Dozier helps pass historic initiative to reinforce parental rights concerning school information

OLYMPIA… Three years after he first introduced legislation to create a “parents’ bill of rights,” 16th District Sen. Perry Dozier today saw his goal achieved with the Legislature’s passage of Initiative 2081.

“This is a momentous day for the parents across our state who want to engage with their child’s school but have found it challenging to do so, especially when it comes to having certain questions or concerns addressed,” said Dozier, R-Waitsburg, who serves on the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.

“Parents shouldn’t have to wade through state laws and rules to figure out what their rights are when it comes to knowing what is being taught at their child’s school, or how the school responds to the health questions of students. In this day and age they should be able to pull up a website and quickly get answers.

“This initiative covers even more ground than the policy I’ve proposed each of the past few years, and I’m happy to see it become law.”

The parental-rights measure was passed by a 49-0 vote in the state Senate and a 82-15 vote in the House of Representatives. It is one of three initiatives to the Legislature, submitted by Washington voters earlier this year, to win legislative approval today. Lawmakers have never enacted three initiatives in any year since Washington’s initiative process was created in 1912.

“Our public schools should want to be as transparent as possible. They should want to make it simple and convenient for parents to get the information they seek, because that can make the difference between a parent who is engaged versus a parent who gets frustrated and starts looking for alternatives for educating their children,” said Dozier.

“More than 454,000 Washington voters signed the petitions for I-2081, which was second only to the initiative to repeal the hidden gas tax represented by the cap-and-trade law,” he added. “I have to believe many of them are parents who look back on how the pandemic affected students and see I-2081 as a step toward being more involved going forward.”

Because the initiatives do not go to the governor for consideration like other legislation, the laws created by I-2081, I-2111 and I-2113 will take effect 90 days after the legislative session ends this Thursday.

The income-tax ban was passed 38-11 in the Senate and 76-21 in the House. The pursuit reform received a 36-13 vote in the Senate and passed 77-20 in the House.

Leaders of the Democrat majorities in the two legislative chambers say three more initiatives submitted to the Legislature will not receive any attention this session, despite each receiving well over 400,000 voter signatures: I-2117, to repeal the cap-and-trade law (officially, the “Climate Commitment Act”); I-2109, to repeal the state tax on income from capital gains; and I-2124, to let workers opt out of what is now a mandatory payroll tax for the state-run long-term care act.

If lawmakers adjourn on schedule Thursday without enacting those measures, as expected, Washington’s constitution requires them to automatically go on the November statewide general-election ballot.