There were two committee votes on proposed constitutional amendments this week in the Iowa House. One amendment would put the right to keep and bear arms into the Iowa Constitution. The other would simply state there is no right to an abortion or taxpayer funding of abortion in the Iowa Constitution.
Neither received one single Democrat vote.
Forget the issues — self-defense and life — for a minute. Focus on the process.
Here in Iowa, a proposed constitutional amendment must pass two general assemblies. Only then is it put before the citizens of Iowa for a vote.
So, legislators really are not voting to amend the Iowa Constitution — they can’t.
But they are voting on whether or not Iowans should be allowed to weigh in on these amendments.
It seems like an appropriate time to reflect on the words of Democrat State Rep. Mary Wolfe, who said…
“So, I think often we say, ‘let’s just give the people a chance to vote.’ Well, I say to the Senate, you know, put your yes vote where your mouth is and let the people of Iowa vote on this amendment. And in order to do that, you have to vote it out this general assembly session.”
Here is the tape:
Wolfe was talking about allowing the voters of Iowa to vote on the constitutional amendment to provide automatic restoration of voting rights to felons.
She was asking Iowa Senators to put aside their personal beliefs on the issue and instead put the fate of the amendment in the hands of Iowa voters.
It’s a fair point.
Yet Wolfe herself was one of the Democrat no votes on the Life Amendment.
When these Democrats vote no to these proposed constitutional amendments, they’re really voting no to giving Iowans an opportunity to make their voices heard.
Democrats cite public polling as reasons they oppose both amendments.
What poll is better or more accurate than allowing Iowans to vote?
If the amendments are such a bad idea and not something Iowans would embrace, why wouldn’t Democrats want them on the ballot? Such bad, horrible, terrible amendments would certainly increase voter turnout for Democrats.
And with 59 Republicans in the Iowa House and 31 Republicans in the Iowa Senate, the Democrats need all the help they can get. (Though to be fair, no Donald Trump on the ballot will help Democrats in Iowa in 2022).
It would be refreshing to see the Democrats embrace their own idea of a couple of years ago — just give Iowans the chance to vote.
Let the chips fall where they may.