(As of March 10, 2023)
In the first few weeks of session, we saw a major GOP priority, a “school choice” bill passed and signed into law. Also now law, medical malpractice lawsuits are capped at $2 million for cases involving hospitals and $1 million dollars for smaller clinics.
Funnel week ended in the Iowa Legislature in early March, with a number of high-profile bills still having a chance to become law including Gov. Kim Reynolds’ education bill, book-banning bills, and a good number of the 20 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced.
Here’s the status of some of those bills:
Transgender healthcare: SSB 1197 and HSB 214 would ban gender-affirming care for minors. Treatment like hormone therapy, puberty blockers and surgeries affirming gender identity would be prohibited for anyone under 18.
Bathroom bill: SF 482 and HSB 208 requires school bathrooms and locker rooms to be used based on a student’s assigned sex at birth. Schools would need to make accommodations for students who don’t feel comfortable using bathrooms that correspond to their biological sex. This could be facilities in the school such as a one stall bathroom or the nurse’s office.
Violence in schools: HSB 206 would give teachers more options when dealing with a disruptive student. It states teachers would be able to defend themselves and allows them to have physical contact ‘deemed necessary’ with students.
Governor’s education bill: SSB 1145 touches on a number of different school related issues. It would ban the teaching of gender identity in K-5th grade. It would also force teachers to out kids who are transgender to their parents. It also proposes school library books that have been removed from one Iowa school would require parental consent before being checked out by students at every Iowa school.
“Age-appropriate” books: HSB 219 defines that education programs and books should be “age-appropriate.” The proposal defines “age-appropriate” to prohibit “any material with descriptions or visual depictions of a sex act.”
Diversity, equity and inclusion bill: HSB 218 prohibits the three regent universities, Iowa State, University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa from using money to fund diversity, equity and inclusion offices and directors.
Government Restructure (HSB 126): Gov. Kim Reynolds paid an out-of-state firm nearly $1 million to create this almost 1,600-page bill which she says will shrink government and save hundreds of millions of dollars. Critics and Democrats say the bill consolidates power to her office and does harm to a number of long-standing entities including agencies for Iowans with disabilities.
“Bathroom Bill” (HSB 208) Prevents trans students from using the restroom/locker room they identify with at school.
Child labor law rollback (HSB 134/SF 167): The law rolls back decades of precedent and allows kids to work in hazardous conditions without any liability toward the employer if the child laborer is injured or killed.
Gay marriage bans ((HJR 8 and HF 508):
Total abortion ban (HF 510): A majority of Iowa Republican officials including Gov. Kim Reynolds are waiting on a decision from the Iowa Supreme Court before they decide their next steps on abortion restrictions.
Free lunch bills (SF 303 and HF 575): The Iowa Senate version of the bill to give Iowa school kids free lunch and breakfast never made it past subcommittee state and the House version was assigned to that chamber’s Education Committee.
Banning Drag Shows for minors (SF348)
Iowa lawmakers will not move forward this year with legislation to ban tenure at Iowa’s three regent universities. (House File 48)
The Iowa Department of Education uses a social-emotional learning framework designed to help students build life skills, regulate behavior and learn how to solve problems. Some conservative parents worry that social-emotional learning curriculum will teach their kids that gender identity is fluid and homosexuality is acceptable. A bill to prohibit the Department of Education from distributing information about social-emotional learning didn’t make it to committee. Senate File 85.
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We know we can’t do it alone!
We are committed to continuing our work together and reshaping the conversation around progressive themes and values… the true American Dream, where every person has inherent human worth. We are all in this together. We all benefit from decisions which serve the common good. Government is of the people, by the people, and for the people, there is social, racial, economic and environmental justice for all and all citizens are cared for and respected. Why do we do this? We do it because it is the RIGHT thing to do. We do it in defense of the true American Dream.
As we move forward, we will continue to honor our nearly 45 year history of creating social change in Iowa and across the nation.
Here’s some of what we’ve been up to this past year:
- We worked with our partners and allies to stop the school voucher bill because public dollars belong in public schools.
- We fought to keep the bottle bill alive in Iowa with some changes.
- We stood with our allies at the Iowa Alliance for Justice around Medical Malpractice caps. Iowa juries will continue to decide the value of a human life in court cases that involve medical negligence and commercial vehicle crashes – NOT politicians because we know it is our Constitutional right to trial by jury and it must be protected.
- We advocated for the landmark bi-partisan Infrastructure Bill which will add: $3.4 billion in highway aid; $432 million for bridge replacement and repairs; $638 million to improve water infrastructure; $305 million for public transportation; $120 million for airport infrastructure and upgrades; $100 million+ for expanded broadband internet coverage; and $15 million to protect against cyberattacks.
- In a major victory for millions of Americans we fought for and celebrated the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act by House and Senate Democrats which contains historic improvements to Medicare and health coverage, requiring tax-dodging corporations to pay what they owe, delivers the largest investment in climate action in U.S. history
- We are leading the Lower Drug Prices Now campaign in Iowa because we know that no matter where people live, what they look like or what’s in their wallets, everyone deserves affordable medicine to have the best chance at healthy lives. We need guarantees when it comes to prescription medications. The greed from drug corporations and their powerful lobbyists are threatening our health and our pocketbook.