(The Center Square) – An Iowa House Education subcommittee advanced a bill Tuesday that would require official documents such as a driver’s license to include a person’s original sex and their transgender identity.
House File 469 was introduced on Thursday with the support of Gov. Kim Reynolds. The bill drew a large crowd wanting to testify for and against it.
Backers told the subcommittee it would protect women’s rights.
“The governor did not pick this fight,” said Chuck Hurley, vice president and chief counsel of the Family Leader. “She’s trying to bring back common sense. Don’t let the mob rule, rule. Do what’s right for these citizens for Iowa.”
Pete McRoberts of the Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said the bill violates the state constitution.
“The idea that a government issued driver’s license would require somebody to display the most personal medical history is unconscionable,” McRoberts said. “This legislature has acted to prevent this very thing. For example, the governor of Iowa couldn’t require a driver’s license to show a COVID vaccine or any other such personal information.”
Rep. Sharon Steckman, D-Mason City, said the only purpose she could see for the bill is discrimination.
“I’m appalled that the governor would put forth such a discriminatory bill targeting 0.29% of our Iowa population,” Steckman said. “I think it’s a sad day for Iowa.”
Reynolds said in a statement last week the bill is not controversial but that it’s common sense.
“Just like we did with girls’ sports, this bill protects women’s spaces and rights afforded to us by Iowa law and the constitution,” Reynolds said. “It’s unfortunate that defining a woman in code has become necessary to protect spaces where women’s health, safety, and privacy are being threatened like domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers. The bill allows the law to recognize biological differences while forbidding unfair discrimination.”
Reps. Brooke Boden, R-Indianola, said she saw the bill differently.
“I actually am concerned about people’s welfare,” Boden said. “If there is maybe somebody inebriated and they get pulled over, they should be handled in an appropriate way if they were brought into and incarcerated. I think we should be respectful of that. I think knowing that information as a law enforcement officer would be important to me.”
Boden and Chair Heather Hora, R-Washington, voted to advance the bill to the House Education Committee.