Healthy Youth Act

An Act relative to healthy youth - H.544 - S.268

  • Ensures that a comprehensive sex education curriculum is taught in public schools

  • Mandates education about consent, healthy relationships, and gender affirmation in sexual education curricula

The Healthy Youth Act is a common sense bill that reflects the consensus of the vast majority of MA residents. The bill's core provision is simple: it will require any public school that already chooses to teach sex ed to provide medically accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive sexual health education. It rests on three key pillars:

  1. Sex ed should be accurate and age-appropriate. In every other subject, we require that our schools teach students factual information that matches their grade level. We don't expect kindergarteners to learn calculus - and we certainly don't teach them that one and one add up to three. Sex education should be no different.
  2. Sex ed should be consent-based. Given what we know about the rates of domestic violence and sexual assault among teenagers, it's critical we teach them the skills to advocate for themselves and recognize unhealthy patterns. When the first time a student learns about consent is college, we're reaching them far too late to prevent the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses. That's why the bill requires that courses cover the "relationship and communication skills" necessary to "form healthy, respectful relationships free of violence, coercion, and intimidation and to make healthy decisions about relationships and sexuality, including, but not limited to, affirmative, conscious and voluntary consent."
  3. Sex ed should be LGBTQ+ inclusive.  When 81% of LGBTQ+ students in our state report that their schools' health classes did not cover the tools and information that they need to stay safe and healthy as LGBTQ+ people, we have to face the reality that we are simply failing these teens.  At best, most LGBTQ+ youth can expect health classes that teach them irrelevant information about the health risks or body parts involved in sex and overlook forms of protection they deserve to know about.  At worst, these students are often taught misleading, stigmatizing information about LGBTQ+ topics that can negatively impact both their mental and sexual health. That's why the bill will require health classes to cover "age-appropriate information about gender identity and sexual orientation for all students, including affirmative education that people have different sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions", as well as to provide students with information about LGBTQ+-friendly resources and support services.

the decision makers

Senate Committee on Ways and Means

Who on committee has co-sponsored:

state senators:

Michael Rodriguesred x
Michael Rodrigues (D)

chair

Cindy Friedmangreen check
Cindy Friedman (D)
Arlington

chair

Joanne Comerfordgreen check
Joanne Comerford (D)
Northampton
Michael Bradyred x
Michael Brady (D)
Brockton
John Croninred x
John Cronin (D)
Lydia Edwardsgreen check
Lydia Edwards (D)
Boston
Paul Feeneygreen check
Paul Feeney (D)
Foxborough
Anne Gobired x
Anne Gobi (D)
Spencer
Adam Gomezgreen check
Adam Gomez (D)
Patricia Jehlengreen check
Patricia Jehlen (D)
Somerville
John Keenangreen check
John Keenan (D)
Quincy
Jason Lewisgreen check
Jason Lewis (D)
Winchester
Liz Mirandagreen check
Liz Miranda (D)
Boston
Michael Mooregreen check
Michael Moore (D)
Millbury
Michael Rushred x
Michael Rush (D)
Rush
Patrick O'Connorred x
Patrick O'Connor (R)
Weymouth
Ryan Fattmanred x
Ryan Fattman (R)
Sutton
Bruce Tarrred x
Bruce Tarr (R)
Gloucester

Who has co-sponsored:

History of the bill

2025

Feb 2024

Redrafted as S.2686 and reported favorably by Senate Ways and Means Committee; Senate schedules a vote for 2/29/2024

Feb 2024

Bill reported favorably by committee and referred to the committee on Senate Ways and Means

2024

Oct 2023

Hearing held by the Joint Committee on Education

Feb 2023

Referred to the Joint Committee on Education

Jan 2023

Bill reintroduced as H.544/S.268

Jan 2023

No further action taken by House Ways and Means

2023

Sep 2021

Referred to House Ways and Means

Sep 2021

Senate adopts S.2541 38-1

Sep 2021

Passes in the Senate as S.2495, referred to House Ways & Means

Sep 2021

Senate Ways and Means reported favorably with an amendment as S.2534 and referred to Senate Rules Committee

Jul 2021

Re-drafted as S.2495, reported favorably by Education Committee and referred to Senate Ways and Means

May 2021

Hearing held by Education Committee

Mar 2021

Referred to House Committee on Education

Jan 2021

Bill filed again, as H.673

Jan 2021

Re-filed as H.673

2021

Dec 2020

Sent to study

Jan 2020

Passes in the Senate as S.2459, 33-2

2020

Jan 2019

Bill filed again, as H.410

2019

Jul 2018

No further action taken by House Ways and Means

Jun 2018

Reported favorably by Health Care Financing committee, sent to House Ways & Means

2018

May 2017

Reported favorably by the Education Committee, sent to Committee on Health Care Financing

Jan 2017

Bill filed again as H.2053

2017

Sep 2016

Sent to study

2016

Sep 2015

Education favorably reports, sends to Health Care Financing committee

Jan 2015

Filed again as H.448

2015

Jul 2014

No further action taken by House Ways and Means

2014

Nov 2013

Favorably reported from Education committee, referred to Ways & Means

Jan 2013

Bill filed again as H.450

2013

May 2012

sent to study

2012

Jan 2011

Bill filed as H.1063

2011

Advocacy Organizations

Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts
Healthy Youth Act Coalition

Massachusetts Healthy Youth Consortium

MassEquality
NASW MA