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May 29, 2020



Dear Friends,


Thank you for your efforts so far in contacting legislators about the restoration of voting rights for people with past felonies. Keep up the pressure and the good work.


The Legislature reconvenes next Wednesday and we must get HJR14 through the Senate Judiciary by next Friday for it to remain alive. See details below of how you can make a difference.


The Statehouse will be open to the public while the legislature meets but you do not have to go to the Capitol to do good, effective work and to make a difference. We have each learned to live into these times and have many old and new ways to communicate. Do what is best, and smart, and safe for you.



All committee meetings, subcommittee-of-the-whole meetings, and debate will be live streamed on the legislative website.



Please vote! You can do so at your county auditor through Monday or in person at your polling place on Tuesday. Many polling places have changed with the pandemic so be sure to check with your county auditor.



The horrific, racist events of the last couple weeks have told us, once again, that our country continues to struggle with our history of slavery and racism and discrimination against people who are African American. DarQuan Jones in Des Moines and Christian Cooper in New York City facing blatant, racist violence. George Floyd in Minneapolis violently murdered by a police officer and becoming part of a list too long to count of black men killed simply for being black. It is well past the time that our country makes real, systemic change.


Interfaith Alliance of Iowa was invited to be part of A Call to Action: Together We Can Make a Change this Monday, June 1, by organizers who feel passionately that it will take all of us together to make any real change. The Call to Action will begin at 6:30 pm at the Statehouse. Wear your mask. Bring a pen to sign a pledge. And, bring your passion to be part of the change.


Thank you for all you do to make Iowa a better place for everyone.


Stay safe. Be well. Take care.


With appreciation,

Connie Ryan

Executive Director

Interfaith Alliance of Iowa & Action Fund



Along with many other organizations and individuals, we are working to pass HJR14, which is the constitutional amendment to restore the voting rights of people who have a past felony.


We are focused on the Senate passing HJR14 when the legislature returns. The legislature is only dealing with policy bills for the first three days upon returning to the Capitol, so it is a quick turnaround. They must pass HJR14 in the Senate Judiciary and then out of the full Senate.


You may know there is other legislation lingering in the House that the Senate has demanded be passed before HJR14 passes. I’m asking you to let the coalition leaders handle that legislation and use your power as an advocate to focus all your attention and efforts on HJR14.


We really need your help with this.


Here are some concise actions you can take to help us move HJR14 forward:

  • Email, call, or text your senator with the reasons you believe the voting rights of people who have committed a past felony should be restored in Iowa with a Constitutional Amendment.
  • Email Senate Judiciary Committee members and tell them the reasons why you believe the voting rights of people who have committed a past felony should be restored in Iowa with a Constitutional Amendment.
  • Email Senate majority leadership with the reasons you believe the voting rights of people who have committed a past felony should be restored in Iowa with a Constitutional Amendment.
  • Volunteer to phone bank with the ACLU of Iowa. They are running phone banks contacting key senators and they need your assistance. You can reach them at and let them know you want to help phone bank to support HJR14.

In all communications with legislators, please... Be brief. Use your own words. Be civil.



  • Iowans take voting seriously and every citizen deserves to exercise the right to vote. A change in our state’s Constitution would allow more than 60,000 Iowans with past felonies to vote, just like everyone else can vote.
  • Voting Restoration would mean thousands of Iowans will more successfully reintegrate into society and become active citizens and invested participants in our communities and our state, which will also keep our communities safer.
  • Did you know: If your nephew damages a bike that is worth $1,500, he could be convicted of a felony and lose his right to vote for the rest of his life?
  • 77% of Iowans, including 70% of Republicans, support the restoration of voting rights for people with past felonies.
  • Iowa is proud to hold the Iowa Caucuses every four years, but we are the only state in the country that bans voting for life for all people with any past felony conviction, even when the citizen has served their time.
  • Iowa’s disenfranchisement law is unforgiving and provides no mercy. Iowans from all walks of life believe in second chances and our Constitution should reflect that.
  • Freedom includes the right to vote. Freedom is an Iowa value. People with past felonies should also be given the freedom to vote.

