Signatures submitted for Washington initiative to allow parents to review educational materials and opt child out of sexual-health education

Let’s Go Washington, a committee sponsoring six citizen-initiated ballot measures for 2024, submitted signatures for a second initiative—Initiative 2081—on Dec. 12. State Rep. Jim Walsh (R-19) sponsors the six initiatives, along with Let’s Go Washington.

Initiative 2081 would allow parents to review educational materials, receive certain notifications, and opt their children out of sexual health education. Under Initiative 2081, parents would also be permitted to:

  • review textbooks, curriculum, and supplemental materials used in their child’s classroom;
  • inspect and receive a copy of their child’s records within 10 days of a written request;
  • receive prior notification of medical services offered to their child, except in emergencies;
  • be informed about any medical services or medications provided to their child with potential financial impact;
  • be notified of medical treatment arranged by the school resulting in follow-up care beyond normal hours;
  • be notified of criminal actions involving or committed by their child;
  • be notified if law enforcement questions their child, except in cases of parental abuse or neglect accusations;
  • be notified if their child is taken from school without parental permission;
  • be assured that the school will not discriminate against their child based on sincerely held religious beliefs;
  • opt-out students from certain surveys, assignments, and instructional topics, including those related to sexuality;
  • receive the annual school calendar and be notified of any revisions; and
  • receive information on required fees, dress code, and academic performance threatening promotion.

Sponsors reported submitting 423,399 signatures on Dec. 12. At least 324,516 signatures need to be valid.

The initiative is an indirect initiated state statute, known as an Initiative to the Legislature in Washington. If enough signatures are verified, the initiative will be presented to the state legislature at the 2024 legislative session, which begins in January. The legislature has three options:

(1) The legislature can adopt an Initiative to the Legislature, in which case the initiative is enacted into law without a vote of electors;

(2) The legislature can reject or not act on the initiative, in which case the initiative is placed on the ballot at the next state general election; or

(3) The legislature can approve an alternative to the proposed initiative, in which case both the original proposal and the legislative alternative are placed on the ballot at the next state general election.

On Nov. 21, Let’s Go Washington submitted signatures for Initiative 2117, which was designed to prohibit carbon tax credit trading and repeal provisions of the 2021 Washington Climate Commitment Act (CCA), a state law that provided for a cap-and-invest program designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 95% by 2050.

Each of the four other initiatives that the committee is circulating also require 324,516 valid signatures by Dec. 29.

Since 1914, Washington citizens have filed 1,728 Initiatives to the Legislature, of which, six were enacted by the state legislature and 32 were certified for the ballot. Of the 32 measures on the ballot, 17 (53%) were approved and 15 (47%) were rejected.

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