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This week was funnel week at the capitol. Funnel week is a hectic time because bills that are going to survive for the session must pass out of one of the standing committees in order to be debated on the floor.  The good news is many horrific pieces of legislation were killed this week and will never make it to the House floor.  The bad news is some of those horrific bills did make it through the funnel.  I have made a list of those that are most concerningHF2317

    – Republican Tax Bill – passed on the House Floor This bill will not help Iowa’s middle-class families and will be an enormous tax break for the wealthy.

  • HSB719 – The latest elections bill – this bill will create one more barrier to vote by mail. It also contains language to update our recount language in the code but it needs a great deal of work before it comes to the floor.
  • HSB647 – Vaccine and Mask Mandates – this bill would prevent any private business, government entity, or school from implementing or requiring a vaccine or a mask.
  • HF2309 – Ban on transgender girls playing girls sports.  This bill would ban transgender girls from participating in girls sports.

We are now half way through our legislative session and it has been painful to see some of the legislation passed through our committees. I will do everything I can to change or defeat these bills on the floor.  It is my hope that many of them will never see the light of day and definitely will not become law in Iowa.

I was assigned to the sub-committee on Transgender Girls playing sports on girls’ teams. I have included my comment on the bill in my newsletter today.  This bill is state-sanctioned bullying.  This bill clearly discriminates against a group of young people.  This bill is totally unnecessary.

    • “When I entered the legislature, I promised my constituents that I would never support legislation that discriminated or harmed a group of people.  HF2309 harms children! It clearly discriminates against children on the basis of their sex.  This bill creates a barrier for a small group of children who are already marginalized by society.  But here is the thing, if we harm one we harm them all.  No child should face state sanctioned bullying.  No child in this state should be discriminated based on their sex or gender. In fact, the federal supreme court has already issued an opinion on the subject and they have determined that sex or gender discrimination is clearly illegal in our country. But don’t take my words for it.  Listen to the arguments posed by Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch in the Bostock vs Clayton County case. The decision in the case clearly prohibits discrimination in this country on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  A conservative appointee to the Federal Supreme Court is able to interpret our constitution.  Discrimination on the basis of sex or gender is clearly unconstitutional and a violation of federal law. The ban in Idaho has already been struck down by federal courts.
    • We as Iowans care deeply about fairness for all.  We care for all Iowa children. No matter how they are different.  After all they are our children and it is our job to protect them, not bully, harass or discriminate against them. There have been no documented cases in Iowa where a transgender girl playing on a girls’ sports team has caused any problem.  In fact, for over 15 years this has been allowed in Iowa and it has not posed a problem for anyone.  There has never been a complaint raised about a transgender student participating in school athletic programs in Iowa.  There are not examples of unfairness or of anyone attempting to “game” the system.  Participation guidelines from the athletic associations specify that, in order to participate in athletic programs, the student has to consistently identify with that gender at school, home and in social situations.  There is no way to “fake” being transgender in order to gain advantage.
    • We do have documentation that children who participate in sports activities experience many positive outcomes; better grades, greater homework completion, high educational and occupational aspirations, and improved self-esteem. Every child deserves the opportunity to achieve both academically and athletically.  Every child should be treated with dignity and respect. Every child should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are.  Every child should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room or school sports.

The State of Iowa should never discriminate against a child or a group of children.  We are better than that.  Transgender children are 40% more likely to attempt suicide.  It is not because of who they are, it is because of how they are treated.  The suicide rate for their cisgender peers is 14%.  We have heard a great deal of talk this session about mental health services for children.  This bill could actually increase the rates of depression, anxiety and potentially it could increase the suicide rate for a group of Iowa Children.  This breaks my heart. All children have the need to belong and to find a group that they can feel a part of in school.  That outlet may be music, debate, speech, drama, cheerleading, or sports.  Let’s not put a barrier before them that increases their vulnerability.  We are better than that.  If we are not today, we should strive to be better. The rights of the majority should never infringe on the rights of the minority, even when that minority is less than 1%-2% of the population.  These are our children.  If we infringe on the rights of transgender children we are sending them the message that they are “less than” and their rights don’t matter. What next? Shall we discriminate against children for having red hair, because they are African American, because they are Muslim or Christian, or because they are blind or deaf.  Where does it end? Let’s end it today.  Defeat this bill and send the message that all children in Iowa matter.  All children have rights and those rights are protected in Iowa.”


Author: Mary Mascher

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