Opinion: Voters deserve the opportunity to ‘Reject 5599’

Clark County Today Editor Ken Vance believes Washington lawmakers need to get out of the parenting business.

Clark County Today Editor Ken Vance believes Washington lawmakers need to get out of the parenting business

Ken Vance, editor
Clark County Today

Democrat lawmakers in the state of Washington believe, at least in some very critical situations involving significant medical decisions, that the government is better equipped to parent our children than we are. If you think I’ve lost my mind, keep reading.

Editor Ken Vance
Editor Ken Vance

During the 2023 legislative session, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5599, was passed. Every Democrat in the Washington State Legislature – in both the Senate and House – voted for it and every Republican voted against it. Sen. Ann Rivers said recently that over 90 percent of public comments received by lawmakers on 5599 were from citizens who opposed the bill, and still the Democrat lawmakers passed it. 

The bill addresses homeless or runaway youth seeking what’s referred to as “protected health care services.” In this new law, the services are spelled out as “gender-related medical intervention’’ – such as puberty blockers, sex change surgeries, and mastectomies – as well as “reproductive health care” or abortions. In the bill, certain shelters and organizations are exempt from the requirement to contact the parents when the child enters the shelter. Instead, the shelters contact the state. 

It’s written in state law, “The secretary of state has no duty to confirm that a host home program is meeting its statutory requirements.” When such a youth enters the shelter, they’re then placed under the guardianship of the host home under the Department of Youth and Family (DCYF). Those guardians can then give the child consent for gender-related services or abortion. There is no minimum age enumerated in the bill. 

An additional outrage is the parents will be given the bill for the “medical services” their child receives. Yet they will have had no knowledge or say so regarding the providing of those “services.’

My son is now 32 years old. During his childhood years, he wasn’t a perfect child, but thankfully he was for the most part, compliant and obedient. He had a couple of medical procedures during his childhood and thankfully his mother and I were in complete control of those decisions. I can’t even fathom the idea that during those years it would be possible for him to have a medical procedure without our consent, or even notification. I tell you, if that would have happened, I would have gone looking for a pint of blood or a pound of flesh from someone and I wouldn’t have stopped until I got it.

I am told that it is very rare in this country that gender mutilation procedures are performed on minors. I would hope that it would never be done. It is my belief that any physician or surgeon who performs a gender mutilation procedure on a minor should lose their medical license. And, if they do it without the parent’s consent, they should go to jail.

The Reject 5599 effort

A group of Washington residents have written and submitted Referendum 101 with the slogan “Reject 5599’’ in order to take the matter to voters. 

“What the new law does,” the Reject 5599 website reads, “is rebrand involved parents as abusers so that shelters and host homes can contact DCYF instead of the parents to notify families of their child’s whereabouts.” 

Gov. Jay Inslee said, “If a young person is totally estranged from their parents and has no meaningful relationship we need someone to care for that child and the way the legislation is set up is essentially, the Department of Children Youth and Families will step in to that position to care for that child so you have someone looking out for their benefit. In the real world we want these kids to be protected and not homeless and that’s basically the reason for this bill.” 

So, let me get this straight, the underlying sentiment here is that if a child under the age of 18, wants to get “gender-related medical intervention” or “reproductive health care” and a parent is against their child having those procedures, the state can step in under the premise that that is abuse? If that’s the case, this is a society I don’t want to live in.

We have had many laws in this country that limit children’s actions and ability to make decisions for themselves. They can’t get a driver’s license until they’re 16 years of age. They are not allowed to vote until they’re 18. They’re not allowed to purchase alcohol until they’re 21. Why do we have these laws? It’s because children don’t have the maturity, wisdom and life experience to make every decision by themselves. They are also too susceptible to being influenced. They can be coerced.

Again, relating back to my years as a parent of a minor child, my son’s mother and I made a rule that our child could not get a tattoo or a piercing while he was still under the age of 18. In fact, I believe we extended that moratorium to continue throughout the time that we were supporting him (college years etc.) It was never an issue because he never wanted either. But, my question is, what if he did want a tattoo or a piercing while he was a minor? Would his mother and I have been accused of child abuse? What about the age-old adage, “my house my rules?’’

I’m not ignoring the fact that children in our state, or community, are abused and neglected. There is real abuse and neglect that takes place for many reasons, including in situations of gender dysphoria or early pregnancies. But, don’t we already have Child Protective Services in our community, in our state? If a child is truly being abused or neglected, absolutely we as a society need to come to their aid. But, I think many of us have a strong disagreement about what constitutes abuse or neglect of a child.

