Ingalls Urgent Aid
Senate committee advances bills on sex ed, decriminalizing HIV transmission

Senate committee advances bills on sex ed, decriminalizing HIV transmission

By RAYMON TRONCOSO
Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation that would overhaul sex education in Illinois and a measure to decriminalize the transmission of HIV were among several bills that passed the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday.

The committee, following a long and contentious debate, advanced legislation that would require public schools to teach sex ed by July 2023.

Senate Bill 818 and two amendments attached to the bill would mandate schools to include “comprehensive personal health and safety education and comprehensive sexual health education” in the curriculum for the subject.

Introduced by Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago, the legislation would require age-appropriate education for students grades K-12 on the subject of consent among other additions to the sex ed curriculum.

Proponents of the legislation testified that children are most vulnerable to sexual abuse between ages 7 and 13, with the median age of abused minors being 9 years old. By educating children at an early age about appropriate and inappropriate conduct, they have the tools to report to adults when they are suffering from abuse, advocates said.

“Across the country, and of all the children referred to children’s advocacy centers in the state of Illinois, 60 percent of them are younger than 12,” Julia Strehlow, of the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, told lawmakers Wednesday. “The (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) refers to child sexual abuse as a preventable public health problem and Senate Bill 818 would contribute to prevention of this problem.”

The bill also includes educational provisions targeted at students who identify as LGBTQ, students with disabilities and students with children.

Representatives of the Illinois Association of School Boards and the Catholic Conference of Illinois testified against the bill.

Private and charter schools under the state’s Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act, are required to provide education on the prevention, transmission and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.

SB 818 amends the statute that such education would have to be “medically accurate” and “culturally appropriate,” the latter being defined in the bill as affirming of gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and sexual behavior. It also removes the inclusion of abstinence-only education.

“The Catholic faith includes very specific beliefs on human sexuality. We teach these beliefs in our schools,” Zach Wichmann, of the Catholic Conference, said. “It’s part of our Catholic school culture. Any attempt by the state to interfere in this is an unconstitutional violation of the free exercise of religion.”

A coalition representing Catholic, Islamic, Orthodox Judaism and Baptist schools submitted opposition to the bill along the same lines.

The IASB said it didn’t oppose the spirit of the legislation, but the fact that it creates an unfunded mandate for sex education instead of leaving the decision to local districts.

“We have concerns about the growing number of mandates, as well as implementing an entirely new curriculum,” Zach Messersmith, representing IASB, said.

According to Messersmith, school districts would need to hire new faculty or fund more training for staff in order to satisfy the new sex education standards.

Given the state’s flat funding for education, and the ongoing teacher shortage, Messersmith said many school districts would be unable to meet the mandate.

Under the bill, parents can opt their students out of sex education with no penalty to the student by submitting a written objection.

The committee voted to advance SB 818 in an 11-6 vote along partisan lines.

HIV transmission

The Executive Committee also advanced an amendment to House Bill 1063, filed by Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago. It passed through the committee in an 11-4 vote to advance to the Senate floor.

Current Illinois law allows for individuals to be charged with “criminal transmission of HIV,” while also allowing for law enforcement to compel criminal defendants to test for HIV/AIDS in order to determine whether to charge them for the crime.

“Those living with HIV deserve to be able to receive treatment for their condition, and not risk arrest or incarceration,” Peters said in a release Wednesday. “It’s time we end the stigma surrounding sexually transmitted diseases and start treating them like the medical conditions that they are.”

The bill would eliminate the charge from Illinois statute, and would amend the AIDS Confidentiality Act –a statute that protects Illinoisans from having an HIV-positive status disclosed – to remove exemptions for law enforcement from the provision.

Lawmakers in the House voted 90-9 last month to pass the legislation. It now only needs majority support in the Senate to be sent to Gov. JB Pritzker for his signature.

Other legislation advanced by the committee Wednesday includes a provision that allows teachers unions to collectively refuse to go to work due to abnormally dangerous health and safety conditions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and another extending by three years the length lottery funds will go towards Alzheimer’s disease care.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

Joe's Saloon has been remade into Martini's and Nick's. (Supplied photos)

“It’s a Wonderful Life” bars come to Joe’s Saloon in Brookfield

By Steve Metsch Don’t be surprised if you see Clarence the Angel, George Bailey or Mister Potter at Joe’s Saloon in Brookfield on Dec. 3 and 4. People dressed like those and other characters from the holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” will likely be there tipping back a few flaming rum punches. For the…

Stagg’s unified volleyball team was honored for winning a state championship at the November District 230 board meeting. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Teams honored and trainer mourned at SD230 meeting

By Jeff Vorva There was both celebration and sorrow at the Consolidated High School District 230 meeting on Nov. 16. The board recognized a pair of state champions – the Stagg unified volleyball team and the Sandburg Class 3A cross country team. But there was some sadness to the meeting as longtime Sandburg trainer Dave…

Dan Polk said there is a perception that his village is not business friendly. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park looks to improve its image in the business world

By Jeff Vorva Whether the Village of Palos Park allows gaming machines in town or not, it has a problem it wants to address. The village needs to improve its image to the business community. “I think that Palos Park traditionally, for want of a better term, has not particularly been business-friendly,” Commissioner Dan Polk…

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty presents an artist’s drawing to Fire Chief Gordon Nord, Jr. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Lyons dedicates memorial to firefighters on 125th anniversary

By Steve Metsch The more than 500 men and women – many of them volunteers – who have worked for the Lyons Fire Department over the past 125 years will not be forgotten. A red-brick memorial topped with a firefighter’s helmet and sitting outside the fire station, 4043 Joliet Ave., was dedicated on Nov. 28.…

