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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey faces a deadline Tuesday to sign or veto legislation revamping the state’s sex education laws that would make them some of the strictest in the nation when it comes to teaching about LGBTQ issues.

The proposed law would prohibit all discussions about gender identity, sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS in sex education classes unless parents are notified in advance and specifically opt in for the instruction.

The proposal applies outside of sex ed classes as well, requiring parents to agree to have their children learn about historical events such as a discussion of the modern gay rights movement that sprang from the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York.

It also bans any sex ed classes before 5th grade, which opponents have said will put young students who now learn about “good touch-bad touch” to avoid molestation at greater risk.

Ducey has not indicated whether he will sign or veto the legislation. When asked last year about a similar proposal that would have barred sex education before 7th grade but never reached is desk, he responded that he was comfortable with what his sons were taught in Arizona schools when they were younger and had talked with them about it.

“I don’t know exactly what the problem is we’re trying to solve,” he said of the 2020 proposal.

Social conservative groups that backed the measure call it a needed parental rights issue, arguing that parents deserve to know and approve of what their children are taught in school. Arizona currently allows parents to review all learning material and already requires an opt-in for sex ed classes.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled Legislation over unified opposition from Democrats, who called it an attack on LGBTQ students who are already marginalized and dangerous to young students.

The legislation comes two years after the Republican governor signed a repeal of a 1991 law banning HIV/AIDS instruction that “promotes a homosexual lifestyle.” That bill emerged as the state faced a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law that the Republican attorney general and Democratic schools chief refused to fight.

Arizona is among several Republican-led states where lawmakers considered similar changes to sex education this year.

Moving to give parents more control over what their children may be taught about LGBTQ issues is new. It comes amid other efforts pushing back on social changes, including legislation in some states to ban transgender athletes

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 from competing on school teams of their identified sex, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights group that tracks such legislation.

Arizona is one of five states that already require parents’ permission before children can attend sex education classes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The new proposal would essentially require a double opt-in for HIV/AIDS instruction that addresses sexual orientation or gender identity. Additional permission would be needed for LGBTQ discussions in any other class.

Idaho legislation also would require notifications and opt-ins, including for discussion of sexual orientation outside of sex education classes. It has passed the House and awaits Senate action.

Lawmakers in Tennessee enacted a measure the governor pledged to sign and the Missouri Legislature is considering one that would require parents to be notified before instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity but would exclude historical references.

In Montana, the Legislature passed a bill earlier this month initially aimed at requiring parents to opt in to sex education. But the legislation was changed after criticism from education groups. It now allows parents to opt their children out of sex ed and awaits action by Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte.

Advocates for comprehensive sex education say such legislation can have far-reaching negative effects under the guise of parental rights by limiting fact-based education that young people need to stay safe.

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VIDEO: Manhunt Ongoing After Shooting in Times Square

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Three people were hospitalized Saturday evening after a shooting in Times Square left the youngest victim, a 4-year-old girl, injured and started the NYPD on a manhunt for the gunman responsible.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea confirmed at an evening press conference that the three victims were unintended targets of the shooter and were not related to one another.
Shots were fired right around 5 p.m. after a reported dispute between a group of men, Shea explained. Nearby witnesses told police the men were arguing when one pulled out a gun and started shooting, striking the innocent bystanders.

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Uniformed officers were near the scene of the shooting – W 44th Street and 7th Avenue – when shots rang out. People in the area were advised to expect delays as police closed off 7th Avenue between 45th and 43rd Streets.

“The first person shot is a 4-year-old female from Brooklyn. She was shot in the leg and it is believed she is undergoing surgery,” Shea said. He later added that the girl was shopping for toys with her family at the time of the shooting.

“How many kids have to be shot before we take this seriously? We just had a 1-year-old homicide cleared this week,” Shea said, referencing the arrest of two Brooklyn gang members for the summer 2020 shooting that killed the baby boy who had been sitting in his stroller during a family cookout.

Mayor Bill de Blasio reacted to the shooting on Twitter, stating he was glad the victims were in stable condition.