The signature-gathering process

As reporter Leah Anaya shared with Clark County Today readers recently,  advocates working on gathering signatures for Referendum 101 say that they are certainly in favor of protecting youth, but not in the way that 5599 changes things. Runaway youth, they say as did I, already have access to shelters and services as needed. But 5599 gives explicit rights to the state to consent to children undergoing major medical procedures related to the child’s gender, or to get an abortion, while removing parents from the equation altogether. 

Locations will be set up all over Washington state in an effort to gather the necessary 200,000 signatures by July 15 (20,000 of which are required of Clark County) to get Referendum 101 on the ballot. The Reject 5599 website will also include an interactive map to find a signing location, and anyone can sign up on the website to volunteer to gather signatures.

A table has been set up at Vancouver Mall for the group Let’s Go Washington, which will also include petitions for Referendum 101. The table will be set up this whole week until 7 p.m. Saturday and then again July 5-14, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

It is my hope that you will feel compelled to sign the petition. Voters deserve the opportunity to “Reject 5599.’’

Editor’s note: Information from reporter Leah Anaya was included in this column.

Should Washington voters have the opportunity to Reject ESSB 5599?*
707 votes

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  1. Gary Wilson

    Thank you Ken for highlighting this absurd new law aimed at taking parents out of the discussion with their own children about such life altering decisions even at elementary school ages. Our state government should never usurp the roles of parents in their child’s lives.

  2. kyle reese

    thank you for your comments. gender ideology is primarily a PR and lobby effort with the primary goal of harming kids via preventing parents right to object to gender meds. implementing these harmful laws with as little attn as possible while completely misrepresent their goals is just one component of this big money PR campain. a good article that explains some of the history of this “care” is in the spectator article that describes how rich attorneys created this fraud.

    the US gov has never done a review if gender meds help kids. they dont. in the US gender “care” is primarily a PR effort. in schools they teach kids now that puberty is optional while ommitting that 98% of kids who take puberty blockers for gender dysphoria go onto cross sex hormones that cause permanent loss of sexual function and permanent sterilization. in the long term ppl on these meds are miserable with 20X average suicide rates they dont start out that way tho. 85% of kids with gender dysphoria grow out of it with puberty , as long as they dont take these harmful meds. these are facts. yet these facts are completely denied and hidden. when you start to look at it you will find every gender ideology stat and claim is a lie. no, dysphoric kids dont commit suicide more than other kids with same psych issues. no, gender meds dont help gender dysphoria or anything else. UK and Euro gov reviews found this “care” does more harm than good. most kids who take these gender meds dont have any gender dysphoria at all the clinics who provide this “care” rubber stamp a trendy social contagen that mostly harms kids who had trama. abuse. are orphans or just normal dysphoria from being proto gay. all over the world parents, LGB ppl , liberals and conservatives (gasp!) are pushing back against this fraud. in the US most people are just waking up to this fraud that has been 20 years in the making or are in complete denial.

    1. kyle reese

      BTW, just today UK’s national health service banned puberty blockers for children except within the parameters of a clinical trial. The official health dept for the UK actually did a review and found these meds dont help anything and actually do more harm than good. By contrast, the American Academy of Pediatrics AAP, which makes polciy for every school, medical facility and court for the US, has never done a review if these meds help (they dont) and changed their policy to allow or even require these harmful meds in 2018 via a debunked policy statement written by sociology grads that conflates the unchanging unchosen characteristic of homosexuality with the optional always changing choice to identify as opposite gender. this article talks about the NHS announcement.


      another good source explaining how we got to a place where some contend that gender meds help is a feb 2023 report by UK medical group BMJ titled, Gender dysphoria in young people is rising. this report explains that theres actually zero evidence to the claim that gender meds help kids. instead these claims are made solely on the self report from activist drs who are getting rich from this fraud.


  3. Vince

    Good information. I don’t go to the VanMall for many reasons, but I’ll make the trip to sign this petition so it is on the ballot so voters state wide can reject this nonsense.

  4. Margaret

    These women felt pressured by medical professionals to undergo life altering surgeries and take medications with serious side effects. For a girl, taking testosterone as a drug can result in permanent infertility and carries the risks of high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, cancer, liver damage, weight gain and diabetes. This article is informative,
    ‘Groomed and preyed upon’: Woman pressured into mastectomy, testosterone as child, now regrets it”

  5. john lopez

    I agree with some of the points here and disagree with others. What I HATE is the way the republican editor misuses the term “gender mutilation procedure”. Seriously, please EDUCATE yourself on true gender mutilation procedure!!!

    What is FGM? Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is most often carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.

    When you make up your own hate-filled terms to get your based all riled up you sound dumb. ‘Gender mutilation’ is a serious hate-filled act performed by the millions against women by male misogynist communities across the globe.



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