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Kansas sex ed, fluoride bills run into trouble

Updated: 2014-02-25T02:38:18Z

The Associated Press

— Two Kansas House committees reacted harshly Monday to highly publicized bills dealing with fluoride and sex education.

One committee tabled a measure requiring cities and other local governments to warn the public if they put fluoride in their water supplies. Committee chairman David Crum said the 10-2 vote means the anti-fluoride bill is dead.

The measure has been condemned by public health officials and the Kansas Dental Association. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year called fluoridation of water “one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”

But the bill says fluoride is dangerous and would require local governments to warn people if they fluoridate water — and to warn that it might lower children’s IQs.

Anti-fluoride activist Mark Gietzen said supporters of the bill will try to get action in the Senate.

A different committee made significant changes to a so-called “opt-in” proposal on sex education, which would have mandated parental action before students could receive sex education in Kansas public schools.

Now the proposal requires written consent before students would be withheld from classes. A final vote is expected Tuesday.

The original proposal was suggested after a Johnson County student reported that suggestive material was posted on a classroom door that her parents had expressly forbid her to receive in school.

Legislators said Monday they understood parental concerns but think some students who need sex education won’t receive proper information any other place.

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