SENATE MAJORITY LEADERSHIP - President of the Senate - Majority Leader


SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE (R, District 20), Chair (R, District 13), Vice Chair (D, District 39), Ranking Member (D, District 17) (R, District 10) (R, District 8) (D, District 33) (R, District 15) (D, District 18) (R, District 9) (R, District 11) (R, District 14) (R, District 25) (D, District 42) (R, District 1)



Nobody outside the inner circle of the majority leadership really knows what is going to happen in terms of policy bills, and certainly not in regard to reproductive healthcare legislation.


If you care about access to reproductive healthcare including access to abortion-care in the state of Iowa, please contact your representative and tell them you oppose HJR2004 and SJR2001 and that Iowans do not want legislators to debate such divisive legislation in the midst of a pandemic! They have important things to do to make sure Iowans have jobs, food on the table, and are safe in their communities. Urge them to get to work on the basics for every day Iowans.


HJR2004 is eligible for debate in the House. SJR2001 passed the Senate earlier in the Session. (HJR2004 / SJR2001 — Against)



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!

When you are unable to be at the Statehouse, you can always make a difference by communicating with your legislators from home.


Call, email, text, or write legislators on the issues that matter. It is always best to build a relationship with elected officials ahead of time so they know you are one of their constituents and that you care about these important issues. But regardless, please contact them and let them know what you think about the issues.


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


Find your state senator or representative and other elected officials.


House Switchboard:  515.281.3221

Senate Switchboard:  515.281.3371

Legislative Emails:



FROM: Speaker Grassley and Majority Leader Whitver

  • Legislators, staff, and members of the public are asked to please stay home if they are sick, have a fever, or any symptoms or compromised immune systems.
  • To the extent possible, constituents, lobbyists, and members of the public should try to conduct as much business with legislators and staff via phone, email, or text to limit personal contact.
  • Members of the public are allowed in public areas (hallway, rotunda, designated galleries in the House and Senate Chamber, and public restrooms). Committee rooms and offices will be badge access only for members and staff.
  • Based on current Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, social distancing (maintain 6 feet of space between people) measures should continue to be practiced. If an individual is unable to practice social distancing, a face covering is recommended. Masks and face shields will be made available at the Capitol for those who voluntarily want to wear a mask. Individuals may also bring their own mask to wear.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be spread throughout the Capitol and at the entrances to the building and the chambers.

Health Screenings:

  • The public may enter the Capitol only through the West Public Entrance.
  • Those entering the Capitol building can expect an in-person health check – questionnaire (provided by IDPH) and temperature check.
  • Capitol Building Access
  • When the Legislature reconvenes, the building will be open to the public at 8:00 am until business is concluded.
  • All committee meetings will take place in either the Senate Chamber or House Chamber.


  • Senate subcommittees of the whole will be held in the Senate Chamber. Members of the public who wish to speak on a bill will be recognized from the South Gallery. There will be a process for those who wish to speak.
  • Members of the public will be strongly encouraged to submit written comments on legislation via the General Assembly’s website (similar to public hearings in the House) for house subcommittee meetings.

In the Senate:

  • The Northwest Gallery and Crow’s Nest will be reserved for Senate Republican members and staff only.
  • The Northeast Gallery will be reserved for Senate Democratic members and staff only.
  • The entire South Gallery of the Senate will be open for members of the media and the public. There will be a specified reserved area in the South Gallery for the media. Media will be limited to one representative per outlet in the reserved media seating. All seating in the Gallery will be on a daily first come, first served basis.

In the House:

  • The South Gallery will be reserved for members and staff only.
  • The North Gallery is reserved for public and members of the media. There will be a specified reserved area in the north gallery for the media. News organizations are strongly encouraged to limit their number of reporters in the House gallery to one per outlet. All seating in the Gallery will be on a daily first come, first served basis.


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