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What You Should Know About I-1552

OFFICIAL BALLOT TITLE: Initiative Measure No. 1552 concerns gender-segregated facilities and civil liability. This measure would override state/local protections against gender-identity discrimination in certain public-accommodation facilities, require that public schools restrict access to some facilities based on sex at birth, and allow related lawsuits against schools. (Full language of the initiative)

I-1552 Authorizes Strangers To Demand To Check A Person’s “Sex At Birth” Before Allowing Access To Certain Restrooms And Locker Rooms.
  • The law is impossible to enforce without inviting confusion, abuse and harassment. To prove one’s “sex at birth,” I-1552 potentially requires people to carry their original birth certificates, comply with genital checks, or submit to genetic DNA tests each time they want to use public accommodations. I-1552 Sec. 6
  • By targeting transgender students who already face high rates of harassment, I-1552 will lead to more bullying of transgender students and other students who don’t fit gender “norms.”
More Than A Dozen Existing Laws Already Prohibit Predatory Behavior, Including Indecent Exposure And Voyeurism, In Gender-Segregated Spaces Likes Restrooms And Locker Rooms (RCW 9a.44).
  • In Washington, and in the more than 200 cities and 19 states with these same non-discrimination protections, transgender people have been protected from unfair discrimination with no increase in public safety incidents as a result. (Source: National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women)
  • I-1552 is opposed by law enforcement and safety groups including Former Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick, Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence, Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP), Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV), and others.
I-1552 Encourages Expensive Lawsuits Against Washington’s Public Schools, And Could Drive Away Billions Of Dollars In Economic Development For Our State, Costing Taxpayers.
  • Gives hundreds of thousands of K-12 students the ability to sue their public schools for a minimum of $5,000 for every time they encounter a transgender student in a gender-segregated facility. As named defendants, Washington’s public schools will be forced to drain limited budgets to pay for lawyers and payouts to plaintiffs, putting more pressure on Washington’s taxpayers. I-1552, Section 2 5(e)(i)
  • Economic experts say Washington State could also lose billions if it passes laws like I-1552. Williams Institute study.  North Carolina’s economy has lost an estimated $600 million since a similar law, HB2, went into place last year and experts warn that state will lose more than $3.7 Billion over the next 12 years as businesses, tourists and conventions go elsewhere. Associated Press
  • Local and Washington businesses including Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Adobe, Airbnb, Microsoft, Vulcan and Google all oppose 1552 and endorse Washington Businesses Won’t Discriminate. Seattle Times
By Repealing Parts Of Washington’s Long Standing Law Protecting LGBT People, I-1552 Singles Out One Group Of People For More Harassment And Discrimination.
  • I-1552 opens the door to employment discrimination by allowing places of public accommodation – including hotels, restaurants, government agencies, and businesses — to prohibit transgender people from using gender-segregated facilities that are consistent with how they live their lives. By restricting employee locker rooms and restrooms, managers could use this provision to discourage transgender job applicants and force out transgender employees. I-1552 Sec. 5 4(b)
  • I-1552 requires our public schools to discriminate against transgender students by denying them access to gender-segregated facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. I-1552 does not require schools to provide separate but equal accommodations; I-1552 provides for access to alternative accommodations only if they are “already available.” I-1552 Sec. 2 2(a)
Republican-Led Legislatures And Governors Reject “Bathroom Bills” Like I-1552 Because They Are Controversial, Distracting, And Unnecessary Government Intrusion.
  • I-1552 would override county and city rights, preventing local governments from passing or enforcing non-discrimination ordinances protecting transgender people from discrimination in gender-segregated facilities. I-1552 Sec. 5 4(b)
  • “We don’t need that in Arkansas,” said that state’s GOP governor, Asa Hutchinson, earlier this month. “If there’s a North Carolina-type bill, then I want the Legislature not to pass it.”… Kentucky’s GOP Gov. Matt Bevin, though a staunch social conservative, has dismissed the proposal as unnecessary government intrusion…. The centrist conservative Republicans in the [Texas] House, led by Speaker Joe Straus, view SB 6 as an unwanted distraction.” Associated Press
  • “Legislation to create more uncertainty and reduce the rights of any minority does more to divide us than to bring equality” [said Former WA Republican State Senator Steve Litzow]. Seattle Met
Who's Behind I-1552?

I-1552 is sponsored by Just Want Privacy, a political committee that’s closely linked to the Family Policy Institute of Washington – the two groups share staff and resources.

Just Want Privacy does not list its endorsers on its website. However, Just Want Privacy’s political contributions are required to be recorded with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission and made available to the public.

Just Want Privacy has been criticized by law enforcement and others for its campaign tactics, including:

  • Being forced to apologize for misusing the Golden Garden’s sexual assault survivor’s image and story to raise funds for its political campaign. MyNorthwest
  • Encouraging petition signature gatherers to break the law by following women into restrooms and harassing them. Q13 Fox
  • Misleading their own donors and petition signature gatherers. Seattle Times
    Associating with extreme anti-Muslim groups and alienating Washington State’s Muslim community. Daily Beast
  • Encouraging hate speech, which can lead to harassment and violence against transgender people. Tacoma News Tribune
  • Just Want Privacy is also linked to the Alliance Defending Freedom, which was recently classified as an extremist group.
Who Opposes I-1552?

I-1552 is opposed by more than 500 faith organizations, ministers, nurses, law enforcement officials, public safety groups, businesses, labor unions, chambers of commerce, school board members and other elected officials including:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • The Dow Chemical Company
  • Former Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick
  • League of Women Voters of WA
  • Trinity Episcopal Church – Everett
  • Washington State Nurses Association
  • Northshore School Board Director David Cogan
  • Federal Way School District Board President Geoffery McAnalloy
  • Skagit County Sheriff Will Reichardt
  • Mom’s Rising
  • Tacoma School Board District Board President Catherine Ushka
  • WA Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
  • National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
  • American Federation of Teachers of Washington
  • YWCA Pierce County
  • And more…

Proposals Like I-1552 Are Also Opposed By:

  • Seattle Times: Editorial: Transgender law would be an utter embarrassment for Washington
  • Seattle Times: Editorial: Don’t roll back transgender protections
  • Tacoma News Tribune: Editorial: Restroom war distracts from fight against real sex crime
  • Olympian: Editorial: Decline to sign bathroom initiative
  • The Columbian: In Our View: All Of Us Must Coexist
  • Everett Herald: Editorial: Unfounded fears of transgender people can’t justify discrimination
  • Spokesman Review: Editorial: Leaders right to face down discrimination
  • Kitsap Daily News: Editorial: All persons deserve protection from discrimination
  • Wenatchee WorldEditorial: Say ‘no’ to fear
  • Everett HeraldEditorial: Bathroom initiative plays on unwarranted fears