Voter advocacy group Let’s Go Washington made a significant move on Tuesday afternoon by delivering over 420,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office in Tumwater. This action aims to qualify Initiative 2081 for the 2024 ballot.
Parents and guardians have been granted certain rights and privileges under I-2081. This initiative aims to give them the ability to review educational materials, receive important notifications, and choose to opt out of specific sexual health education programs.
Let’s Go Washington has exceeded the required number of verified signatures for ballot qualification by submitting 423,399 signatures, which is almost 100,000 more than the necessary amount of nearly 325,000 signatures.
Bryan Heywood, the founder of Let’s Go Washington from Redmond, addressed the crowd and described I-2081 as a significant step towards reaffirming the role of parents as the primary stakeholders in the upbringing of children in the state of Washington.
Referring to Senate Bill 5599, which was recently signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee, he emphasized the impact it would have. The bill grants youth shelters, host homes, and state agencies the discretion to withhold information from estranged parents in cases where runaway youths are seeking abortions or irreversible gender surgeries.
According to Heywood, there has been a concerning trend in recent years where laws have propagated a misguided notion that most parents are unfit and that the state is the better caregiver. Heywood strongly disagrees with this corrupt idea and emphasizes that the default assumption should be that parents love their children, with the understanding that there are exceptions to this rule.
According to Heywood, the existing law and I-2081 specifically provide exemptions for young individuals who are at risk due to abuse and similar circumstances. However, he emphasized that it is generally assumed that parents, rather than the state, have a better understanding of what is in the best interest of their children.
In his statement, he expressed his belief that parents possess the inherent ability to love, teach, and guide their children more effectively than any government employee.
State Representative Jim Walsh, who is a citizen sponsor of I-2081 and also the chair of the Washington State Republican Party, specifically referenced SB 5599 when discussing the level of turnout and enthusiasm among those submitting signatures.
“We initiated the project at the time when Senate Bill 5599 was newly implemented, which generated a significant amount of dissatisfaction among the people,” he explained. “Hence, there was a strong motivation to take action and address these concerns.”
Walsh presented I-2081 in a positive light, contrasting it with SB 599 which had become a subject of controversy in the culture wars.
According to him, the stance on parental rights is not a rejection or opposition to anything. Instead, it is an assertion and defense of an essential right. He emphasizes that critics may attempt to portray it negatively, but it is actually a positive assertion. It is not against anything, but rather in support of parental rights.
If I-2081 meets the requirements for sufficient valid signatures, the Democratic-controlled Legislature has a few choices. They can choose to pass it in the upcoming legislative session, or they can opt to take no action and allow it to proceed to the ballot. Alternatively, they could pass an alternative proposal that would result in both I-2081 and the alternative proposal being placed on the ballot at the next state general election.
In a recent development, Let’s Go Washington took a significant stride by submitting an impressive number of signatures, amounting to nearly 420,000, for Initiative 2117. This initiative aims to repeal Washington’s cap-and-trade system and bring about substantial changes.
On Thursday, Let’s Go Washington is set to submit signatures at the same location for Initiative 2113, which aims to eliminate specific limitations on police officers’ participation in vehicular pursuits.
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