For Iowa’s House GOP, legislative gay-bashing is top priority

Des Moines Register took a look at what issues will be hot, warm and cold in the upcoming session of the Iowa legislature. Same-sex marriage rates a “warm” — meaning “One chamber likely to approve it, but not enough enthusiasm yet in both chambers to make passage likely.”

Here’s the analysis:

Expect fiery rhetoric as Republicans call for the Legislature to begin the multiyear process that would lead to a statewide vote on same-sex marriage. The House will pass such a resolution “sooner rather than later,” said House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, the Republican who decides when votes take place. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat, has vowed to block a Senate vote on the grounds that discrimination doesn’t belong in the Iowa Constitution. Opponents of same-sex marriage, such as Sen. Kent Sorenson, R-Indianola, hope to force a vote to suspend Senate rules and ask lawmakers to override Gronstal. It’s not known whether such parliamentary maneuvering would succeed, or, if a vote is taken, whether enough Democrats from conservative districts would join Republicans for approval.

That same Linda Upmeyer also hypocritically told the Register that the GOP leaders were going to focus on jobs:

Leaders of both parties will struggle to keep lawmakers’ attention on helping unemployed Iowans.

“We told the people of Iowa that we were going to focus on jobs and the economy. We’re going to do that,” said House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, R-Garner.

Politicians always speak out of both sides of their mouth. One usually doesn’t see it in the same article. But, that’s what Upmeyer did. She said the focus was on jobs — with that one big caveat: Legislative gay-bashing is really a top priority.

Senate Democrats want to stay focused on jobs:

With a slim edge in the Iowa Senate, Democrats intend to keep up the “we’re focused on jobs” mantra to avoid the social issues if they can. But certain bills could be used as bargaining chips to preserve Democrat-treasured programs such as state-funded preschool and health care for children.

How sick is that? The GOPers could use health care for kids as a bargaining chip. Wow.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Sen. Wendy Davis, who brought us Joel Burns, now brings us a fully inclusive anti-bullying bill

State Sen. Wendy Davis

Sounds like State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, has introduced a fully inclusive anti-bullying bill. If you’ll recall, State Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, filed an anti-bullying bill in the House that includes sexual orientation but NOT gender identity/expression. In response to Strama’s as-yet-still-unexplained omission, Equality Texas told us they were working to get a fully inclusive anti-bullying bill introduced on the Senate side. The text of Davis’ SB 245, filed earlier today, wasn’t immediately available on the Legislature’s website, but here’s what Equality Texas said on Twitter just now:

“SB245 filed today by Sen.Wendy Davis relating to bullying & cyberbullying is the #1 priority in @EqualityTexas 2011 Legislative Agenda.”

It’s safe to say that if Equality Texas is calling the bill its No. 1 priority, it includes both sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Davis, of course, is a former Fort Worth city councilwoman who handpicked the openly gay Joel Burns as her successor when she stepped down to run for Senate. Yes, that’s Joel Burns of “It Gets Better” fame.

More to come.

—  John Wright

Thanks to our gay district clerk, you can now access Dallas County court files online

Gary Fitzsimmons

Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons sends word that public access to court records is now available online.

“Until now, only docket information has been available to the public on the Dallas County website,” said Fitzsimmons. “Now, pending documents in seven District Civil courts, eight Felony courts, all Family court documents from 2003 to present, and one County Court at Law can be viewed. Documents from the remaining courts will be available by the end of the year.”

“We now have now one digital County Court at Law,” said County Clerk John Warren.

Fitzsimmons has made technological innovation a priority in his administration. He began by implementing an e-filing system that delivers original petitions, motions and other court documents electronically.

He said his office ensured that sensitive information, especially documents involving children, remains secure.

“Other types of information may also be limited through the use of a redaction request form consistent with the law we have provided on our website,” Fitzsimmons said.

—  David Taffet