Letter to the Editor | Senate File 252 shouldn’t have been signed

An Iowa City resident outlines the negative implications that the recent housing bill signed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has.


Katie Goodale

The Iowa State Capitol building is seen in Des Moines on April 9, 2019.

I’ve struggled to put my finger on why exactly the bill the governor signed on April 30 is so bad. Senate File 252 bans cities from preventing landlords from discriminating against those with Section 8 housing vouchers. Yes, you read that right. Cities (currently Des Moines, Marion, and Iowa City) can no longer enforce their anti-discrimination ordinances. Then, it hit me. It’s not just that the Republicans in the state legislature and the governor are now sanctioning discrimination. It’s that this bill weaves together so many of the damaging threads of the legislative session.

This bill:

  • Codifies discrimination, despite that those using vouchers can’t pay their rent because they lose their job, the amount of voucher increases, so the landlord is better protected than if a non-voucher tenant were suddenly unable to pay the rent
  • Hits hardest those who have already been knocked down by the pandemic, and life in general, in particular those in the BIPOC community, people who are elderly, and persons with disabilities
  • Works against recovery from the pandemic
  • Perpetuates the persistent lie that racism does not exist by creating a new form of redlining
  • Guts local control again
  • Invents and “solves” a nonexistent problem, yet again
  • Puts Iowa’s taxpayers (predominantly those who live in the cities the legislators love to punish) on the hook again to foot the bill when the inevitable lawsuit is filed

The cruelty seems to be the point. Tell me again how Iowa values “local control,” when the Republicans in the legislature limit it if a community solves a local issue in a way that is legal, but does not comport with their narrow world view.

-Janice Weiner, Iowa City Resident