Rep. Marcus McEntire, of Duncan, introduced a bill to help combat HIV/AIDS numbers that met zero opponents during its reading and passed the Common Education committee Tuesday.
House Bill 1018, which will have no fiscal impact, was created to further provide “age-appropriate instruction of HIV/AIDS and related issues” and if successfully passed, it will require the instruction at least once during the grades 5-6, at least once during grades 7-9 and at least once during grades 10-12.
Analysis of the bill shows if passed, it will direct State Department of Education to make available “medically accurate curriculum, however, school districts possess the option to create their own curriculum provided, the
curriculum is approved for medical accuracy by the State Department of Health.”
McEntire said the updating of curriculum is most important because as of right now, it is 32-years-old and language and other information may be outdated. The bill passed the Common Education Committee with 15 yes votes and zero no votes.
“In 1987, the legislature mandated AIDS education in public schools in response to the increase in AIDS outbreaks. There is little doubt education has made a huge impact on lowering the numbers of HIV/AIDS cases,” McEntire said. “HB1018 simply modernizes the curriculum to reflect the changes in scientific discovery, medicine and research. The bill emphasizes abstinence and allows parents to opt-out their children from the curriculum. There is no increase of financial burden to school districts. In short, schools already teach HIV education, this bill will just update this instruction with modern understanding of HIV and with up-to-date data and research. This curriculum needs to be updated because it is 32 years old.”
The same night the bill left the committee, President Donald Trump called for ending HIV Transmissions by 2030.
“I was pleasantly surprised last night when President Trump called for ending HIV transmissions by 2030,” McEntire said. “HB1018 will help by educating children about the risks and hopefully keep some children from making unnecessary and unhealthy choices. This bill will also have an impact on the increases of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea we are seeing in Oklahoma. Our kids must be armed with accurate information.”
For more information on the bill, or any other bills going through the legislative process, visit oklegislature.gov/BasicSearchForm.aspx.