Iowa court strikes down state ban on Medicaid coverage for transgender care

A two-decade-old state administrative rule “clearly discriminates against transgender Medicaid recipients on the basis of gender identity by excluding coverage for medically necessary gender affirming surgery” while covering the same surgeries for non-transgender Iowans, a Polk County District Court ruled on June 7. Chief Judge Arthur Gamble found the rule violates both Article I, section 6 of the Iowa Constitution, which guarantees equal protection, and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, which has prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity since 2007.

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Iowa legislative recap: Senate confirmations

Continuing a series on news from the Iowa legislature’s 2018 session that attracted little attention before lawmakers adjourned for the year.

The Iowa Senate confirmed almost everyone Governor Kim Reynolds nominated for a state board or commission this year with unanimous or near-unanimous support. However, opposition from Democratic senators blocked three of the governor’s more than 200 appointees (full list here).

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Choose hope: Vote Nate Boulton for governor

Cody Woodruff is a rising junior studying political science and speech communication at Iowa State University and a member of the Carlisle School Board. -promoted by desmoinesdem

“Just as man cannot live without dreams, he cannot live without hope. If dreams reflect the past, hope summons the future.” -Elie Wiesel, 1986 Nobel Peace Prize speech

When I began to write this piece, it began as your usual endorsement that we’re all accustomed to reading. However, that’s not what it turned into. We live in unusual times, so the case I’m going to make is unconventional, but hopefully more compelling than an average editorial. Many of us know where the candidates stand on the issues, we have a general idea of each candidate’s electability, and we’re aware of their background. If someone doesn’t know these things already, there are plenty of resources out there to check out, because I’m not going to talk about them here.

The focus of this piece is on one simple, powerful, extraordinary thing: hope.

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Reflecting on Donna Red Wing's legacy

On April 16, members of the LGBTQ community lost one of our most passionate and impactful trailblazers. Donna Red Wing passed away after a courageous battle with lung cancer on that day.

Donna’s legacy of service for the LGBTQ community is unparalleled. She was a national leader in the fight for LGBTQ equality, dedicating over three decades of her life to advocating for our community. Over the years, she held leadership roles at organizations like Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, the Gill Foundation, Interfaith Alliance, and others. While directing the Lesbian Community Project in Oregon, she was featured in a Sundance Award-winning film about the 1992 struggle (and victory) against Ballot Measure 9, a proposed amendment to Oregon’s constitution that, among other things, compelled public schools to teach youth that being LGBTQ is “abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse”. She also advised both President Barack Obama and Howard Dean on LGBTQ issues.

Donna moved to Iowa in 2012 to begin her tenure as One Iowa’s executive director. Despite living here for a relatively short time, she made an enormously positive impact in the fight for LGBTQ equality in our state. In addition to leading One Iowa for four years, she launched an LGBT Advisory Council while serving as a Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commissioner and briefly served as director of the Eychaner Foundation during her time in Iowa. The Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission recently renamed their Lifetime Achievement award after her to honor her extraordinary work championing equality for all in our state.

Over the past few weeks, One Iowa staff who worked with Donna during her time with our organization have been reflecting on our work with her, the enormous impact she had on our community, and our personal connection with her. We’d like to share some of those reflections with you:

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Diversity lacking on Iowa Democrats' new governing body

Both major parties held district conventions on April 28. One encouraging sign from the Iowa Democratic Party’s proceedings: activists are much more energized this year than usual. Every delegate slot was filled in all four Congressional districts. Quite a few alternates (including myself) did not receive credentials. According to former State Senator Jack Hatch, it was only the second time in 40 years that an IA-03 district convention “packed a full slate of delegates.” State party chair Troy Price observed in a Facebook post, “Typically, in a non-Presidential year it is a struggle to reach quorum, and this year we had more people than spots available.”

All of the district convention delegates elected at county conventions in March are automatically delegates for the state conventions in June. So the main order of business yesterday was choosing members of each party’s State Central Committee.

Both Democrats and Republicans will have lots of new faces on their governing bodies. But Democrats mostly missed an opportunity to elect leaders who reflect the diversity of the party’s base.

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