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Bill That Would Change California Elementary Sex Ed From Opt-Out To Opt-In Fails Committee Vote

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Supporters of a bill that would change sex education in California rallied at the State Capitol ahead of a crucial committee vote on Wednesday.

The bill was authored by State Sen. Mike Morrell, a Republican from Rancho Cucamonga.

Supporters of SB 673 say the legislation would allow parents to thoroughly review what their children are being taught. They say parents would also be able to access the materials online and that some districts already have similar policies in place.

"Over the last two years, I've heard from parents all over our state who have voiced concerns about the content of the new sex education curriculum," Sen. Morrell said in a video statement on the bill. "They've shared with me their view that much of what's available for young students is unsuitable and indecent."

The bill would also require that students through 6th grade need permission slips for sex ed.

However, opponents of the bill – like the California Women's Law Center – argue that SB 673 would change sex ed for elementary school students from an opt-out to an onerous opt-in process.

"By requiring opt-in consent for grades six and under, SB 673 runs counter to best practices and medical evidence," the California Women's Law Center wrote in an open letter when the bill was introduced last year.

"Broad research supports age-appropriate sexual health education in lower grades and shows that early sexual health education lays a foundation for instruction on more complex and developmentally advanced topics in higher grades," the center added.

Nearly 47,000 people have signed an online petition in support of the bill.

Faith leaders, parents and other supporters spoke at the at times contentious hearing later Wednesday morning.

However, the bill failed to move on, garnering just a 5-2 vote with all Democrats on the committee opposing.

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