EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

New bill bans adult-led discussion on sexual orientation, gender identity for Utah’s K-3 students

Feb 23, 2023, 5:15 PM | Updated: 7:40 pm

Rep. Jeffrey D. Steinquist speaks to KSL NewsRadio Thursday at the Utah State Capitol. Photo credit...

Rep. Jeffrey D. Steinquist speaks to KSL NewsRadio Thursday at the Utah State Capitol. Photo credit: Lindsay Aerts, KSL NewsRadio.

SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill in Utah’s legislature would ban adult-led “discussions or instructions” on sexual orientation and gender identity for Utah’s school kids younger than third grade.

Last year Florida banned similar conversations and Disney World threatened to leave the state over it.

H.B. 550 has similar language.

The bill aims to ensure that “[local schools] classroom instruction or discussion that an educator or other adult leads on sexuality, including sexual orientation or gender identity…[does not occur]…in kindergarten through grade three, or in a manner that is not age or developmentally appropriate.”

New bill not modeled after Florida, lawmaker says

“I didn’t look at the Florida bill or try to model after the Florida bill,” said the bill’s sponsor Rep. Jeff Stenquist (R-Draper). “I just tried to model it after something that was common sense.”

Stenquist said he wanted to run H.B. 550 after a woman in his district came to him about an educator discussing topics with her child in school “that she felt were a little inappropriate.” He later brought it to legislative drafters.

“They said [Utah] doesn’t really have this spelled out, they did say well there is language that Florida used, they mentioned that, but I didn’t say ‘let’s do what Florida did,’ that was never my intention.”

Equality Utah’s response

Equality Utah called the bill “worrisome and unnecessary.”

“It appears Rep. Stenquist has copy and pasted Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill,” said Executive Director Troy Williams. “Utah schools don’t teach sexual orientation or gender identity in K-3. Also, the Utah legislature already overturned a ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law in 2017 with a near unanimous vote.”

He added, “the only purpose this bill will accomplish is to inflame the culture wars with another exhaustive attack on LGBTQ children.”

Stenquist said the purpose of H.B. 550 is to “give educators guidelines” around sensitive topics.

“When there are topics discussed in schools of sexuality [or] gender identity, things like that, that it simply be age appropriate discussion. That’s really the essence of the bill.”

It’s not clear if H.B. will even be heard in the legislature. As of Thursday afternoon it had yet to be assigned to a committee.

Read more: School choice bill is “limiting” public schools, UEA president says

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Education + Schools

A lone American flag waves in the morning breeze Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2002, at the Bonneville Salt F...

Allessandra Harris

Water may be the solution to saving the salt flats

With the Bonneville Salt Flats eroding, newly discovered research may have found a way to save them.

2 days ago

utah capitol pictured, a new law centers adoption legal expenses open records utah...

Curt Gresseth

Bill creating Utah AI lab advances, would test tech, prevent missteps

SB 149 would create an AI lab and test technology while protecting the public in Utah.

3 days ago

The block U appears on the University of Utah, the school will no longer require sat or act scores...

Heather Peterson

University of Utah indefinitely pauses SAT and ACT admissions requirements

The University of Utah paused its SAT and ACT requirements two years ago, but the policy has now been extended indefinitely.

3 days ago

Shane Romano and Sami Sowers take a rest in the shade at Sunnyside Park in Salt Lake City, Tuesday,...

Mark Jackson

SLC Council considering proposal to lease section of neighborhood park to University of Utah

SLC Council is considering a proposal to lease a little over an acre of Sunnyside Park to the University of Utah for a new baseball stadium.

4 days ago

school bus is snowy, cache county school district apologized for not having a snow day...

Jessica Lowell

Cache County School District apologizes for not holding a snow day

The Cache County School District decided to hold a regular school day on Tuesday despite weather conditions. 

4 days ago

utah senate shown, microschools in utah getting new regulations...

Heather Peterson

Bill regulating microschools in Utah heads to governor’s desk

Microschools in Utah would be treated more like a business and less like a school under a proposed law.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

New bill bans adult-led discussion on sexual orientation, gender identity for Utah’s K-3 students