Updates to Previous SIECUS State Policies Coverage: California and Hawaii


California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 967 into law on September 28, 2014. This is the nation’s first “affirmative consent” law.[1] In late August 2014, the California State Legislature passed SB 967, requiring college students to obtain “affirmative consent” before engaging in sexual activity. The bill aimed to diminish the number of sexual assaults on campuses—and was sent to the desk of the governor to be signed before the end of the state legislative session on September 30, 2014.

SB 967 Sponsor, State Senator Kevin De Leon, spoke about the legislation as a beginning of a paradigm shift for sexual assault prevention and investigative efforts on California college campuses. Senator De Leon released a statement saying, “the State of California will not allow schools to sweep rape cases under the rug. We’ve shifted the conversation regarding sexual assault to one of prevention, justice, and healing.”[2] See previous coverage of this state update for full details.


The Hawaii State Department of Education announced its approval of the Pono Choices sexuality education curriculum on September 4, 2014 for continued use by public middle schools.[3] The approval follows two suspensions and reviews of the curriculum, in late 2013 and again in June 2014, in which major changes took place.

Pono Choices, created as a “culturally responsive” curriculum aimed to reduce teen pregnancies and prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), has been under fire since last year’s special legislative session. In order to address public concerns, the Department of Education asked the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Center on Disability Studies, the developer of the curriculum, to revise Pono Choices based on the recommendations of a stakeholder review panel. The review resulted in a total of 10 changes—including no longer classifying the anus as genitalia, including new emphasis on the dangers of unprotected anal sex, and eliminating language about condom effectiveness rates. The Department of Education also changed its policy to require parents to opt their children into any sexuality education instruction.[4] See previous coverage of this state update for full details. SIECUS also covered the initial community controversy here.

[1] Adam Chandler, “Where Yes Means Yes: California Passes First Affirmative Consent Law,” The Wire, September 29, 2014, accessed October 2, 2014, http://www.thewire.com/national/2014/09/where-yes-means-yes-california-passes-first-affirmative-consent-law/380890/.

[2] “California Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Nation’s First Affirmative Consent Standard Into Law,” Associated Press, September 29, 2014, accessed October 2, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/29/california-affirmative-consent-law_n_5899386.html?&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067.

[3] Nanea Kalani, “Pono Choices sex ed program revised, ready for middle school,” Honolulu Star Advertiser, September 4, 2014, accessed October 2, 2014, http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/20140904_Pono_Choices_sex_ed_program_revised_ready_for_middle_school.html?id=274024491.

[4] Ibid.