Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown signs sex ed mandate, ‘yes means yes’ for high school students

A health educator with the County of Sacramento opens a packet that includes condoms and information to get tested for SDTs during a public health fair at Sacramento State on April 12, 2011
A health educator with the County of Sacramento opens a packet that includes condoms and information to get tested for SDTs during a public health fair at Sacramento State on April 12, 2011 lsterling@sacbee.com

California students will need to take sexual education courses unless their parents explicitly have them exempted under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday.

While most school districts offer sexual education courses, participation is currently voluntary. Assembly Bill 329 would change that, saying students can only skip the classes with parental consent. It will also update instruction relating to HIV and require educators talk about the range of gender identities.

Another education bill earning Brown’s signature, Senate Bill 695, would compel school districts that mandate health classes as a condition of graduation to include material about sexual harassment and violence, including the “yes means yes” standard of affirmative consent.

Students could also learn about mass deportations to Mexico during the Great Depression thanks to Brown signing Assembly Bill 146, which will have the State Board of Education consider the topic when devising history and social science curricula.

Brown vetoed Assembly Bill 267, which would compel courts to inform defendants about the consequences of pleading guilty to a felony. They can include being barred from owning a firearm, joining the military, serving on a jury and receiving some types of government aid.

“I believe ensuring adequate consideration of the various consequences of a criminal conviction prior to a guilty plea is the responsibility of the defendant’s counsel,” Brown wrote in his veto message.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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