Anti-LGBTQ+ laws dominated funnel week debates as lawmakers rushed to push bills before the legislative deadline

After Friday’s legislative deadline, any bills that had not made it through the committee process in their original chamber are effectively dead — with a few exceptions.


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. The session will end on April 28.

Liam Halawith, Politics Reporter

Iowa lawmakers raced to move their major legislative priorities out of committee before a significant legislative deadline on Friday. 

Among the many bills pushed through the committee process this week are Gov. Kim Reynolds’ state government realignment bill, anti-LGBTQ+ bills aimed at trans youth, gun regulations, and bills aimed at Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at regent-controlled universities. 

According to the joint rules, bills must have exited the committee process in their originating chamber before the Friday of the eighth week of the legislative session. This deadline known as “funnel week” is one of deadlines in the legislative calendar ensuring lawmakers can wrap final negotiations before the new budget year begins. 

Iowa legislation targets LGBTQ+ youth, students 

Among hundreds of bills that worked their way through committees this week are several bills targeting LGBTQ+ youth, specifically trans youth. 

Senate File 335 would prohibit students and staff from entering single occupancy or multi-stall restrooms that do not correspond with their sex assigned at birth. The bill passed 11-5 in the Senate Education Committee. 

Another bill, Senate Study Bill 1197, targeted gender-affirming care for trans youth prohibiting medical providers from prescribing puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy, or other forms of medical transitioning. The bill passed a vote in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, 9-4 on Thursday. 

Lawmakers push DEI Initiatives at regent universities 

House File 616, which targets DEI Initiatives at Iowa’s Board of Regents-controlled universities, passed a split vote in the Iowa House Education Committee on Wednesday, 13-10. 

The bill would prohibit state Board of Regent-controlled universities, like the University of Iowa, from funding DEI programs and creating a “cause of action” allowing students to sue the university for funding the programs. 

Governor’s state government realignment bill, parental rights bills pass deadline

Iowa Republican lawmakers pushed through several of Reynolds’ legislative priorities including her massive state government realignment bill and a bill giving parents more power over the curriculum taught to their children and physical exams in public schools. 

House Study Bill 126, the governor’s massive state government realignment bill, would reduce the number of state cabinet agencies from 37 to 16. It passed a split vote, 14-8, in the Iowa House State Government Committee just after midnight on Friday morning. 

“State government should be efficient and effective to best serve the needs of Iowans,” Reynolds said in a news release early Friday morning. “Right now, we have a state government that is difficult to navigate and bloated – hindering Iowans’ and our states’ growth.” 

The bill is estimated to save $215 million in general fund appropriations through condensing departments and offloading unused assets like state-owned farmland. 

Senate Study Bill 1145 would require school districts to post their curriculum online for parents to review and challenge, require school libraries to list all books available in the library online for parents to review and challenge, and make schools to provide “age-appropriate” sex education in schools.