The Living And The Dead In The Iowa Legislature

Iowa Legislative Update  (As of March 10, 2023) from Iowa Citizen Action Network

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.

Want to contact your representative? You can find your legislator by clicking Iowa Legislators and give them a call or email with your thoughts.

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.

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.

This is an abbreviated list of what’s going on in our Legislature. Stay tuned for more updates!

As always, thank you for your activism, support and for making your voice heard. Feel free to forward this to anyone you believe would be interested.

Sue Dinsdale, Iowa Citizen Action Network

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