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Earlier today we reported on Sen. Dennis Guth’s efforts to get a religious liberty bill through the Iowa Senate. The bill has advanced through subcommittee and committee in the past, but also receives strong opposition from certain business groups.

One of the biggest businesses standing in the way of religious liberty being strengthened in Iowa is Principal Financial. Stopping religious liberty legislation has been a top priority for Principal Financial.

The Iowa Standard sent emails to representatives of Principal Financial seeking comment, but nobody replied.

Gary Scholten, who was executive vice president and chief information officer for Principal Financial Group, said at a subcommittee on the bill that the company holds diversity and inclusion at the same level of legislative importance as taxation and regulation.

“We believe (the proposal) would enable discrimination by empowering business owners to deny services based on (religious beliefs),” he said. “This sends the wrong message about Iowa.”

Tim Coonan, who represented Principal Financial Group at another hearing on the bill, said religious liberty legislation paints Iowa in a negative light.

“Legislation like this, even the mere discussion of legislation like this, has a clear chilling effect on our ability to recruit from around the country and around the world,” he said.

Guth said 2020 is the time to move the legislation forward.

“I think it’d be a great time to move it forward,” he said. “We’d get plenty of national support on that kind of thing. It’s not like it’s something new. It’s not like it has caused a lot of problems in a lot of other states. It’s in a lot of other states. It’s time to just push back against Principal.”

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall