Guns, Abortion Restrictions, Voter ID Continue to Move Forward in Iowa Legislature

Mar 6, 2017

Bills in the Iowa legislature that did not meet a self-imposed deadline last week are now dead. That means action likely won’t be taken on bills dealing with the death penalty and a medical marijuana program. “There’s no surprise that some of the top GOP priorities are very much alive and moving forward,” says IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell. Here’s some of the highlights moving forward.

The comprehensive gun bill.  The campus carry provisions were taken out of the bill because many people objected to allowing weapons on campus. The original bill would have gotten rid of mandatory permits to acquire and carry weapons; that would have meant no background checks for private gun sales. That got taken out of the bill.

“The most controversial part is still in there," Russell says. “The so-called stand your ground language.” No one has a duty to retreat if a person’s life or safety is threatened and a person may be wrong in their estimation of the danger or the force necessary to repel the danger. 

Voter ID. The secretary of state’s bill brought out big crowds at every turn. There will be a new requirement to show an ID at the polls and some new requirements for absentee voting.

A long list of good government and social service groups see these as restrictions on voting when voter fraud is not a problem in Iowa,” Russell says.We’ll probably hear from some of them Monday night at a public hearing at the capitol.”

Abortion restrictions. The “personhood bill” which would have declared life begins at conception did not make it through.

"Another bill is a live wire to ban abortion after 20 weeks,” Russell says. “The personhood bill if it had passed would have been a vehicle for a court challenge.” House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R- Clear Lake) favored both. She described it as the personhood bill being a long-term solution and the other bill having an effect right away.

Bill to breakup Des Moines Water Works Board. The bill to reorganize the Des Moines Water Works and likely take the steam out of their lawsuit against three northwest Iowa counties over water pollution gets a public hearing Monday.