Several initiatives Republican legislators have promoted this year lack popular support, according to the latest Iowa Poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom. One of the most unpopular proposals tested was a state constitutional amendment that would clear a path for future abortion bans.Continue Reading...
The U.S. House voted 244 to 172 on March 17 to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with some new provisions. All Democrats present, including Representative Cindy Axne (IA-03), were joined by 29 Republicans, including Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), to send the bill to the U.S. Senate. Republican Representatives Ashley Hinson (IA-01) and Randy Feenstra (IA-04) opposed the legislation.Continue Reading...
A national review of state policies on reproductive health and rights gave Iowa a mixed grade for policies on sex education and access to abortion and family planning.
The nonprofit Population Institute‘s 50-state “report card” gave Iowa a C based on thirteen metrics related to “effectiveness, prevention, affordability, and access” to sex education and reproductive health care. The “minus” was added because of a 2019 law that made Planned Parenthood ineligible for certain sex education grants. That law is on hold pending the Iowa Supreme Court’s review of a lower court ruling, which found the statute unconstitutionally targeted Planned Parenthood while allowing another abortion provider to continue to receive the sex education funding.
Iowa Republicans have enacted most of their legislative agenda with little trouble during the past four years of full control of state government. But a few priorities eluded them, including a constitutional amendment that would pave the way for future abortion bans. Unable to find 51 votes in the state House for that measure last year, the GOP settled for mandating a 24-hour waiting period before all abortions.
The 2020 elections increased the GOP’s majority in the lower chamber from 53-47 to 59-41. Republicans didn’t waste time returning to unfinished business: a new version of the attack on reproductive rights cleared an Iowa House Judiciary subcommittee on January 19.
The Iowa legislature’s 2021 session began on January 11 with the usual appeals to work together for the good of Iowans. But potential for bipartisan work on high-profile issues appears limited, as the Republicans who enjoy large majorities in the state House and Senate have quite different priorities from their Democratic counterparts.
At the end of this post, I’ve posted the substantive portions of all opening remarks from legislative leaders, as prepared for delivery. The speakers focused on the following matters: