Week three was a pretty big week for the Iowa Legislature. Republicans were able to celebrate victories in both chambers as the Right to Keep and Bear Arms amendment sailed through the House and Senate.
In addition, the House passed the Life Amendment and the Senate passed the Students First Act.
But not every Republican member of the legislature voted for those bills or for the Republican platform.
Perhaps no issue defines the Republican Party more than the life issue. For many GOP voters, it’s a non-negotiable.
The 2018 platform available on the Republican Party of Iowa website states:
- We move the Iowa Republican party aggressively support a “life begins at conception” bill without exceptions. We believe that all human beings, from conception to natural death, have a God given and constitutionally protected right to life, which cannot be infringed we believe all such issues belong under the constitutional authority of the state, not federal government.
School choice is another basic value embraced by the Republican Party:
- We believe that parents are responsible for their children, and we support the rights of parents to be the ultimate authority for the discipline, protection, and education of their children.
- We believe money should follow the child in education – whether that child attends public, private, parochial or home school- to assist parents financially in educating their children using the option best suited to their family’s educational needs. We call on the General Assembly to provide for tuition vouchers, tax deductions, or tax credits to permit parents’ choice in educating their children- without government intervention in the school curriculum.
In an ideal world, The Iowa Standard would be able to come up with some sort of system to create a scorecard on Republican legislators.
But this world isn’t ideal.
And because of that, we’re just going to highlight those Republicans who vote against the principles espoused in the platform.
That is, of course, their right as a legislator. Nobody should expect anyone to be perfectly in line with the GOP’s platform. But, when elected Republicans voted against the platform, it needs to be noted.
So, here goes:
State Rep. Dave Maxwell: Maxwell represents District 76. He voted against the Life Amendment in the Iowa House. Keep in mind the Life Amendment does not restrict abortion at all. It simply states that there is no constitutional right to an abortion or taxpayer funding of abortion in the Iowa Constitution.
Maxwell also voted against the Heartbeat bill in 2018 as well as the 20-week abortion ban in 2017.
The Iowa Standard emailed Maxwell prior to publishing this to allow him a chance to explain his reasoning for voting against the amendment, but he did not respond.
If you are curious, Maxwell has sponsored one bill this legislative session. It’s an act relating to railroad train length limits.
State Rep. Lee Hein: Hein represents District 96. He’s also chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Hein also voted against the Life Amendment.
And, again, it isn’t the first time he’s voted in support of abortion. Hein voted against the Heartbeat bill in 2018. To his credit, he did vote for the 20-week abortion ban.
The Iowa Standard reached out to Hein asking for an explanation for his vote. He did not respond.
If you’re curious, Hein has sponsored one bill so far this session. It’s an act relating to third-party payment of insurance benefits for medically necessary food, and vitamins and individual amino acids, for certain covered conditions.
State Rep. Jane Bloomingdale: Bloomingdale represents District 51. She voted against the Life Amendment in the Iowa House.
In 2018, she also voted against the Heartbeat bill and in 2017 she did not vote on the 20-week abortion ban.
The Iowa Standard reached out to Bloomingdale for comment on her vote against the Life Amendment, but did not hear from her.
Bloomingdale has not sponsored a bill yet this session.
State Sen. Annette Sweeney: Sweeney represents District 25. She voted against the Students First Act.
Sweeney had previously told a constituent in 2018 that she supported school choice and vouchers.
She said she voted against the bill because she wanted to see rural education issues addressed.
Sweeney has sponsored or cosponsored eight bills so far this session. Among those bills is the mandatory E-Verify bill, the return of a limited death penalty in Iowa and the Life Amendment.
State Sen. Dawn Driscoll: Driscoll is a freshman legislator who represents District 38. Driscoll voted against the Students First Act.
Driscoll has sponsored or cosponsored two bills so far this session. One requires cursive in public elementary schools and the other is the Life Amendment.
State Sen. Tom Shipley: Shipley represents District 11. He too voted against the Students First Act.
Shipley received 75 percent from the American Conservative Union in 2018.
So far this session, Shipley has sponsored or cosponsored eight bills. Mandatory E-Verify, requiring cursive in elementary schools and a bill to prohibit instruction relating to gender identity unless prior written consent is given to the school for grades 1-6. He also signed on to proposed constitutional amendments calling for a Convention of States, term limits for Iowa legislators and the Life Amendment.