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Thursday night, before legislators in the Iowa House headed home, they debated House File 2504. The bill requires a governmental entity reviewing, investigating or deciding whether there has been a violation of any law, rule or policy prohibiting discriminatory acts to take into consideration the definition of antisemitism set forth in the bill to determine if an alleged act was motivated by discriminatory antisemitic intent.

The bill had navigated through subcommittee and committee meetings without incident. In fact, it had 48 cosponsors, including a handful of Iowa House Democrats.

Clearly, though, Thursday’s floor debate showed the Democrats had a significant change of heart.

Rep. Steve Holt (R-Denison), who chairs the Judiciary Committee in which the bill sailed through, said House Democrats unanimously supported the legislation in committee.

“Suddenly those very same House Democrats locked up and refused to support it,” Holt wrote on Facebook. “They spent over three hours practicing mental gymnastics in debate explaining why they supported the bill, and then suddenly they didn’t. They accused Republicans of discrimination for not including other races and religions, even though other races and religions are already mentioned in Civil Rights Code while antisemitism is not. They refused to support a bill defining and condemning the rise of antisemitism.”

The Iowa Standard is going to feature some of the debate in stand-alone articles throughout the weekend. Of course, we have our own observations to make as well and will do so.

The bill passed on a party-line vote, with every House Republican in the chamber voting for the legislation and every Democrat present voting against it.

“Unbelieve and absolutely bizarre,” Holt said. “In six years, I’ve never seen anything like the total meltdown of common sense I observed (Thursday night) by House Democrats.”

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall