March 26, 2021



Dear Friends,


The second funnel closes at the end of next week. What does that mean?


All policy bills must be out of committee in the second (non-originating) Chamber; otherwise, the bill is dead for the year. There will be a lot of action in subcommittees and committees next week. However, as I have said many times before, a bill dying at the close of a funnel week does not mean a bad idea is dead. They can be attached to other bills.


Which is exactly what we saw happen yesterday! The Death Penalty bill (SF82) died in the first funnel, but new death penalty language is being resurrected with an amendment to SF534 (the bill is unrelated to the death penalty). You can read more about the bill and the amendment in the Take Action section below. We don’t know if the amendment has “legs” but we will be working hard with our partner organizations to make sure it does not. Please do TAKE ACTION as we have recommended.


Thank you for using your voice and for all you do to make Iowa a better, more welcoming place for all Iowans.


Connie Ryan

Executive Director

Interfaith Alliance of Iowa & Action Fund




The issues highlighted are of high priority for the next week of the Legislative Session. Will you take action today?


 HF756 (Against) A bill for an act relating to the acquisition and possession of weapons and providing penalties.


The bill passed the Senate and House. It has not yet been sent to the governor.



Call the governor NOW at 515-281-5211. There is still time! Tell her Iowans want and need background checks and permits to carry to keep Iowans safe. Veto HF756.


The legislation is a comprehensive gun rights bill with several concerning sections including:

  • Provides for the constitutional right to carry a weapon without a permit, often referred to as Constitutional Carry or Permitless Carry.
  • Removes Iowa’s background checks and relies solely on federal background checks for licensed sellers only.
  • Prohibits a political sub-division from enacting an ordinance, resolution, or policy that prohibits the carrying of a firearm and voiding previously approved local decisions.


HF813 (Against) A bill for an act modifying and establishing charter school programs. (Formerly HSB242)


The House passed the Charter School bill. It is now in the Senate and the subcommittee from the Senate Education Committee is scheduled to meet this Tuesday, March 30, at 1:30 PM via Zoom.



  • A group of people not elected by taxpayers in the geographical area could open a charter school using taxpayer money and without the input of the locally elected public school board.
  • A charter school would have no oversight by locally elected school board members from the school district and therefore the public would have no representation on the use of taxpayer dollars.
  • Iowa has a public charter school program already available that allows public school districts to create innovative charter schools to fit the needs of a district and its students. Oversight is provided by the public school board. Iowans who want to establish a public charter school should work with their public school district to explore the current option.

The bill creates a new charter school program that would allow the creation of a charter school within the boundaries of a public school district without the authority and oversight of the district. Charter schools under the new law would in essence be a private charter school because there would be no oversight by a school board elected by the people of the district. Additionally, a private, for-profit entity could manage the charter school.


It is alarming to see continued efforts to privatize our public education system through bills such as this.



Senate Education Subcommittee for HF813



 HF802 (Against) An Act providing for requirements related to racism or sexism trainings at, and diversity and inclusion efforts by, governmental agencies and entities, school districts, and public postsecondary educational institutions.


The bill will likely be debated in the Senate Education Committee this coming week.


HF802 prohibits effective diversity training for all state, county, city, public post-secondary education, and public K-12 education entities. Diversity training should be intentional and proactive in addressing bias, privilege, values, beliefs, and the present-day impact of our nation’s history regarding racism and sexism. The overreach by the legislature will impact all government entities at every level and their ability to determine the appropriate diversity training for their employees and locale. Ultimately, HF802 will impact Iowans – all of us – and particularly those interacting with our government at all levels every day including students, families, residents, customers, and clients.


This is an economic issue for our state (Iowa being perceived as backwards and unwelcoming) and it is a social justice issue for Iowans, disproportionately impacting people of color, women, the LGBTQ+ community, and the immigrant community.


Will you help us pressure Iowa senators to stop HF802?

  • Email all of the members of the Senate Education Committee and tell them to oppose HF802.
  • CALL or EMAIL your senator.
    • The Senate Switchboard is open Monday–Thursday at 515-281-3371.
  • USE the hashtags (below) and SHARE the graphic (below) on all your personal and, if possible, organizational social media platforms.

Senate Education Committee






 SF534 (Against) A bill for an act relating to law enforcement and certain criminal offenses, and providing penalties. (Formerly SF497)


SF534 is in the House Public Safety Committee. A subcommittee has not been assigned.


The legislation is a response to the protests in 2020. It is anti-protestor with over-the-top punishments designed to intimidate and keep people from exercising their right to protest the government.


Death penalty amendment to SF534! Although the bill itself is egregious enough, an amendment to SF534 has been filed that would add a new section to allow the death penalty in Iowa for adults who commit first degree murder. Trying to hide the death penalty under the cover of an amendment to another bill? Unbelievable. That is no way to create public policy on something as important and divisive as the death penalty. The amendment could be considered in full House debate.


TAKE ACTION ON SF534 and against the death penalty

    • Email your representative and tell them to oppose SF534 (the bill itself) and to always oppose efforts to establish the death penalty in Iowa law.
    • Email the Public Safety Committee Chair, Rep. Jared Klein; tell him to stop SF534, and that Iowans oppose efforts to establish the death penalty in Iowa law.
    • Email House Majority leadership and tell them Iowans do not want the death penalty.

House Majority Leadership – Speaker of the House – Speaker Pro Tempore – House Majority Leader – Chair, House Public Safety Committee


The bill provides for:

  • Immunity for civil liability for a citizen who is driving a vehicle and injures a protestor unless they are exhibiting “reckless or willful misconduct” or if there is a permit to protest.
  • Charges of assault for the use of a laser pointer during a protest if aimed at another person with intent to cause harm.
  • Addition of civilian employee of a law enforcement agency or fire department to a longer list of law enforcement personnel that someone can be charged for assault or assault with a dangerous weapon against law enforcement and others listed and enhances the charge to a Class C felony (from Class D).
  • Addition of civilian employee of a law enforcement agency and fire department to a longer list of law enforcement personnel for which someone can be charged for causing bodily injury or mental illness against law enforcement and others listed and enhances the charge to a Class D felony (from aggravated misdemeanor) with mandatory minimum of one year in prison.
  • Adding damage, deface, alter, or destroy any publicly owned property including a statue as criminal mischief in the second degree, which is a Class D felony. It would also require an order for restitution for any property damage or loss.
  • Enhances the penalty for participating in a “riot” from aggravated misdemeanor to a Class D felony.
  • Enhances the penalty for “unlawful assembly” from simple misdemeanor to an aggravated misdemeanor.
  • For actions listed as disorderly conduct, these actions are enhanced to aggravated misdemeanor if they also obstructed a highway with a speed limit of 55 mph or 65 mph, caused property damage, or is present during an unlawful assembly.
  • For actions listed as disorderly conduct, these actions are enhanced to Class D Felony if they also are present during a riot or caused bodily injury.
  • For actions listed as disorderly conduct, these actions are enhanced to Class C Felony if they also cause serious bodily injury or death.
  • Adds a new section “Interference of Public Disorder Control” with a charge of aggravated misdemeanor for use of a tool, instrument, or device to suppress or disrupt law enforcement’s device.
  • Adds that the defendant shall be held for at least 24 hours following arrest for several of the areas listed unless the court finds the defendant is not likely to immediately resume the “criminal behavior.”



Below are some of the bills on which the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund is registered and our position on the legislation. You can click the link and read the bill. We encourage you to contact your legislator on any of the legislation.



HF813 (Against) A bill for an act modifying and establishing charter school programs. (Formerly HSB242)


See  TAKE ACTION  above for details.


HF228 (Against) A bill for an act relating to voluntary diversity plans under the state’s open enrollment law. (Formerly HF86 and HSB64)


HF228 could be debated in the Senate. Contact your senator and urge them to oppose HF228.


The bill would eliminate the voluntary diversity plans under the state’s open enrollment law for the five districts that opted into the plan several years ago (Des Moines, Waterloo, Davenport, Postville, and West Liberty). The result for the urban districts in particular would be “white flight,” larger pockets of poverty, and segregated schools in those districts. The argument for the bill is “parental choice” regardless of the harm to students remaining in those districts. Parents already have a lot of choice within state law and in many districts.


SF544 and HF605 (For) A bill for an act relating to supplementary weighting for limited-English-proficient students and including effective date and applicability provisions. (Formerly HSB148 and SF430)


SF544 is eligible for debate in the Senate. HF605 passed the House.


The bills provide for additional weighting for English Language Learners (ELL). It creates the Intermediate and Limited Proficiency levels for students based on their language skills and needs providing for differentiated weighting for up to five years for each level. We would prefer the weighting is even higher, but it is a good step in the right direction.


SF159 (Against) A bill for an act relating to educational offerings and funding by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending nonpublic schools, establishing a student first scholarship fund, providing an income tax exemption, modifying and establishing charter school programs, modifying provisions governing the state’s open enrollment law including voluntary diversity plans, modifying the tuition and textbook tax credit, providing for the educator expense deduction, modifying provisions related to education data collection and permissible education programs and funding, making appropriations, providing penalties, and including effective date, applicability, and retroactive applicability provisions.


SF159 passed the Senate and is in the House Education Committee. The legislation is the governor’s Education Omnibus bill and is still alive but was also divided into separate bills in the House. The bill could move forward with any of the bad ideas that did not move with other bills (e.g., vouchers).




 HF802 (Against) An Act providing for requirements related to racism or sexism trainings at, and diversity and inclusion efforts by, governmental agencies and entities, school districts, and public postsecondary educational institutions.


See  TAKE ACTION  above for details.


SF534 (Against) A bill for an act relating to law enforcement and certain criminal offenses, and providing penalties. (Formerly SF497)


See  TAKE ACTION  above for details.


SF476 (Against) A bill for an act relating to qualified immunity of law enforcement officers, the peace officer, public safety, and emergency personnel bill of rights, and protected information of law enforcement officers and state or federal judicial officers and prosecutors. (Formerly SSB1178)


SF476 passed out of the House Public Safety Committee. In part, the bill provides qualified immunity for law enforcement, hindering the rights of Iowans impacted to hold an officer as well as the agency, city, or county liable for their actions. An amendment is expected and would be debated on the House floor that will diminish the rights of citizens even more.


HF430 (Against) A bill for an act relating to public safety including prohibited acts on fully controlled-access facilities and disorderly conduct, and providing penalties. (HSB142)


HF430 is eligible for debate in the House. Our concern is the excessive penalties for disorderly conduct included for actions during protests, which could also cause people to be intimidated not to exercise their First Amendment Right to peaceably assemble and protest.


SF478 (Against) A bill for an act providing for training, prohibitions, and requirements relating to first amendment rights at school districts and public postsecondary educational institutions. (Formerly SSB1205)


The bill is in the House Judiciary Committee. A subcommittee has not been assigned yet.


Our concerns center on the training language and the prohibition in addressing privilege, values, bias, etc. regarding race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other characteristics in our public universities and colleges and in our public schools.


If we as a nation are going to make progress in addressing bias and discrimination, laws cannot tie the hands of educators as they educate and work with our young people on these issues.


The bill contains a list of “divisive concepts,” including several that are problematic if an educator is going to facilitate open, honest conversation with students in a class or educational setting and when it is appropriate and necessary to do so (e.g., is our state fundamentally racist; are people who are white born with privilege that oppresses others; does a man or a white person bear responsibility for the impact of history).


It will have a chilling impact on our educational institutions in having honest conversations and real training in addressing systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and more.


HJR11 and SSB1134 (For) A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Iowa relating to the qualifications of electors. (Formerly HSB143)


HJR11 passed the House and is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation is a constitutional amendment to restore the voting rights of people with past felonies and who has completed their sentence.


HF818 (Against) A bill for an act relating to the restoration of voting rights to certain convicted persons and including effective date provisions. (Formerly HSB231)


HF818 passed the House and is in the Senate Judiciary Committee.


If the constitutional amendment for restoration of voting rights is passed by the legislature and is supported by the voters in a subsequent general election, the bill would go into effect. It is a carve out bill of several requirements, all of which must be met before someone could have their voting rights restored, including parole, probation, and paying all pecuniary damages due to another person.


SF555 (Undecided) A bill for an act relating to requirements and prohibitions relating to vaccines and immunizations, and providing civil remedies. (Formerly SF193 — we opposed)


The legislation prohibits employers from requiring vaccinations (including healthcare providers) and prohibits placing immunization information on driver’s licenses. We are currently undecided.


In the original bill, SF193, we opposed language that prohibited the requirement of vaccination for children to attend school changing the definition of the exemption to “sincerely held religious beliefs” or “conscientiously held beliefs.” It also added “a person’s vaccination or immunity status” to the public accommodations section of the Iowa Civil Rights Code, placing this belief on the same level of characteristics of people who have historically experienced discrimination. 




HF310 (For) A bill for an act relating to the defense of justification for certain violent crimes. (Formerly HSB11)


HF310 passed the House. It was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Contact subcommittee members in support of the legislation.


This legislation would prohibit a person utilizing discovery of, knowledge of, or disclosure of the victim’s sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity as a defense for a violent crime.


Senate Subcommittee on HF310




SJR2 and HJR5 (Against) A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Iowa that the Constitution of the State of Iowa does not recognize, grant, or secure a right to abortion or require the public funding of abortion.


SJR2 passed out of the Senate State Government Committee and could be debated in the Senate. HJR5 has already passed the House.



  • Email your senator on why you oppose SJR2.

Talking Points on SJR2

  • Abortion is healthcare. The right to a safe, legal abortion must be protected for Iowans.
  • Iowans deserve to have access to all reproductive healthcare options, including a legal and safe abortion.
  • Abortion is a deeply personal healthcare decision that should be made by the pregnant person in consultation with a healthcare provider and possibly other supportive people, if they choose (e.g., spouse or partner, family, faith leader, friends).
  • Politicians do not have a role to play in a person’s reproductive healthcare decision-making process and must stop threatening access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, for Iowans.
  • The only arguments against reproductive healthcare, including abortion, are based in individual religious beliefs. It is wrong to insert one’s personal religious beliefs into public policy impacting the rights of others.

HF383 (Against) A bill for an act relating to informed consent for medication abortions, and providing penalties. (Formerly HF53)


The bill is eligible for debate in the House. According to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa:

The abortion “reversal” legislation would require medical professionals to inform patients seeking a medication abortion that the procedure “may be possible to reverse," despite no accredited scientific evidence supporting those claims.... Politicians should not be interfering in medical care and requiring health care providers to give medically inaccurate information to patients.


HF434 (For) A bill for an act relating to the prescribing and dispensing of self-administered hormonal contraceptives. (Formerly HSB121 and SSB1157)


HF434 is eligible for debate in the House. The bill would allow pharmacists to dispense birth control to adults 18 and older without a doctor’s prescription, providing easier access to reliable contraception for Iowans.




HF756 (Against) A bill for an act relating to the acquisition and possession of weapons and providing penalties. (Formerly SF535)


See  TAKE ACTION  above for details.


HF621 (Against) A bill for an act establishing which actions may be brought against firearm and ammunition manufacturers, distributors, importers, trade associations, sellers, or dealers.


See  TAKE ACTION  above for details.




SF423 (Against) A bill for an act relating to the confirmation by the senate of certain appointees. (Formerly SSB1148)


SF423 is eligible for debate in the Senate. The bill eliminates Senate confirmation of the governor’s appointments for several state commissions, including the Commission on Judicial Qualifications and many others. This would place the appointment of many people to important commissions in the hands of one partisan official without any oversight or confirmation. Additionally, the bill allows for senators to request a confirmation of any individual who is otherwise not subject to confirmation, but that request would take the signatures of at least 26 senators. Both steps together would eliminate any possibility of the minority party of having a voice if they are concerned with an appointment.




