SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Governor Gary Herbert spoke openly about his decision to veto a controversial abstinence or nothing sex-education bill during his monthly news conference Thursday at the KUED studios located on the University of Utah campus. Herbert said the legislature went too far, and “at the end of the day, I determined this was an overreach” when it removed parental choice, and “was not good policy going forward for the people of Utah.”
Until the news conference, Herbert communicated information about his decision through press releases and his staff. On Thursday, he said HB363 was a solution in search of a problem, and that the current program stresses abstinence and forces parents to proactively opt-in to the program. Herbert maintains 95 percent of parents want their kids to participate in sex education classes, and changing the status quo to a very limited curriculum would take away that choice.
Herbert also revealed that he discussed his decision with bill sponsor Representative Bill Wright-R, Holden, Senate President Michael Whaddoups-R, Taylorsville, and House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart-R, Provo. Herbert did not talk about his decision with Senate sponsor Margaret Dayton-R, Orem. Dayton said she was disappointed that she had not discussed the bill with Herbert, because she believes teaching children about birth control is like telling kids not to use drugs and then showing them how to use heroin.
More than 40,000 signed an on-line petition urging the governor to veto the bill. He also received more than 8,000 phone calls and emails with the overwhelming majority in favor of stopping the bill. The governor raised a few eyebrows when he decided to veto the bill around 7 p.m. on the night after Utah Republicans held their political caucuses to elect delegates to the state convention.
The news conference, “an unedited exchange between reporters and Governor Gary Herbert” will air on KUED Channel 7 on Sunday, April 1 at 5:30 p.m.
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Source: KUED, Fox 13 News, Governor Gary Herbert, Salt Lake Tribune, Utah Legislature