The Iowa Senate is considering a bill that limits the flags that are allowed to fly at the state’s public buildings and schools to three options: The U.S., Iowa and Prisoner of War flags.
Legislators brought up the bill after a flag representing the transgender community was flown at the Iowa Capitol last year on Transgender Day of Remembrance, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Iowa Safe Schools, an LGBT advocacy group, requested the flag fly at the Capitol on Nov. 20 to remember people who died due to transphobic violence.
Sen. Jake Chapman, R-Adel, said the current law could create precedent for other groups to request flying a “KKK” or “Nazi flag,” he said.
“If it’s okay for one, it’s okay for another,” Chapman said. “The concern is if we go down this path of allowing all these different flags to fly, we will run into a situation where we’re all uncomfortable.”
Sen. Tony Bisignano, D-Des Moines, said while researching flag opposition online, he found the target was typically LGBT-related flags.
He said it should not be a big deal if a city decides to fly a flag for pride or a different commemoration, like the local little league team winning the world championship.
“If they chose to put that flag up for the day … I don’t understand the objection,” Bisignano said.
Legislators said they will address a concern brought up by Carolann Jensen of the Iowa Board of Regents, who pointed out the bill would affect university buildings like Jack Trice Stadium, where an Iowa State flag is typically flying.
The bill, Senate Study Bill 3017, passed through the subcommittee. It needs the support of the State Government Committee before it reaches the Senate floor for debate.
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