The Cloakroom | Iowa House GOP introduce ‘don’t say gay bill,’ legislation requiring schools to reveal students’ gender identity to parents

Also, Reynolds vowed to condense state administrative agencies and an NW Iowa woman was charged with 52 counts of election fraud.


Jerod Ringwald

The Iowa State Capitol is seen during the first day of the 90th Iowa legislative session at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023.

Liam Halawith, Politics Editor

A coalition of 34 Republican representatives, including House Speaker Pat Grassley and Majority Leader Matt Windschitl, introduced legislation prohibiting instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity last Wednesday amid an onslaught of education bills filed in the first week of the legislative session.

The bill amends the current Iowa code relating to the standards for kindergarten through third-grade classes at Iowa schools. The bill prohibits instruction pertaining to sexual orientation or gender identity in these grade levels. The legislation was referred to the House education committee where it is currently assigned to a subcommittee on the bill to report to the entire education committee upon its conclusion.

House Republicans also introduced House File 9, a bill prohibiting schools from using a student’s preferred name and pronouns unless the parent signed a written consent form. The bill also prohibits schools from encouraging students directly or encouraging a parent to allow a student to transition or affirm their gender medically.

A coalition of Republican senators also introduced a bill prohibiting instruction relating to gender identity in kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms on Tuesday. The bill also allows parents to sue school districts if a teacher instructs on the subject.

Republican lawmakers introduce bills aimed at critical race theory, tenured professors

Sen. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville, introduced legislation that would ban the teaching of critical race theory and allow parents of students, students, or employees of public elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools to file a lawsuit agaisnt the school and employee teaching the prohibited topics.

“Critical race theory is championed by history scholars and progressive movements for identifying implicit bias in the social systems built in western society,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The bill includes provisions that specify that diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are still permitted.

Another bill introduced by Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, would prohibit tenure policies and contracts at regent-controlled universities. The legislation, if enacted, would only affect contracts made after July 1.

Reynolds signs executive order to reexamine Iowa’s administrative code, pausing current rulemaking

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an executive order last Tuesday pausing all administrative rulemaking in the state’s executive branch and ordered a comprehensive review of the state’s administrative code.

“Iowa’s Administrative Code contains over 20,000 pages and 190,000 restrictive terms, putting undue burden on Iowans and the state’s economy, increasing costs for employers, slowing job growth, and impacting private sector investments,” Reynolds said in a news release. “In Iowa, we’re taking a commonsense approach that gets government out of the way and leads to a more robust economy in every community.”

Reynolds said the review would require agencies to weigh the costs and benefits of the rules before reimplementing any administrative code.

Additionally, Reynolds announced last Tuesday in her Condition of the State address that she would be condensing Iowa’s executive branch from the current 36 cabinet agencies to 16.

Woodbury County Supervisor’s wife charged with 52 counts of election fraud, pled not guilty

Kim Phuong Taylor, the wife of Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor, was arrested on 52 counts of alleged election fraud last Thursday.

Taylor allegedly completed fraudulent absentee ballot request forms, voter registration forms, and ballots for others in her husband’s unsuccessful 2020 Republican primary run in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, the Sioux City Times reported.

Taylor allegedly approached elderly Vietnamese Sioux City residents who struggled to read and understand English and offered to help them vote. She is also accused of signing absentee ballot request forms for residents who were not present and telling others they could sign the form for other family members, which is a violation of the absentee ballot registration affidavit.

Taylor pled not guilty to the 52 charges and was released on a personal recognizance bond. Her trial is set for March 20.