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Gender balance law elimination bill passes Iowa Senate committee

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A bill that would eliminate Iowa’s gender balance law passed 12-6 along party lines out of the Senate State Government Committee Wednesday. The law requires that all state, county and municipal boards and commissions be gender-balanced. Sen. Jason Schultz, who introduced the bill, said he is “not a quota supporter” and said it’s time to “address the artificial restrictions” that were placed on board and commission appointments. Democrats opposed to the bill, including Sens. Claire Celsi, Janice Weiner and Pam Jochum, argued at the committee meeting that the law as it stands has helped women gain leadership experience and helps ensure that no one gets left out, especially women. Right now, fewer than two-thirds of city- and county-level boards and commissions are gender-balanced, while nearly all state-level boards and commissions are gender-balanced. The bill, now named SF 136, moves to the regular calendar, where it becomes eligible to be debated by the full chamber.

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