WSCC Support for Initiative 2081 (I-2081) 

The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) supports Initiative 2081 (I-2081), which would establish a parents’ bill of rights for parents of children in public schools. In the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching, families are a central social institution that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. I-2081 strengthens family rights.

At the discretion of pastors, signatures for this initiative may be collected at parishes. Parishioners must obtain approval from pastors prior to collecting petition signatures on church grounds. Because this is an initiative to the Legislature, petitions are not due to the Secretary of State until December 29, 2023. To qualify for legislative action, 324,516 valid signatures must be collected.  The Secretary of State recommends collecting 15-20% more than this number to guard against signatures that are invalidated due to non-registration or duplication. 

Explanation of Initiative 2081: The text of I-2081 may be viewed here. I-2081 names parents as the primary stakeholders in their children’s upbringing. It also reiterates or establishes numerous parents’ rights within the public school system. Among those listed are the right to review medical records and health records, the right to receive prior notification when medical services are being offered to their child (except when emergency medical treatment is required), the right to receive notification of a medical service or medications provided to their child that could result in financial impact, the right to receive reassurance that a child’s public school will not discriminate against a child based upon sincerely held religious beliefs, and the right to receive notification if a child is taken or removed from a public school campus without parental permission, including to stay at a youth shelter or host home. I-2081 also calls for parents to receive notification and the ability to opt their children out of activities that include questions about a child’s sexual experiences or are on the topic of sexual activity.

The Initiative Process: The state’s constitution reserves the right of people to propose bills and laws via an initiative to the people or an initiative to the Legislature. They also have the right to approve or reject at the polls any act, item, section, or part of any bill, act, or law passed by the legislature. I-2081 is an initiative to the Legislature. If the initiative qualifies by the December 29 deadline, it will take precedence over all other measures in the 2024 session, except for budget bills. The Legislature may adopt the initiative, reject it, refuse to act on it, or provide an alternative on the same subject. If the Legislature rejects it or refuses to act, the initiative will then be on the general election ballot in 2024. If the Legislature provides an alternative, both versions of the initiative will be on the 2024 ballot.

Graphic: Justice for Immigrants

Catholic Immigration Summit: September 30 at Seattle University 

Mark your calendars for the 7th annual Catholic Immigration Summit, Companions on the Journey: Sharing Stories and Discerning Next Steps, at Seattle University on September 30, 9 am-2 pm. Following National Migration Week (September 18-24), this year’s summit includes Mass with Bishop Elizondo, sharing of stories from impacted communities, lunchtime table discussions, and discerning actionable next steps. A Zoom option will be available.  Registration will open later this month, and we will post a registration link on our website and on social media. The summit is organized by the Archdiocese of Seattle Immigrant and Refugee Ministry, Catholic Community Services, Catholic Immigration Legal Services, Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center, Seattle University’s Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, and the WSCC.

Referendum 101: Thank You for Your Advocacy!

Thank you to the pastors, parishes, and community organizers who collected signatures for Referendum 101. Approximately 157,000 individuals signed petitions – an excellent outcome for a year with a long legislative session.  Every other legislative session is “long,” as legislators approve a new biennium budget. This results in less time available to take action leading up to election day. Unfortunately, collection efforts were short of the required number of signatures, and less than the number of signatures recommended by the Secretary of State were gathered.  To account for signatures that are invalidated due to non-registration or duplication, 15 to 20% more than the minimum number of signatures should be collected.  Referendum 101 sought to overturn Senate Bill 5599 (SB 5599), which no longer requires licensed overnight shelters or licensed organizations providing services to homeless or runaway youth to notify parents if their child is away from home without permission and seeking “protected health care services,” namely abortion or “gender-affirming care.”  The WSCC supported Referendum 101 and opposed SB 5599. 

USCCB Action Alerts

Check out the latest Action Alerts from the USCCB on the Farm Bill and the Afghan Adjustment Act to help refugees, many of whom served alongside US military members in Afghanistan. Action Alerts are an easy way to contact legislators about various policy issues related to Catholic Social Teaching.  If you have not already done so, be sure to also click on the other Action Alerts on abortion, economic justice, restorative justice, and protecting children.  Receive USCCB Action Alerts directly by signing up here

Good News from Around the State

Archbishop Paul Etienne and Archbishop John Wester

Archbishop Etienne’s Japan Pilgrimage for Peace

Now through August 12, Archbishop Paul Etienne, Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, and additional delegation members are traveling in Japan as pilgrims of peace engaging in dialogue with the Archbishop of Nagasaki and the Bishop of Hiroshima. Together they are working to call for an end to nuclear weapons.  The pilgrimage for peace coincides with the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  Learn more from the pilgrimage’s webpage.  

Diocese of Spokane to Host Eucharistic Exposition 2023 (Expo ’23) on September 10

On September 10 the Diocese of Spokane will be hosting Eucharistic Exposition 2023, or Expo ’23.  The day will include a Eucharistic procession through Riverfront Park, adoration at the Podium sports complex, and a celebration at the North Bank Shelter of Riverfront Park. Register and learn more about the event here.  Nationally, Catholics are engaged in the National Eucharistic Revival; click here to learn more. Bishop Thomas Daly of the Diocese of Spokane explains Eucharist Revival work nationally, at the diocese level, and at parishes here

Fr. Felipe Pulido of the Diocese of Yakima Named New Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego

Congratulations to Fr. Felipe Pulido of the Diocese of Yakima! Earlier this summer he was named the new auxiliary bishop of Diocese of San Diego. Fr. Pulido has lived in the Yakima Valley since his family moved there in 1988. He is the first priest of the Diocese of Yakima to be named a bishop since its founding in 1951. Fr. Pulido’s consecration ceremony will be on September 28. Read more here.

Upcoming Events

World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation 

The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation is September 1.  Click here to read Pope Francis’ message commemorating the day. Related to the care for creation, you can access Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home here, along with resources.  Additionally, sponsored by the Vatican, the Laudato Si Platform is one recommended resource for taking action to care for creation.

National Migration Week and World Day of Migrants and Refugees 

National Migration Week begins on September 18 and runs through September 24, the World Day for Migrants and Refugees.  Too often, migration is forced, particularly in cases where individuals are fleeing war or conflict.  Consequently, this year’s theme for National Migration Week shines a light on the ideal, where all are “Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay.” Pope Francis speaks to this theme in his 2023 World Day for Migrants and Refugees address, which marks the 109th celebration of this date. Visit the USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants (JFI) website to access a toolkit for learning, reflecting, and acting on National Migration Week. Supporting immigrants and refugees is a legislative priority of the WSCC bishops.

Important Dates 

August 15 Assumption of the Virgin Mary
September 1 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
September 18 National Migration Week begins
Sept 15 - Oct 15 Hispanic Heritage Month
September 24 World Day for Migrants and Refugees
September 30 Catholic Immigration Summit at Seattle University
November 7  Election Day

WSCC Staff

We invite you to contact us at any time.

Mario Villanueva, Executive Director

Adrienne Corpuz Joyce, Director of Policy & Communications

Tracey Wilson Yackley, Operations Manager

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