SF492 and HF754 (Against) A bill for an act relating to unemployment insurance and including applicability provisions. (Formerly SSB1172 and HSB203)


The bills are eligible for debate in their respective Chambers. They do multiple things including, in part, eliminating the first week of unemployment from eligibility and striking additional unemployment benefits for more than one dependent.




SF339 (Against) A bill for an act relating to the employment of unauthorized aliens and providing penalties. (Formerly SF84)


The bill is eligible for debate in the Senate. It authorizes the county attorney, local law enforcement, or member of the public to file a complaint with Workforce Development if they believe a person is working for an employer that does not have legal immigration status. The bill also requires employers to use the federal e-verify system when hiring employees, a system that has been proven to be fraught with problems and issuing inaccurate information about potential employees. The bill is unnecessary and allows for the potential of discrimination of our Latinx community.







11:00 - 11:45 AM **Note different time for this week**

Virtual event


Register here to attend via Zoom.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Or, watch on Facebook at Moral Mondays IOWA.

Do the rights of citizens matter anymore?

Rep. Sharon Steckman (Mason City)

Lisa Davis-Cook, Iowa Association for Justice

Keenan Crow, One Iowa


Join us on Monday as we discuss SF476, which will be amended on the Floor of the House, and the debate (among other things) over the appropriate level of immunity for law enforcement and other public servants. A high level of immunity would mean that “bad actors” in law enforcement may not be held accountable. There are several “Back the Blue” pieces of legislation making their way through the Iowa Legislature that lean heavily in favor of the police over the rights of citizens. Last year the Iowa Legislature unanimously and quickly passed the “More Perfect Union” legislation. The tenets of that historic legislation and any effort to strengthen it would be harmed by several of the bills being considered this year.


Sponsoring organizations of MMI: 


AFSCME Iowa Council 61
American Association of University Women of Iowa (AAUW Iowa)
Americans for Democratic Action Iowa
Center for Social Ministry
Common Good Iowa
Des Moines Faith Committee for Peace
Family Planning Council of Iowa
Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund
Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans
Iowa Citizen Action Network
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Iowa Conference United Church of Christ
Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church Legislative Advocacy Team
Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Iowa Organization for Victim Assistance

Iowa Safe Schools
Iowa State Education Association
Iowa Unitarian Universalist Witness/Advocacy Network
Iowans for Gun Safety
League of Women Voters of Iowa
Methodist Federation for Social Action
National Association of Social Workers, Iowa Chapter
One Iowa Action
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa
Plymouth UCC Peace Committee (Des Moines)
Progress Iowa
Soaring Hearts Foundation
South Central Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
Walnut Hills United Methodist Church Social Justice Committee
Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Des Moines Branch



Please note: The listing of an organizational name does not infer support or opposition to any particular issue or bill but is simply an indicator of the organization’s support of the broader mission of the Moral Mondays IOWA coalition.





Your state representative and senator need to know your opinion on the issues, and that you are paying attention to their votes.


Can you use your voice and make a difference from home? Absolutely!


You can definitely make a difference by communicating with your legislators from home.


Call, email, or write to your legislators regarding the issues we outline each week in the Legislative Update. Build a relationship with elected officials ahead of time so they know you are one of their constituents and you care about these important issues.


If legislative forums held by your legislator are in-person, we caution you to use your judgment on whether to attend based on your situation and whether you feel safe. Encourage your lawmakers to hold virtual forums so all their constituents can participate and have their voices heard.


For all communications with legislators, whether written or verbal, we encourage you to…

  • Be brief
  • Use your own words
  • Be civil

Find your state senator or representative and other elected officials.


House Switchboard:  515.281.3221

Senate Switchboard:  515.281.3371

Legislative Emails:

Iowa Capitol mailing address:

State Capitol Building, 1007 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50319


Thank you so much for your willingness to stand up and use your voice. Together we can and will make a difference!






























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Interfaith Alliance of Iowa

PO Box 41086
Des Moines, IA 50311