BOSTON — After an eight-week recess, the state Senate will spring back to life next week when it plans to take up two pieces of legislation concerning school breakfast for low-income students and comprehensive sex education, which has been a controversial topic in recent years and one that has stalled out despite significant legislative support.

Senators on Thursday teed up the two bills for debate next Thursday in what will be the branch's first substantive session since it broke for the holidays in late November.

While the Senate Ways and Means Committee is expected to release new versions of both bills Friday, the topics should be familiar to most lawmakers, including those in the Senate where similar legislation has passed in previous sessions.

The "Healthy Youth" bill (S 2399) would require all public school districts that offer sex education to ensure that their program teaches "medically accurate and age-appropriate" information, including LGBTQ-inclusive material and discussion of consent and healthy relationships.

Under the bill, schools would teach both the benefits of abstinence and delaying sexual activity as well as the importance of using contraceptives to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

The curriculum would also instruct on how to effectively practice safe sex and help students develop the relationship and communication skills they will need to form respectful relationships free of violence or coercion.

The bill's lead Senate sponsor, Assistant Majority Leader Sal DiDomenico, has called it "common sense for our kids to make good decisions," but the bill has run up against opposition from conservative groups who don't think that state government should mandate what local schools teach children about sex.

The Massachusetts Family Institute has objected to what it believes will be some options taught to respond to unwanted pregnancies, and argues that local communities should be able to decide what to teach.

The proposal requires districts to notify parents and guardians about the course offering and allow them to withdraw their child from sex education without penalty. Parents would be allowed to inspect the program materials before the start of the course.

Despite the bill dying in each of the last two sessions in the House, Speaker Robert DeLeo has said it is on his radar and he was looking forward this session to seeing the latest version.

"There are some of my colleagues who are still skittish about this issue. It blows my mind. But it is what it is," West Boylston Democrat Rep. Jim O'Day said last year before the legislation died without ever coming up for a vote in the House.

More than 70 House lawmakers co-sponsored last session's bill, and 97 representatives have signed on to the version of the bill filed this session by former representative and Melrose Mayor Paul Brodeur and O'Day (H 410).

The Senate next Thursday also plans to take up a bill (H 4218) that passed the House just prior to the winter break that would require all schools with at least 60 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals to offer breakfast to all students after the instructional day begins.

Known as the "Breakfast After the Bell," the bill has been another priority for DiDomenico and one that supporters say will improve the learning of students who don't always know where they'll get their next meal.

The Rise & Shine Coalition, led by the Greater Boston Food Bank, has said the legislation would require more than 600 public schools to offer breakfast after the start of the school day.

The House passed the school breakfast bill unanimously on Nov. 20.

The Senate on Thursday voted to set a deadline of Monday at 5 p.m. for senators to file amendments to either bill once they are released by Senate Ways and Means.

House leaders have not signaled when they'll resume consideration of significant legislative matters in 2020.

State House News Service staffer Sam Doran contributed reporting.

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