Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, argued the real problem for students is not the amount of playtime they have, but the amount of tests they are taking.
Scherer, a former teacher, said students are being asked to take too many tests, and that’s the biggest issue for their mental health.
The House on Saturday unanimously approved House Resolution 226, led by Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, which calls on the Illinois Department of Employment Security to reopen their offices to the public.
“The unemployment offices need to be open for the residents of the state of Illinois right now,” Sosnowski said.
He said IDES sent him a letter explaining the offices were closed for safety reasons and were operating more efficiently without being open, prompting laughter from several lawmakers.
“People that struggle to get their unemployment should get it,” Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, said.
However, Ford also said IDES might need more funds to reopen, which Republicans should support. Rep. Mike Murphy, R-Springfield, said funding for the office is a federal issue, not a state issue.
Resentencing option for prosecutors
Members of the House on Saturday passed Senate Bill 2129 in a 61-48 vote, to give prosecutors the ability to make a motion to resentence previously convicted felons to a term equal to or less than their original sentence.
Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said this option could come into play when the current sentencing guidelines are shorter than the guidelines under which the individual was sentenced.
However, Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, was concerned about the impact this change would have on victims of crimes as well as public safety.
“This bill allows for the prosecutor to make this motion even if the family or victim doesn’t want them to make this motion,” McClure said. “It also doesn’t have any limit on a crime, and there have been extremely controversial things that have happened in the Chicago area as far as letting people go that have done horrific things.”
The bill, which passed the Senate on April 21, now goes to the governor’s desk.