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Senate File 482, a bill protecting the privacy of all Iowa students when it comes to bathroom use in the public schools, passed the Iowa Senate 33-16 on a party-line vote.

Every Democrat in the Iowa Senate voted against the bill, which simply said bathroom usage in public schools should align with the biological sex listed on an individual’s birth certificate.

Democrat State Sen. Herman Quirmbach said he wasn’t aware of anything significant generated from students. He said the issue has instead been “enflamed” by adults and called the bill “counter-productive.”

Instead, Quirmbach called for allowing kids to “figure it out” in a low-key manner that respects everybody’s feelings.

“I am well aware that involvement of a variety of adults have made this issue enflamed, contentious, disruptive and counter-productive to education,” he said. “I’m going to go back and I’m going to remember that wisdom from the fella from Colo, Iowa — let’s let the adults back off. Let’s just let the kids figure it out. They’ll do a fine job. They get it. They’re OK with this. They don’t need a bunch of adults enflaming things.”

Democrat State Sen. Liz Bennett called it the “Iowa Potty Police” policy. She said it could also be called the “Bathroom Bullies” bill.

“Because that is what it does,” she said. “Bills like these literally make the world smaller, more restrictive and more dangerous.”

Bennett said the issue isn’t new and it has nothing to do with safety or privacy. Instead, she said bills like this continue to use fear and violence.

The bill will usher in a world that is “smaller, meaner and scarier” for those who don’t conform, Bennett added.

In addition to students, Bennett said it will impact parents who reject their biological sex.

Bennett said the bill makes it less safe for LGBTQ people to walk through society as themselves because the bill’s supporters “don’t want us to exist.”

Democrat State Sen. Claire Celsi said it is “bizarre” that any “random Iowan” can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office under the bill.

“How does that work,” she asked. “This bill is about disrupting lives and using transgender people as pawns in the Governor’s plan to become the most loyal in Red State land.”

Celsi said transgender students have been targeted in many states with “disastrous” results.

“Students who are bullied are much more likely to drop out, become homeless, harm themselves or even worse,” Celsi said. “Why would the Iowa Senate take part in this heinous bullying? It’s at the behest of party leadership, who have no problem using trans kids as their latest punching bag.”

Celsi said the legislation blurs “all the lines” and “empowers random crusaders,” at which point she alluded to Moms 4 Liberty, to insert themselves and the Attorney General in places where their involvement isn’t wanted.

“It’s bills like this that cause Iowans to flee our state,” she said.

Businesses don’t do business in Iowa because of bills like this, she said. And political moderates shake their heads and wonder “where the heck Iowa nice went.”

Celsi closed by saying the bill is “nothing more” than the latest attack by Gov. Kim Reynolds in an effort to impress her “cronies” in other states in her “audition for whatever she’s running for.”

Republican State Sen. Chris Cournoyer was the lone Republican to speak in support of the bill on the floor, along with bill manager Sen. Cherielynn Westrich.

Cournoyer said as a former school board member the district would work to accommodate all students. And it worked until recently. But now she said school board members from across the state are seeking guidance and parents are expressing concerns about the privacy of their daughters.

“Some girls are showering in bathing suits because boys are allowed in the locker rooms,” she said.

Cournoyer said all students should feel safe so they can focus on learning.

“We cannot sacrifice the rights and privacy of some students to accommodate the rights and privacy of others,” she said.

Celsi spoke once more, asking Westrich how the bill comports with Title IX. Westrich pointed to an 11th Circuit ruling from December of 2022, which upheld a district’s ability to base bathroom usage on biology.

Celsi asked about the Attorney General’s involvement in the issue, but Westrich said that would only happen if the district is unable to reach a solution.

Westrich disputed claims by the Democrats that the bill will lead to bullying, noting that bullying will still not be allowed in schools. She also said the bill will protect the dignity of all students and the privacy of all students — not just some.

“We all want the best for our kids and when we send them off to school we expect them to be safe and well cared for,” she said. “Senate File 482 does just that. Iowa kids are all going to be safe. They’re all going to be well cared for and they’re all going to be provided facilities where they can have privacy — all the kids.”


  1. Wish people would stop adopting the left’s perversion of language. No need to say “biological” sex, because there is no other kind. Using that language gives assent to the idea that one can be a different sex other than that determined by biology. It should just say they passed a law basing bathroom usage on sex. End of story. A person cannot change his or her sex no matter how many horrible medical procedures he or she undertakes.


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