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Republican House Leader J.T. Wilcox details how to kill sex ed bill

This is an example of a coloring page given to second-graders in the Seattle Public Schools. (Contributed photo)

A sex ed bill in the Washington State House of Representatives, House Bill 1407, has Republican legislators vowing to kill the bill before it can come before the entire House.

The bill would mandate comprehensive sexual education in public schools for every grade, K-12. Its companion bill, Senate Bill 5395, passed out of the Senate last month.

House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox (R-Yelm) told the Dori Monson Show that the bill came up last year, but died in the House.

“We’re going to do everything we can to kill it in the House again this year,” Wilcox promised.

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With a short Legislative session this year — things are scheduled to wrap up in just a month — Wilcox said time is the most important weapon in the fight against this bill.

“The tool that we have to kill any bill is to burn up as much time and create as much controversy on the other side as we possibly can, so that they understand if they bring bills like this that are absolutely outrageous — and we all feel that way — the price for them will be that they’ll lose a bunch of other bills,” Wilcox said.

In a poll conducted by the Washington State Office of Public Instruction, 58 percent of respondents opposed requiring comprehensive sex ed in K-12.

Proposed lesson plans crafted by sex ed advocacy groups include teaching second-graders detailed information about genitalia, with the learning objective that students would be able to “use proper names for body parts, including male and female anatomy.”

Washington State Superintendent Chris Reykdal previously told the Dori Monson Show that any detailed sexual lesson plans would likely be geared toward older students. Curriculum must be approved by his office and by each individual school district.

Similar sex ed information sheets used in California suggested that if students did not have enough money for sex toys, they could use carrots, cucumbers, and bananas instead.

Wilcox said that Republicans in the House will not shy away from reading these details aloud in hearings, however uncomfortable.

“We’re not afraid to do those things because this is important,” he said.

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While the topic of the sex ed bill did not come up at a recent press briefing by Republican leaders in the Legislature, Wilcox said the fight is just beginning. News releases, town halls, and social media will all help to spread the word about the contents of the sex ed bill.

“We’re here to fight hard when the things that we, and most of the people in Washington, disagree with are being proposed,” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to see Republicans shirk from this.”

To keep up-to-date with this and other important bills, follow the Washington State Ledger. You can make your voice heard to your senator or representatives by calling the Legislative Hotline at 800-562-6000.

The better action to take, however, according to Wilcox, is to turn out for hearings in Olympia. The sex ed bill will go through the House Education Committee.

“Big crowds are the thing that really motivate people in Olympia — especially if they’re crowds that are not expected,” Wilcox said. “If progressive legislators see people from their district, and progressive people say, ‘This is just too much for us,’ that’s when they start paying attention.”

Ultimately, though, “these things happen when you are a single-party state, and a single party thinks that they can never lose power.”

The greatest tool that any Washingtonian has to effect change is through the ballot.

“In the end, politics is about who gets elected,” Wilcox said. “And that’s the thing that will make the biggest difference here — how do we make this a factor in elections?”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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