Sign petition by July 14 to put bill on ballot to let voters decide
By David Lewis
Currently, there is a petition put forth to the people of Washington State to pass Referendum 101 to stop Senate Bill 5599 (SB5599) from becoming law on July 23. This is an important law to be aware of, as it removes parental rights in the lives of their minor children. Research shows that a child’s brain will not fully develop until they reach their early 20s. That is why they need support and guidance from loving parents and family until they can make sound decisions on their own. This law undermines the family unit and has serious consequences for our youth.
Under current Washington law, when a minor enters a licensed shelter or host home, the facility must notify the youth’s parents within 24 to 72 hours unless there is a “compelling reason” not to, in which case they are required to contact children’s services. A “compelling reason” includes circumstances that would subject the minor to abuse or neglect, which is defined as sexual abuse or exploitation, injury or negligent treatment or maltreatment.
The new law under SB5599, which was passed by the Senate with 29 yeas and 20 nays, goes into effect July 23, 2023, and would add the pursuit of “protected health care services” to the list of compelling reasons. It would extend as a “compelling reason” for a teen seeking reproductive care, such as an abortion, or gender-affirming care, including medicalized treatment for gender dysphoria. This bill pertains to teens ages 13 to 18 and allows children from outside Washington state to come to these facilities under the same protections.
SB5599 states that if a teen runs away and goes to one of these facilities, the many state agencies involved in dealing with minors would not have to reveal the child’s location until an investigation is completed (to determine whether the child should be returned to their parents). It does not allow parents to decide what is best for their child. These investigations can go on for months and possibly years. All the while the child is denied access to even talk with their parents.
The term “compelling reason” can encompass many issues that most would agree are best left to loving families to resolve together rather than in a sterile institution where the child only hears what the institution says is correct. “Compelling reason” is a very vague term that leaves the door open for future reasons to be added to the list. Could a future compelling reason include the right for a teen to run away to these shelters because he does not like the food served at home?
Referendum Measure 101 wants to let the voters decide this bill. The petition needs 200,000 signatures to get this referendum on the November ballot. All signatures must be mailed by July 15 and received by July 22, 2023, to stop SB5599 from going into effect July 23, 2023. When signing the petition, make sure you print your name as it appears on your voter registration card or the name printed on your official ballot.
Following are two locations where you can go to sign the petition. Or, to find your nearest location, visit: reject5599.com.
Tri-County Christian Center, 320 E H St, Deer Park (509) 276-5484
Calvary Spokane, 511 West Hastings Rd, Spokane (509) 467-2860
Our society has survived these many years because of the family unit. If you believe that laws like this, being passed without a vote of the people, is wrong, then be sure to sign the petition named “Referendum Measure 101” before July 15, the deadline to mail in the petitions needed to get SB5599 on the November ballot.
Referendum Measure 101: https://www2.sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/initiatives/R_101.pdf
SB 5599: https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?Year=2023&BillNumber=5599