Dear neighbors,  

With only a few days left we are quickly approaching the end of the 2024 legislative session. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the progress we’ve made—particularly, the strides or student safety by prioritizing Opioid education in our schools and increasing access to overdose treatment like NARCAN. However, our work is far from over. 

Initiative 2081 (Parental Rights)

Today the Senate passed SI 2081, titled the Parental Rights initiative. Last week we held public testimony hearing from parents, admin and advocacy groups alike. Many agreed that family members are the first true teachers in a child’s life and parents deserve to know what their children are learning and be involved in what’s happening in school. 

I am pleased to report that what I estimate to be about 90 percent of what’s in this initiative is already in current law, and not controversial at all. We heard from parents and guardians that were having trouble tapping into their rights—rights they already have, such as the ability to examine textbooks, curriculum, and disciplinary records and to opt their children out of sex education. As a matter of fact, I pulled a booklet together in 2022-23 that held within it all the rights of parents in and around the classroom. You can find a digital copy here 

A few pieces of the initiative use ambiguous language about health care records and decision-making and have raised questions among teachers and parents. Now that we’ve passed the initiative, we’ll work with our partners at OSPI and the State Board of Education to make sure the initiative is implemented correctly. However, we stand prepared to change the law should aspects of it not function as intended and put at risk ANY member of the LGBTQ+ community or threaten in any way a person’s right to reproductive care. We stand with the LGBTQ+ community, which is why we have been very deliberate about this initiative. Moving forward, we will be ready to address any parts that are misused counter to our state’s inclusive values and strong legal protections.  

NARCAN availability and the opioid epidemic in our schools

The opioid epidemic has made it to our schools and to our children. With rising rates of overdose in High School aged youth we are looking at every available option to curb this catastrophe and save lives. This means more preventative education and better access to counter-active treatment across the board. 

Last Tuesday the House voted unanimously (96-0) to pass SB 5804—we just concurred in the Senate. The bill increases NARCAN availability in all school districts in the state, regardless of size, including charter schools, state tribal compact schools, elementary, middle and high schools. 

We’ve also passed HB 1956 which mandates an increase in opioid educational curriculum in our schools and calls for an increase in community involvement when constructing these lesson plans.  

Deaths from opioid overdose have increased dramatically in Washington state, with an average of two deaths a day in 2023, according to the state Department of Health. For Washington’s youth 24 and under, deaths from overdose have increased six-fold since 2017 and totaled more than 190 in 2022, and numbers are still climbing. More than 90% of these deaths are from fentanyl overdoses. 

Town Hall: Please Join us!

Please join us! My seat-mates and I will be hosting a Town Hall on Sat, March 23 at 11am – 1pm at the Bellevue High School Performing Arts Center. 

Open to the public – lite refreshments provided. 

Hope to see you there! 

Signing off 

I’ll be on the ground here in Olympia finishing out this last week strong. We are still hard at work passing bills until next Thursday March 7th 

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments. 

-Lisa Wellman 

41st Legislative District Senator