That's right. One Democratic lawmaker is about to use her power to kill a bill that would require schools to teach kids about affirmative consent, STIs, and the fact that trans people exist.
I guess it's not exactly surprising, but the state of Washington does not already compel all schools to teach comprehensive sex ed, apparently because some parents don't want their children to know how bodies work, or how to foster healthy relationships with other people.
In an effort to correct this backward view, the Senate, at the request of state superintendent of public instruction, Chris Reykdal, passed SB 5395, which would mandate such education statewide. Schools would have to teach "abstinence and other methods of preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases," and parents would have the option to opt out of the instruction if they truly want their children to live in ignorance.
At a town hall last weekend, one of the audience members asked Rep. Santos why she wasn't slating this no-brainer of a bill for a vote.
In response, Santos said she "knew nothing of this bill before it was filed," claimed that "the school districts that would be required to implement this bill were not included in the process of developing the bill," and implied that House Speaker Frank Chopp wasn't planning to bring the bill to a vote on the floor anyway. "I told the Speaker, 'If you're not going to bring this bill to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, I’m not going to make my committee go through that vote,'" she said about a sex ed bill passed by the Senate, a notoriously more conservative body with a smaller Democratic majority.
The mere fact that a Democrat isn't backing a sex ed bill makes you wonder why the fuck we keep voting these moderate idiots into office, but let's just take her points here one by one.
1. Who gives a fuck if Santos knew anything about this bill before it was filed? Lots of lawmakers don't know much about bills before they're filed. The job is to read the bill, which is, in this case, four pages long, and then decide whether or not you support it. If Santos is still shocked by this process, then she shouldn't have a job.
2. The school districts weren't included in the bill? The fucking state superintendent of public instruction asked for this bill. During a public hearing, according to the Seattle Times, Reykdal and "several students" testified in support of it. During that testimony, Reydkal "likened school districts opting out of sexual education to not teaching geometry or the history of the Holocaust."
3. I've asked Speaker Chopp if he planned not to bring the sex ed bill to the floor, and I'll update this post when I hear back from him. But even if he did tell Santos he wasn't going to bring it to the floor, then she should still pass it through her committee and let his ass explain why he doesn't want kids to learn about how to avoid getting the clap and raping people. Who is she worried about pissing off? Rabid Republicans on her committee like Rep. Vicki Kraft, who think sex ed "promotes the transsexual lifestyle" and "teach[es] young children how to have sex?"
I've asked Santos's team for comment, and I'll update the post when I hear back.
But, judging by what Santos said at that town hall last weekend, the bill will die. Unless, of course, you call up Santos and encourage her to have a change of heart. Here's her office phone: (360) 786-7944. Here's her e-mail.