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'Bathroom bill' headed to Gov. Kim Reynolds' desk after passing Iowa House

Senate File 482 passed the Iowa House 57-39, with five Republicans joining their Democratic colleagues to vote 'no'.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa lawmakers passed a bill Thursday afternoon that will ban transgender kids from using bathrooms and changing rooms that align with their gender identity.

Senate File 482 passed the Iowa House 57-39, with five Republicans joining their Democratic colleagues to vote 'no'.  

Earlier this month, the "bathroom bill" passed the Iowa Senate along party lines, 33-16. 

According to the bill, if a school does not deal with a perceived violation within three business days of receiving a written notice, any Iowan can file a complaint to the attorney general's office. 

Republican Rep. Steven Holt said the bill “applies to everyone equally.” Holt said children have long used different restrooms based on biological and physiological characteristics and this tradition should continue.

“I do understand and empathize with a child that may not feel comfortable using the bathroom of their biological sex. Accommodations should be made when possible to keep that child comfortable as they change or use the restroom," Holt said. "However, that cannot be done or should not be done at the expense of the privacy and safety of our daughters.”

The Family Leader, a conservative activist group, also praised the bill on Twitter. 

"Who would have thought we'd need a law to ensure boys aren't in the girls' shower at school?" the Tweet reads in part. "But our wives, daughters are worth protecting. Big win today." 

Democrats responded that there was no history of transgender students bothering other students in restrooms and that a new requirement would put trans children in danger.

“All students deserve a safe school environment,” said Democratic Rep. Jennifer Konfrst. “Forcing transgender students into restrooms that don't match their gender identity puts their safety at risk.”

LGBTQ+ activist groups also condemned the legislation. 

"When will this relentless attack on transgender children end?" said Courtney Reyes, executive director of One Iowa Action, in a statement. "It wasn’t enough to strip them of medically necessary care or prevent teachers from talking about them; now, the House has decided to police their restroom usage via the Attorney General." 

Iowa is among several states with Republican leadership that have passed similar legislation.

On Wednesday, lawmakers approved such a bill in Arkansas and sent it to Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Alabama, Oklahoma and Tennessee also have passed laws with similar restroom restrictions.

Reynolds, who has been supportive of measures that limit the teaching of transgender topics in schools and restrict trans girls' participation in sports, is expected to sign the bill. Another bill approved last week that awaits the governor's signature would prohibit doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care, including puberty blockers and gender-affirming surgeries.

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