Governor still weighing sex-ed bill as both sides pour on pressure

Posted at 7:40 PM, Mar 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-14 17:53:12-04

Governor Gary Herbert says he is weighing the pros and cons of House Bill 363 and has not made a decision about whether to sign the sex education bill into law - or go against the legislature and veto it.

Either way, the governor is facing a tremendous amount of pressure from the public and conservative groups, all the while preparing to mount a reelection campaign.

On Tuesday, the governor unveiled his new campaign headquarters in Murray, describing his focus on the four E’s: economy, education, energy and efficiency. In his speech, he will be touting the state's growing economy under his watch, using the fact the state’s unemployment rate has dropped below the national average.

But under his watch, a contentious issue is growing in regards to the new sex education bill that advocates an abstinence-only curriculum for students in Utah’s public education system.

The legislation has strong support from conservative groups like the Eagle Forum and the Sutherland Institute. But an online petition pressuring the governor to veto the bill has nearly 40,000 signatures. The opposition to the bill have also blasted the governor on Twitter and Facebook.

"I'm listening to people who've got thoughtful arguments, whether they be for or against the bill; we want to hear those people," said the governor. "I'm not going to be driven by the polls, but I certainly want to have input from the people of Utah.

Opponents of the bill will hold a rally at the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m.

The governor says sometime early next week a final decision will be made on whether he will veto or sign the sex-ed bill into law.