Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley reportedly told Radio Iowa his caucus is “trying” to develop legislation addressing trans athletes and their participation in school athletics. The issue is becoming more pronounced, even here in Iowa, as school districts are trying to figure out what can and cannot be allowed.
Grassley told Radio Iowa “a lot” of House Republicans have expressed interest in passing legislation similar to what other states have passed in 2021, but Grassley said he wants to make sure whatever is passed can be implemented.
“We shouldn’t just pass something so we can go home and say: ‘We passed something,'” Grassley said. “If we’re going to pass policy, it has to be a policy that they can implement. We’re trying to come up with a way that gives the clarity that’s needed because, ultimately, they’re the ones that are going to have to make sure who’s participating in what.”
Grassley was referring to the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and the Iowa High School Athletic Association. The Speaker of the Iowa House said he hears “a lot” about the issue.
In addition, Grassley said school board members are asking for a statewide policy on books in schools that contain pornographic material, but he said that is also a complicated topic to tackle.
“A bill that goes in and says: ‘You’re going to ban X, Y, Z book’ — a very hard piece of policy to craft, obviously,” he said. “But the conversation itself will continue.”
Republican Rep. Ann Meyer was one of the most vocal critics of legislation introduced regarding the issue. Fellow Republicans disagreed with Meyer’s portrayal of the bill, but it never even received a subcommittee hearing from the House Education Committee.
House File 184 was proposed by Salmon. If the biological sex of a student is disputed — IF — the student may establish his or her sex by presenting a signed statement by a licensed physician indicating the student’s sex based solely upon all of the following factors:
*The student’s internal and external reproductive anatomy
*The student’s normal, endogenously produced levels of testosterone
*An analysis of the student’s genetic makeup
Meyer, in her interview, alleged the bill required an internal and external examination of all the members on a girls’ team. This clearly is inaccurate unless someone is going to dispute the biological sex of every member on a specific team.
During the interview with Mike Devine, Meyer said:
“Well, you know what, I always look at these issues when we’re talking about, um, uh, this is a type of social issue I believe and I do always wonder about the people who introduce these and I always think what would Jesus do. Would Jesus treat people differently because of anything about them?”
“Jesus would say be who I made you,” Devine said.
“Would he,” Meyer asked.
“Yes, I’m pretty sure,” Devine said.
Republican Rep. Dustin Hite, who chairs the House Education Committee, said he did not assign bills like the bathroom bill — and bills like it (presumably meaning House File 184 as well) — because he doesn’t “understand the issues of the proponents of those bills.”
“When we talk about topics like this, we have to be extremely careful that what we are doing does not come across as hateful,” Hite said. “And that is what I’m always concerned about in these particular issues.”