RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILLS: FIRST FUNNEL WRAP UP
By: The Iowa Liberty Network
The first self-imposed funnel deadline came on Friday, March 3, 2023. This funnel limits what bills will continue to be considered for the rest of session, excluding bills from Ways and Means or Appropriations committees, Government Oversight bills, or bills sponsored by Majority Leaders.
On average of 1000 bills are filed every session. The bills are assigned to committees by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. The committee chairs, which are chosen by the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader in the Senate, are then responsible for assigning a subcommittee. The three or five-person subcommittee is then tasked with scheduling a hearing for the bill. The chair of the committee or leadership in the chamber can however prioritize whether a bill even receives a hearing.
Bills that survived the funnel upholding Religious Freedom:
(SF297)- A bill protecting religious freedom for healthcare providers and facilities who would refer a patient to another provider in the event a medical procedure, treatment, surgery, counseling or prescribing if it would violate a healthcare provider’s religious beliefs and moral convictions.
Bills that DIED during the funnel that would have improved on the protection of Religious Freedom:
(HF229/SSB1164)- A bill that would have established a religious freedom restoration act in Iowa law. Iowa has failed to pass a RFRA law in the past 7 years despite the Republican trifecta and is currently ranked 46 in the nation for religious freedom. Neither bill was given a subcommittee hearing in either chamber by Senator Jason Schultz and Rep. Steven Holt.
(HJR8)- an amendment to the Iowa Constitution establishing that the state of Iowa recognizes the definition of marriage to be the solemnized union between one human biological male and female. This bill also failed to receive a subcommittee by the House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Steven Holt.
*These are some of the bills we were watching throughout the process but there certainly could have been others that fall into this category.