Key chairman kills Iowa bill to remove protections against transgender discrimination

Key chairman kills Iowa bill to remove protections against transgender discrimination
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GOP lawmakers in Iowa reportedly sought to amend a section of the state's civil rights act to remove protections against transgender discrimination, but the bill was killed less than a day after it was introduced.

Nine Republican Iowa House members on Wednesday unveiled a bill that would remove safeguards against discrimination based on gender identity, according to NBC News, spurring prompt pushback from LGBTQ and civil rights groups.

"Allowing transgender Iowans to be fired from their jobs or denied housing simply because they are transgender is a new low, and they should be ashamed of themselves," said Courtney Reyes, director of One Iowa Action, an LGBTQ advocacy group.

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But by early Thursday morning, Republican Rep. Steven Holt, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to which the bill was assigned, said he would not allow the bill to move forward.

"I will not advance HF2164. The bill is dead," he tweeted shortly after midnight on Thursday.

Prior to Holt's announcement, state Rep. Dean Fisher (R) said the proposed bill would address "a whole host of issues," such as transgender women seeking to be incarcerated in women's prisons, though NBC reported it's unclear if the Iowa Department of Corrections has ever fielded such a request.

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Fisher also cited concerns about transgender women participating in women's sports.

"I think we’ve just got to nip this in the bud," he said Wednesday.

NBC reports that the evangelical group The Family Leader backed the new bill, while other organizations — including the state's biggest public employee union — lined up against it.

Iowa law currently prevents discrimination based on gender identity, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, ancestry or disability.

Updated at 4:47 p.m.