Sandburg’s Chamber Choir dresses festively at the holiday parade in Orland Park. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Parade adds fun to Orland Park holiday festival

By Jeff Vorva Every year, the Village of Orland Park tries to make its holiday celebration bigger and better. This year, officials took on the ambitious project of hosting a parade and more than 30 units stepped off on 151st Street and marched along Ravinia Avenue until they reached Village Hall, the site of various…

As always, the Man in Red is the star of the show at the annual Christmas tree lighting at Wentworth Park, much to the delight of children of all ages. --File photo

Christmas calendar fills up quickly

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Last week, I wrote about two fun Yuletide events sponsored by our friends at the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce: Snack With Santa and the first-ever Archer Avenue Cookie Walk. This week, I’ll write about a few more wonderful things happening right…

CRRNH_AllisonMangan_112421

Roadrunner to become a Badger

 

CRRNH_ClearingNightForce_120121

A quarter century of crime prevention

Celebrating a quarter century of crime prevention in Police Beat 812 (Clearing, west of Central Avenue), 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares (second from left) presents a City Council resolution to leading members of the Clearing Night Force, at a recent CAPS meeting. Pictured with the alderman are (from left) key CNF members John Kurtovitch, Marie…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound PDF December 1, 2021

A moment after ground was broken and tossed, smiles broke out among dignitaries celebrating PODER’s coming renovation. A computer-generated video offering a glimpse of what the new facility will look like is posted at southwestregionalpublishing.com. --Photo courtesy of Jorge Garza Norrick/JorgeTookYourPicture.com

New life for old city building

New PODER HQ to serve immigrants By Tim Hadac Ceremonial ground was broken on the west end of Gage Park last week to mark the coming renovation of a 94-year-old City of Chicago building and creation what is billed as Chicago’s first immigrant integration and job center. A lineup of political and business muscle…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
USALiquidators WebAd
Joe's Saloon has been remade into Martini's and Nick's. (Supplied photos)

“It’s a Wonderful Life” bars come to Joe’s Saloon in Brookfield

By Steve Metsch Don’t be surprised if you see Clarence the Angel, George Bailey or Mister Potter at Joe’s Saloon in Brookfield on Dec. 3 and 4. People dressed like those and other characters from the holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” will likely be there tipping back a few flaming rum punches. For the…

Stagg’s unified volleyball team was honored for winning a state championship at the November District 230 board meeting. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Teams honored and trainer mourned at SD230 meeting

By Jeff Vorva There was both celebration and sorrow at the Consolidated High School District 230 meeting on Nov. 16. The board recognized a pair of state champions – the Stagg unified volleyball team and the Sandburg Class 3A cross country team. But there was some sadness to the meeting as longtime Sandburg trainer Dave…

Dan Polk said there is a perception that his village is not business friendly. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park looks to improve its image in the business world

By Jeff Vorva Whether the Village of Palos Park allows gaming machines in town or not, it has a problem it wants to address. The village needs to improve its image to the business community. “I think that Palos Park traditionally, for want of a better term, has not particularly been business-friendly,” Commissioner Dan Polk…

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty presents an artist’s drawing to Fire Chief Gordon Nord, Jr. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Lyons dedicates memorial to firefighters on 125th anniversary

By Steve Metsch The more than 500 men and women – many of them volunteers – who have worked for the Lyons Fire Department over the past 125 years will not be forgotten. A red-brick memorial topped with a firefighter’s helmet and sitting outside the fire station, 4043 Joliet Ave., was dedicated on Nov. 28.…

Sandburg’s Chamber Choir dresses festively at the holiday parade in Orland Park. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Parade adds fun to Orland Park holiday festival

By Jeff Vorva Every year, the Village of Orland Park tries to make its holiday celebration bigger and better. This year, officials took on the ambitious project of hosting a parade and more than 30 units stepped off on 151st Street and marched along Ravinia Avenue until they reached Village Hall, the site of various…

As always, the Man in Red is the star of the show at the annual Christmas tree lighting at Wentworth Park, much to the delight of children of all ages. --File photo

Christmas calendar fills up quickly

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Last week, I wrote about two fun Yuletide events sponsored by our friends at the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce: Snack With Santa and the first-ever Archer Avenue Cookie Walk. This week, I’ll write about a few more wonderful things happening right…

CRRNH_AllisonMangan_112421

Roadrunner to become a Badger

 

CRRNH_ClearingNightForce_120121

A quarter century of crime prevention

Celebrating a quarter century of crime prevention in Police Beat 812 (Clearing, west of Central Avenue), 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares (second from left) presents a City Council resolution to leading members of the Clearing Night Force, at a recent CAPS meeting. Pictured with the alderman are (from left) key CNF members John Kurtovitch, Marie…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound PDF December 1, 2021

A moment after ground was broken and tossed, smiles broke out among dignitaries celebrating PODER’s coming renovation. A computer-generated video offering a glimpse of what the new facility will look like is posted at southwestregionalpublishing.com. --Photo courtesy of Jorge Garza Norrick/JorgeTookYourPicture.com

New life for old city building

New PODER HQ to serve immigrants By Tim Hadac Ceremonial ground was broken on the west end of Gage Park last week to mark the coming renovation of a 94-year-old City of Chicago building and creation what is billed as Chicago’s first immigrant integration and job center. A lineup of political and business muscle…

DVN Jack Pats Butcher Shop House Ad
CRR NH Rainbow Motel House Ad