Bills involving sex education curriculum, nonbinary gender identification and student nutrition began moving in the Senate Ways and Means Committee Friday, ahead of an expected formal Senate session next week.

Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues asked committee members to vote on the trio of redrafted bills by 10:30 a.m. via an electronic poll. 

One bill (S 2282) would allow people over 18 or the parents of a minor to request to change the sex listed on a birth record to a nonbinary “X” option as well as male or female, and would enshrine in law a requirement that the Registry of Motor Vehicles allow those applying for driver’s licenses or ID cards to select “X” as their gender.

The RMV began offering the neutral gender designation in 2019, the same year the Senate passed a similar bill on a 39-1 vote.

The Senate has also previously passed the sex education bill (S 2495), which supporters call the Healthy Youth Act, most recently by a 33-2 vote last year.

The bill does not mandate that schools teach sex education, but would require that those doing so use curriculum that provides medically accurate and age-appropriate information, including LGBTQ-inclusive material and discussion of consent, while allowing parents to opt their children out.

The nutrition bill is the Senate’s version of legislation (H 3999) the House passed in July. It provides protections for students with unpaid school meal debt and would require schools serving certain percentages of economically disadvantaged students to enroll in a federal program that provides free breakfast and lunch to students. 

(Copyright (c) 2024 State House News Service.

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