Although several lawmakers and lobbyists last week praised an Iowa House version of a Free Speech in Public Education Act that removed references to banning certain types of diversity training, a Republican legislature introduced a separate measure calling on lawmakers will prohibit the same training.
“Does anyone really want their children to be taught that one race or gender is inherently superior to another? I just don’t think so, ”Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, said Monday during a meeting of the House Subcommittee on House Study Bill 258 which he agreed to move forward. “Not in America.”
Holt drew the language from an Iowa Senate Free Speech Bill banning “divisive” diversity training in Iowa public universities and K-12 schools and asked why someone would support diversity training that implies that a gender or race is inherently superior, or that Iowa is fundamentally racist.
“Iowa has no racism,” Danny Carroll told lawmakers on behalf of the conservative Family Leader Foundation in support of the proposed legislation. “We have a conflict. But there is no reason our colleges and public schools cannot consider both sides of these issues without fear of reprisals. “
Senator Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, introduced Senate Study Bill 1205 in February, which aims to address a number of issues of free speech in K-12 and public higher education in Iowa, including the effects of violations.
This bill aims to make Iowa law, enacted last fall by then-President Donald Trump and now repealed, banning diversity training with racial or sexual stereotypes or scapegoats at institutions that receive federal funding.
A House version of this Senate bill removed the language about diversity training that some lawmakers and lobbyists praised.
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Keith Saunders, a lobbyist for the Board of Regents, expressed concern Monday over the House proposal, which only deals with the training ban on “divisive concepts”.
“In a session where we’re so focused on freedom of expression, it’s a little bit contradicting to include a list of divisive concepts in the Iowa Code that we can’t talk about,” he said.
“We find it incredibly important that we have conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion at our locations,” he said. “Many of our students come from churches that are no different. Many of our students come from very different communities. But they all come to our church and many of our students are uncomfortable. Many of our faculties and employees are not feeling well. We need to be able to talk about these issues. “Keenan Crow, a lobbyist for LGTBQ advocacy group One Iowa Action, noted that a district court judge joined a challenge to the executive order.
“The court said the language was unconstitutional, vague, and it was impossible to determine what behavior was allowed,” Crow said, admitting, “Many of the things listed are statements that we would be against as an organization. People should never do that Feeling inferior just because of their race or gender.
“But we are concerned about how this will be interpreted and we are concerned about the chilling effect on the institutions that seek us to train. Will we be able to talk about systematic oppression? Will we be able to talk about concepts like privilege? “
In response, Rep. Skyler Wheeler, R-Orange City said, “This is a great bill.”
‘I look to a day when people are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’ That’s a famous quote from Martin Luther King Jr., ”Wheeler said. “This calculation corresponds more to the assessment of character than skin color or gender. We must reject identity politics and the division that goes with it. We must reject the “religion of wokeism,” as Ben Shapiro calls it, which is widespread in our country. And we have to Dr. King’s words as well as accept this bill. “
Although Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton said, “I just can’t think of any other bill that has restricted people’s ability to have a conversation or restrict language,” Holt reiterated his argument for the ban part of the Law.
“For me, it’s all the effort of the past few decades to get to a point where we don’t see any skin color and judge each other by character rather than skin color – this type of training seems to be turning it all upside down. “
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