October 27,2011
Republicans Forgo Job Creation Efforts to Push Divisive Youth Disinformation Bill
Madison – By ignoring public input and refusing to compromise today on legislation that seeks to deny Wisconsin’s young adults vital health care information, Republicans in the Senate Committee on Education proved they are more interested in inserting extreme ideology into Wisconsin’s public schools than fostering job growth in our state.
“Today, Republicans again went to their dry well of divisive ideology rather than working to turn our economic direction around,” said Sen. Chris Larson (D–Milwaukee). “I don’t understand why they continue to do the same things over and over again, but expect different results.”
Since Republicans took control of the Legislature and governor’s office, nearly 14,000 more Wisconsinites are unemployed, raising the state’s unemployment rate to nearly 8 percent. Unfortunately, it seems that the governor and his rubberstamp legislators expect these problems to fix themselves as their focus appears to remain on ideology instead of jobs.
The Senate Committee on Education held an executive session today on Senate Bill 237, legislation that would overturn the Healthy Youth Act, which ensures that all young adults in Wisconsin have access to comprehensive, age appropriate, and medically accurate human growth and development classes. Statistics show that comprehensive sex education is valued by a vast majority of Wisconsinites. According to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, approximately 87 percent of Wisconsin voters support requiring comprehensive sex education instruction that includes information about both abstinence and contraception.
The positive impact of the Healthy Youth Act on Wisconsin's young adults is already evident in Milwaukee. According to the Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee's teen birthrate has dropped dramatically for the second year in a row, from 46.73 births per 1,000 teens in 2008 to 35.68 births per 1,000 teens in 2010.
Sen. Larson and his democratic colleagues introduced amendments to improve Senate Bill 237. These amendments would have maintained the definition of “medically accurate” found in current law, allowed medical professionals to speak to our children about the facts of reproductive health and their bodies, and require school districts to keep parents informed on the program chosen whether it is abstinence-only, comprehensive sex education or no program at all.
“Republicans continue to turn their backs on the voices and values of Wisconsin,” said Sen. Larson. “We need to be working on bills that will actually create jobs and decrease our unemployment rate, rather than rushing through fringe legislation to keep Wisconsin’s young adults in the dark on sexual health.”