A really inventive way from the folks at Progress Iowa https://progressiowa.org to illustrate how the Republican dominated legislature in Iowa is screwing over Iowa citizens:
Attacks on working families, women, LGBTQ Iowans, and institutionalizing racism round out this year’s bracket
Des Moines, Iowa — The votes have been cast and the bracket has been set. This year’s Iowa ‘Extreme 16’ was released today by Progress Iowa, listing the most extreme legislative proposals introduced during the 2021 session. The voter suppression bill dominated the competition as the worst bill, taking the top seed in a field with stiff competition to round out the ‘Extreme 16’ bracket.
The voter suppression legislation was rushed during the pandemic by Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Republicans, ensuring Iowan voices were silenced. After casting their votes against the voter suppression bill and these other extreme proposals, Iowans are making it clear: this year’s disastrous legislative session will not be forgotten.
“The competition for this year’s extreme 16 was unfortunately one of the strongest we’ve ever seen,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “Gutting public schools, making it harder for Iowa families to get by, legalizing discrimination, and preventing Iowans from voting are just a few of the top seeds in this year’s bracket. To make matters even worse, the Republican controlled legislature barely lifted a finger to help Iowans who are still suffering one year into the pandemic. We hope every Iowan will learn more about the disastrous legislation that’s been proposed this year, and contact their elected officials to put a stop to it.”
“My basketball bracket is busted, and reviewing this legislative bracket is even more frustrating,” said Iowa Rep. Jennifer Konfrst. “This year Republicans have made one attempt after another to make life more difficult for Iowans instead of serving their constituents, all while hoping Iowans will forget their extreme measures when it’s time to vote next year. But their attacks on working families, women, minorities, and LGBTQ Iowans have gone too far and will not be forgotten. Our friends, family members, and neighbors are under attack from this extreme agenda. The competition for which is most extreme was fierce, but there are no winning proposals on this list.”
Click here to view the bracket along with the entire Extreme 16, including:
- Voter Suppression – limiting voter participation with several measures including shortening early and election day voting time (SF413)
- Permitless Carry – would allow anyone to purchase a firearm without a permit, which would render a background check useless (HF756/SF535)
- Private School Vouchers – diverting public tax dollars to non-public schools (HSB243/SF159)
- Food Assistance Cuts – making it harder for Iowans to qualify for food assistance when they need it most (SF 389)
- Violating Women’s Privacy – would allow the government to reach out to women who search for abortion options online to attempt to condemn their decision (HF515)
- Whitewashing History – would bar diversity training programs to teach about “divisive topics,” essentially rewriting history (HF802)
- 1619 Project Ban – would bar Iowa educators from teaching about the 1619 Project, which reframes history with a focus on the contributions of Black Americans as well as the honest history of slavery (HF222)
- Anti-Transgender Bathroom Ban – barring transgender students from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity (HF187/SF224)
- Unemployment Cuts – enforcing a waiting period for benefits and cutting collection period, putting Iowa families on the brink (HF754)
- Unaccountable Charter Schools – adding a new method to create charter schools, which could take tax dollars from established public schools and give them to unaccountable Education Management Organizations, EMOs (HF813)
- Abortion Ban Amendment – amending Iowa’s Constitution to state that abortion is banned (SJR2)
- Anti-First Amendment – creating harsher sentences for protesters who take part in “unlawful assembly” (SF534)
- Legalizing Transgender Discrimination – would allow for discrimination against transgender Iowans by removing gender identity as a protected class under the Iowa Civil Rights Act (HF272)
- Forced Unsafe In-Person School – forcing schools to offer full in-person classes regardless of COVID-19 safety protocols (SF160)
- Local Budget Revenge – cutting funding to cities and counties that decrease policing budgets for other needs, including mental health professionals (SF479)
- Transgender Sports Ban – would bar transgender student athletes from competing according to their gender identity (HF184/HF334)
Editor’s note- This was sent via email last weekend. Since that time Republicans have added a bill allowing private run, for profit charter schools to be established in Iowa (from a later email from Progress Iowa:
There is no way to predict how much the charter school proposal being considered by the Iowa legislature will cost, according to a newly released fiscal note from the Legislative Services Agency (LSA).
Recent research has uncovered “the hidden world of charter schools” run for profit, where unaccountable Education Management Organizations, or EMOs, can make money by contracting with the newly formed charter school, providing nearly all of the school’s services, each for significant financial gain. According to LSA, there is no way to determine how much these EMOs would receive under the current charter school proposal, House File 813.
“Would you commit to buy something without first seeing the price tag?” said Senator Sarah Trone Garriott. “This reckless charter school legislation asks Iowa taxpayers to write a blank check and give it to untested and unaccountable private companies. According to the new report from the Legislative Services Agency, we don’t even know how much this will cost us. Public schools across the state are already preparing to cut their budgets because of this year’s inadequate state funding. After a year in which we asked so much of our public schools, it’s an outright betrayal to take even more resources away from our public schools.”
After passing the Iowa House despite receiving bipartisan opposition, HF 813 will now be considered by the Iowa Senate. A growing number of community and advocacy groups have opposed HF 813, led by the Iowa State Education Association, who is organizing an online email and letter campaign, calling on Iowans to contact Senators to express their concerns about the proposal.
Progress Iowa is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization with a network of more than 75,000 progressives. Year-round, Progress Iowa advocates for a stronger middle class, first-class public education, and fairness for all Iowans under the law.