The House on Tuesday voted to approve a bill that would require school districts to provide sex ed classes to all students, even if that means teachers are paid to teach them.
The measure would allow sex ed to be provided in private schools, although it also requires the states to provide it in public schools.
It’s a significant shift from the last legislative session, when the Senate rejected the bill in a party-line vote.
The bill was introduced by Republican Rep. Bill Posey of Florida, who was one of the only lawmakers to support the measure.
“I don’t know how we can teach the best behavior in a culture that’s so hostile to the idea of sex and family and love,” Posey said in a statement.
“This legislation is designed to help protect the integrity of our public schools.”
Democrats also voted to advance the measure in a 48-47 vote, a result that prompted a swift backlash on social media.
“It’s like the government is trying to make schools into sex-ed schools,” tweeted Republican Rep.
“Beware the Republicans, they’re making sex ed mandatory for kids,” tweeted Democratic Rep..
The House voted for the bill by a vote of 419-0.
“Schools should be teaching the best, safest, most responsible way to love and protect children, not mandating sex ed,” Posei said in the statement.
The Republican-led House voted in January to block the use of the federal money for sex ed, and in April the Trump administration blocked states from funding the federal programs.
The Trump administration also blocked the use in states that require it.
“If states do not have the money to fund these programs, the federal government will stop funding these programs,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in May.
In a statement after the vote, Posey noted that sex ed was already provided in schools and said, “We must protect our kids from the harmful consequences of this kind of bullying and harassment.”
But many Democrats, including Posey, said the new bill was unnecessary and could lead to the loss of funding for public schools that do not offer sex ed.
“The Trump administration is trying its best to take away this federal money from the states, but the American people have spoken, and this is the result,” Poseh said in his statement.