“The perpetrators of this senseless violence are being tracked down and the NYPD will bring them to justice,” he tweeted. “The flood of illegal guns into our city must stop.”

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DeSantis announces $1,000 bonuses to Florida first responders: ‘We’re funding the police and then some’ 

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FloridaGov. Ron DeSantis announced that his state would be rewarding the police and other first responders with $1,000 bonuses for doing their lifesaving work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

DeSantis made the announcement Wednesday, flanked by first responders and members of law enforcement during a news conference in front of the Satellite Beach Police Department.

During the event he also announced he would sign the state’s budget.

The police officers surrounding the governor applauded DeSantis for the move, which he said would fund the police “and then some,” throwing sand in the face of progressives who want to defund law enforcement.

“I asked the legislature in this legislative session, we need to do bonuses for law enforcement,” DeSantis said. “Some wanted to defund the police, we’re funding the police, and then some.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody — whose husband is a Drug Enforcement Administration agent — also weighed in on Twitter, lauding DeSantis and the Florida legislature for the bonuses.

“Amazing news on this greatly deserved bonus for our first responders and law enforcement officers!” Moody wrote on Twitter.

“Thank you, [DeSantis], [Florida state Senate] and [Florida House of Representatives] for prioritizing the men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving and protecting our state,” she added.

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Satellite Beach Police Chief and president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association gave kudosto DeSantis for his “unwavering” support of police and first responders.

“With your strong and consistent leadership, law enforcement can count on you […],” Pearson said. “And most importantly, the people of Florida can count on you.”

The $1,000 payments will be doled out to every first responder who continued their work through the coronavirus pandemic — including firefighters, EMTs and the aforementioned police — in a one-time payment.

DeSantis’ announcement comes as progressives continue to pound the drum calling for the defunding of police following the murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

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Republicans demand answers from CDC about emails with teachers union 

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House Republicans ​are demanding the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain its relationship with teachers unions — and whether they have influenced its guidance on school reopenings — following a report in The Post.

The top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee pointed to The Post’s report from Saturday that showed a flurry of email exchanges among CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, her top advisers and union officials, suggesting that the American Federation of Teachers weighed in on the federal agency’s school opening guidelines released in February. 
The emails “raise significant concerns about whether you, as the Director of the CDC, are putting politics over science and Biden-Harris campaign donors over children,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers​ (R-Wash.) wrote​ Wednesday​ ​in a letter ​to Walensky obtained first by Fox News.“Such revelations also raise serious questions as to whether you are honoring your pledge to ensure CDC guidance is evidence-based and free from politics​,” she continued.

Rodgers, ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote the letter with Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), who are also members of the panel that oversees health care matters. 
The letter said the emails “shed new light on your public about-face” on whether schools can reopen safely without teachers being vaccinated.
The Post obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request by the watchdog group Americans for the Public Trust. 

They reveal back-and-forth conversations between the CDC officials, AFT president Randi Weingarten and Biden administration officials leading up to the February release of the guidance.

Following the exchanges, the CDC released the guidelines that included two instances of language “suggestions” offered by the union adopted nearly verbatim in the final text. 

“The AFT’s priority is not focused on getting kids back to school, despite studies showing, with appropriate measures in place, in-person learning is safe,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, as the Director of the CDC, your decisions should be guided by science, not political interest groups.”

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The three Republicans want answers about the communications involving the CDC, the AFT and the National Education Association and whether those exchanges influenced the guidelines.

They also claim the “CDC was not forthcoming” ​with the committee when it asked for names of stakeholders engaged by the CDC in preparation for the guidelines.

The CDC ​said its conversations were routine.

“As part of long-standing best practices, CDC has traditionally engaged with organizations and groups that are impacted by guidance and recommendations issued by the agency,” Jason McDonald, a spokesman for Walensky, told The Post.

“We do so to ensure our recommendations are feasible to implement and they adequately address the safety and wellbeing of individuals the guidance is aimed to protect. These informative and helpful interactions often result in beneficial feedback that we consider in our final revisions to ensure clarity and usability,” he said.

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