It’s all about the children, you guys! In Idaho Falls, the children will begin to get one early-release day each week, but which day will it be? In the state, the children shouldn’t be using tanning beds, says one lawmaker! In Utah, another lawmaker is looking to ban schools from teaching about contraception! In non-children-related news, the gay-marriage bill in Washington state passed the House, meaning it’s basically approved, unless opponents get a referendum on the ballot. Controversy all around!
- Bonneville County School District 93 is locked in an intense battle, not over whether or not to schedule one early release day next year, but over which day that will be. To the arguments! The recommendation to the board is Monday, which teachers agree with. After all nobody wants to be in school on Mondays. But no, said parents! Make it Friday, because, you know, vacations or something! But teachers, fairly, argue that making Fridays basically half-days will increase absences. The decision to schedule about 28 early releases next year was approved 3-2 at last night’s board meeting, while the specific day will be voted on at next week’s meeting. [LN8]
- Idaho legislators proposed a new bill yesterday that would ban anyone under 18 from using tanning beds in the state. In the bill, Rep. John Rusche said the use of tanning beds by minors has led to an epidemic of skin cancer, a statement any dermatologist would probable agree with. Local tanning salons naturally disagree, claiming the beds don’t cause an “epidemic” and that minors rarely come into their stores (we’ll see if that’s still true come prom season). The proposed bill would carry a $500 fine. [LN8]
- In Utah, a state legislator is planning on presenting a bill that would ban schools from teaching about contraception. Rep. Bill Wright wrote the bill, which would do away with Utah’s current system of teaching without advocacy to no teaching at all, forcing schools to pick between abstinence-only sex education classes or no sex education classes. Planned Parenthood of Utah is already jumping on the bill, citing recent data that shows about half of Utah teen moms don’t use contraception, and are more likely than any other in the nation to be uneducated or unable to get some form of birth control. The ACLU, also already jumping on the bill, pointed out the fact that schools can already choose to teach abstinence-only classes and parents can already pull kids from sex education if they wish. The bill, they argue, would strip parents of the option of having their kids go through sex education in school. Wright argues that teaching contraception promotes that very same promiscuous behavior. [SLT]
- Washington state’s gay-marriage bill passed the House 55-43 yesterday, meaning it only needs the signature of Gov. Chris Gregoire, who has already pledged approval. The measure will take effect on June 7, a solid 90 days after the end of the legislative session. Opponents have promised to take the issue to the ballot, and need at least 120,577 signatures by June 6 to put a referendum on November’s ballot. [ST]