Initiative to allow parent access to student records certified; ballot could be next

Jan 18, 2024, 2:14 PM | Updated: Jan 19, 2024, 11:10 am

Image: Math teacher Doug Walters sits among empty desks as he takes part in a video conference with...

Math teacher Doug Walters sits among empty desks as he takes part in a video conference with other teachers to prepare for at-home learning at Twentynine Palms Junior High School in Twentynine Palms, California, on Aug. 18, 2020. (File photo: Gregory Bull, AP)

(File photo: Gregory Bull, AP)

Parents would have the ability “to review instructional materials and inspect student records” if a new initiative in the state of Washington becomes law, according to Let’s Go Washington, the political action committee (PAC) promoting it.

Initiative 2081 has been certified, according to Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs’ office.

“Parents are the primary stakeholder in raising children and the government should not insert itself into that relationship unless there is abuse,” Brian Heywood, founder of Let’s Go Washington,” said in a statement Thursday. “I don’t care who you are or what you believe, you have a right to know what they are teaching your child and the curriculum your child is receiving, this initiative is nothing anyone would have believed was controversial even a few years ago.”

What’s next for I-2081: Legislators get it

I-2081 will now go to the Washington State Legislature for consideration. If the legislature fails to take action, it will appear on the general election ballot in November.

Lawmakers have two choices: They can choose to pass the initiative exactly as written, with no changes. If they do, it will become law more quickly than if it went to the November ballot. If lawmakers decline to pass it or take no action on it, then the initiative will almost certainly be put before voters in November.

The legislature does have the option to create their own alternative measure which would then appear on the ballot alongside I-2081.

More on the Let’s Go Washington initiatives

The secretary of state’s office also confirmed Thursday the signatures on the remaining three pending initiative petitions are being verified by its elections division using a state-mandated process of examining a 3% random sample of submitted signatures.

In addition to I-2081, the secretary of state’s office has also certified two other initiatives Let’s Go Washington backed: I-2113 (“Reasonable police pursuit”) and I-2117 (“Stop the hidden gas tax”). The PAC is also firmly behind  I-2124 (“Opt out of state-run long term care coverage act”), I-2109 (“Repeal the capital gains tax”) and I-2111 (“No state income tax”).

More state politics news: Initiative to repeal police pursuit restrictions certified

After I-2113 got certified, Democratic House Speaker Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma) said she is disappointed the six initiatives are being pushed through by people like Heywood, who is a hedge fund manager and a significant Republican donor. Jinkins called him “an ultra-wealthy multimillionaire, buying his way onto the ballot and putting initiatives on the ballot that are going to benefit his ultra-wealthy status.”

But her colleagues, including House Minority Leader Rep. Drew Stokesbary (R-Auburn), pointed out the initiatives all appear to have received more than 400,000 voter signatures, though some are still awaiting official certification.

“A very small number of (these voters) have any meaningful financial gain, they just want to do what they think is best for the people of Washington,” Stokesbary said previously. “They want more choices and feel like they’re dissatisfied with some of the policies that have come out of Olympia.”

Senate Minority Leader John Braun (R-Centralia) agreed, saying the initiatives deserve to be a priority during the 60-day session.

More from Kate StoneWash. voters sound off on biggest priorities for new legislative session

“We’re going to get some of them, and we ought to be focused on them right away,” Braun said, acknowledging that some of the six might not be certified in time for the House and Senate to consider them.

Contributing: Kate Stone, KIRO Newsradio 

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Initiative to allow parent access to student records certified; ballot could be next