Rep. Jim Walsh urges support for Initiative 2081: A key step forward for parental rights in Washington state

The Washington State Secretary of State (SOS) has officially notified the Legislature that the signature verification process and certification for Initiative 2081 have been successfully completed. This initiative aims to “allow parents and guardians of public school children to review instructional materials and inspect student records, including health and disciplinary records, upon request.”

Rep. Jim WalshR-Aberdeen, sponsor and author of the initiative, released the following statement regarding its official introduction to the Legislature:

“For many Washingtonians, I-2081 may be the most important of the recent group of initiatives to the legislature. Some people call I-2081 a ‘Parents Bill of Rights’ — and that phrase does appear in the initiative. However, to me, it’s most important that I-2081 clearly states that parents are the primary stakeholders in their children’s upbringing.

“To be clear, I-2081 doesn’t change what schools can or cannot do. It doesn’t alter what health care providers can or cannot do. It merely requires that, whatever schools or health care providers do, parents or legal guardians are informed about it. It’s also a great government transparency policy. It requires some state and local agencies that are used to being secretive to be more open about what they do. With regard to kids, anyway.

“I-2081 has already attracted passionate responses, both supporting and opposing. The supporting reactions are easy to understand. The opposing responses are all over the place; some say I-2081 makes massive and dangerous changes in state law, while others say it does nothing. Both can’t be true. But both can be false.

“I-2081 strikes a common-sense balance in public policy. It doesn’t change Washington’s ‘mature minor’ doctrine. However, it does allow parents and legal guardians to know what their minor children are experiencing. This encourages and empowers stable and healthy families.

“I hope my colleagues in the Legislature will join me in supporting I-2081. If lawmakers pass I-2081, it will become law quickly, support healthy parents and children quickly, and restore strong families quickly. These are good things for everyone in Washington.”

In addition to I-2081, the SOS has certified two additional initiatives: I-2117, targeting the repeal of the Climate Commitment Act (CCA), and I-2113, seeking to restore the authority of police officers to pursue when there is reasonable suspicion of a law violation.

The Legislature can choose to adopt the initiatives as presented, turning them into law without ballot placement. Alternatively, they can reject or refrain from acting on the initiatives, resulting in their inclusion on the ballot in the next general election. Another option is for the Legislature to propose an alternative bill on the same subject; in such a scenario, both measures would appear on the ballot.

The 60-day 2024 legislative session began on Monday, Jan. 8, and will conclude on March 7.


Washington State House Republican Communications